Residential area in Kolomotu‘a described as “Sodoma and Gomorah” and “threatening”; Police Minister says he did not know problem was that big

Kiliki ‘i he halangaope ‘i ‘olunga’ ke ke fanongo ki he fakataha ‘a e kāinga Tongatapu 1’ mo e ‘Eiki Palēmia’ ‘i he lea fakaTonga’.

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Audios of the Prime Minister’s meeting in Tongatapu 1 were provided by the Prime Minister’s office and transcribed and translated into English by Kaniva News. This English version of the audios had been abridged.

A residential area in Kolomotu’a has been described as threatening and the Minister of Police, Lord Nuku, has been asked to give it special treatment.

A resident has likened it to Sodom and Gomorrah in the Holy Bible.

It has been claimed there were ongoing loud party music, singing and swearing (“lau e veesi lauloto kehekehe”) coming from party goers in this area known as Israel (“’Isileli.”)

Police when called sometime turned up and sometime they didn’t, it has been claimed.

The road pits in the area had been likened to an underground oven. The Minister of Police told residents he did not know their problems went that far.

Lord Nuku also denied rumours that the Tu’i’onetoa government was using the Prime Minister’s roading project as a political campaign tool.

The noble said the roading priority policy was created based on what had been recorded by Parliament every year in the past four decades after it annual visits to all constituencies as people’s top urgent needs. He said people’s second top priority was water,

Lord Nuku said the Prime Minister’s Roading Project for the whole of Tonga has yet to begin. He said the government was currently repairing roads under its normal road maintenance policy.

He said the government has approved an estimate of TOP$700 million for the Prime Minister’s Roading Project and an allocation of $18 million to spend on road maintenance until June.

The revelations were made during a meeting organised by the Prime Minister’s office for the Prime Minister and some of his Cabinet ministers to meet with the Tongatapu 1 constituents to hear their urgent needs. 

As Acting Minister of Infrastructure, Lord Nuku told the ‘Isileli residents the Ministry will repair their roads soon after repair works currently underway at Pea. His response was followed by applause.

The government told the constituents it would build and upgrade evacuation centres to include special features required for people with disabilities.

The meeting was reminded that the Tu’i’onetoa government was just on its fourth month after it came to power in October 2019.

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The situation at ‘Isileli has been also described as disrespectful to a retired minister of the Free Church of Tonga, Manase Tafea, who was one of only four residence owners in this particular area of Tongatapu 1.

Joi Schaumkel told Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa during the meeting the situation was threatening.

She said she and her husband always carried with them in their vehicle a machete as a weapon to protect them if somebody tried to attack them when their vehicle had to run at low speed because of the road pits.

She said during night time whenever she heard vehicles speeding up in their road she woke up and put the light on.

Schaumkel told the meeting the Japanese surveyed the area as part of the plan to construct the roads, but when the construction began the area was not included.  

She asked the Prime Minister to repair the roads.

A Tongan man who said he was living in the US told the Prime Minister during the meeting to consider building drainage first before the roads because the area was swampy.

He said they did this in the US when constructing roads in swampy areas because if drainage was not provided the water would damage the road from time to time. 

Other concerns from the residents included asking the Prime Minister to defer putting an end to building materials’ tax and duty free policy it offered after recent tropical cyclones.

A woman has asked the Prime Minister to help provide accommodation for children she said she looked after because their mother had died.

Another woman told the Prime Minister when it rained his children could not go to school because of poor road conditions. He asked Hon Tu’ionetoa to repair the road.

Tongatapu 1 MP Siaosi Pōhiva told the Prime Minister he was concerned after he was not invited to be part of those people who were given the roles to organise the meeting.

MP Pōhiva said he wanted politicians to be united and set aside their political differences to enable them to work together for the benefit of the people.

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