MOJ to be Restructured
President Whipps disclosed to the media that he will sign an executive order to appoint Attorney General Ernestine Rengiil to head the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). This is one of the many short-term recommendations for MOJ stated in the transition committee report that is to be implemented within the first 100 days. “The idea that we will appoint a minister can come later; I think its an opportunity that AG will run the ministry and we will see if it works or not” stated the president during last Wednesday’s press conference.
Comments from a long serving legal counsel explained that the upcoming executive order to assign AG to oversee MOJ will most likely be only temporary; it will require legislation from the Olbiil ra Kelulau to permanently bring MOJ’s operations under AG’s control. However, the public is yet to see the extent of this arrangement and the changes it will bring.
Furthermore, there are other major Restructuring proposals for MOJ in the transition report that are yet to be implemented. It recommended the creation of 2 new bureaus namely: Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Bureau of Fire and Rescue. Additionally, it urged that Bureau of Public Safety be merged with the Division of Marine Law Enforcement and that the Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection and the Protected Areas Network (PAN) be consolidated.
There were also other technical recommendations made in MOJ’s transition report. It includes moving the criminal database from AG’s office to the Police admin, re-evaluate regulations on law enforcement officers as elected officials, and to revise bureau of public safety’s standard operating procedures.
According to information from the president’s office, the executive order will be signed and made official tomorrow or sometimes next week. This will be the first of many changes brought to one of Palau’s most crucial ministry. (By: Olkeriil Eoghan Ngirudelsang)