Like before, now too the Interior Ministry needs “a strong hand”, but with “a human vision and democratic views,” President Saakashvili said while presenting to the Interior Ministry’s top brass new minister Bacho Akhalaia, who has replaced Vano Merabishvili.
“Together with Vano you made the entire epoch not only in Georgian police history, but also in [this history] of world’s law enforcement agencies,” Saakashvili told the Interior Ministry’s senior officials after the Parliament confirmed reshuffled cabinet with Merabishvili as new Prime Minister.
Saakashvili said that Georgia had turned from “the most criminalized country” into “the safest country in Europe.”
“Police are depoliticized structure. You should be protecting everyone regardless of their political views equally; same criteria should be applied to everyone, but we cannot turn a blind eye on those who want to restore the corrupt, criminalized system and those who want to return rubbish back into the police… We will not let it happen,” he said.
“So we need here, traditionally, a strong hand, but with a human vision and democratic views,” Saakashvili said.
He also said that the police as an institution was “above of any individual minister or President.”
“I want to thank very much Vano for fulfilling this historic task on a highest level,” Saakashvili said, adding that along with the armed forces, the police “are one of the most authoritative state institutions in the country.”
Saakashvili also said that it was Merabishvili’s “demand” to appoint Akhalaia as new Interior Minister, “which I fully agreed on”.
He praised new Interior Minister Akhalaia, who served as Defense Minister for past three years. Saakashvili recalled Akhalaia’s tenure as head of the prison system in 2005-2008 and said that he managed to defeat crime structures within the penitentiary.