By: L.N. Reklai
February 1, 2017 (Koror, Palau) 23 days into office, Vice President Raynold Oilouch faces a lot of challenges as the new Minister of Justice but he says that they are “up to the challenge to do all that is necessary to the get the job done.”
With heads of every division under his ministry operating in acting capacity, limited police manpower, 4 attorneys under Attorney General’s Office, overcrowded Corrections facility, new legal mandates, Vice President Oilouch vows to leave “no stone unturned”, in order to find solutions to the challenges his ministry faces.
“The issue regarding department heads will be addressed in a short time during my term,” assures Vice President Oilouch.
“We are conducting interviews and reviews of each bureau and division to better understand the challenges so that we can properly address them,” says VP Oilouch of his initial foray into the ministry.
“We’ve not only interviewed chiefs but we are also interviewing all line employees including the police officers and staff,” he added.
Vice President gets emotional talking about the police officers saying that they need to address their needs. “This has been declared the Year of the Family, and we need to strengthen the “family” of police officers.”
According to Acting Director of the Bureau of Public Safety Omtei Ringang, the number of officers falls short of the minimum number of officers required. 208 are needed but they only have 133. He recommends that higher pay and other benefits are needed in order to attract more people to the police force.
Additionally, work to fight illegal drugs continues to be priority for the ministry says VP Oilouch.
“The mission of this administration is to fight illegal drugs, to remove drugs from our communities and this Ministry will continue to implement that policy by working closely with the Belau Drug Enforcement Taskforce,” asserts VP Oilouch.
Furthermore, Division of Immigration and Labor under the Ministry of Justice is tasked with new mandates such as collection of the Environment Impact Fee at borders and enforcing new FIB mandates.
Other divisions under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice include Division of Marine and Wildlife, Division of Marine Law Enforcement, NEMO and Division of Corrections.
Vice President Oilouch asks for public’s patience for just a little while until he completes his review and the implementation of work can begin.
He further assures the public that he will implement the Open Government Act and will share information freely with the media and public. [/restrict]