Government is deadlocked because some top officials don’t like me, Pōhiva says

    Tonga’s Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva said his government was deadlocked and struggling to move because some government chief executive officers (CEO) and top officials did not like him and his government.

    The Prime Minister said this was a big problem for him and he found it really hard to cope.

    He said the way the Cabinet and the Privy Council existed at present showed their responsibilities were not “well defined.”

    In an interview with Kaniva News at ‘Atalanga, the Tongan official residence in Auckland, last week, Hon. Pōhiva said he thought they should have the power to ensure the CEOs, government commissioners and the Attorney General did what the government wanted for the benefit of the people.

    “If the Attorney General does not like me and we are not on the same page, how can we work together if he was chosen to the post,” Hon. Pōhiva said in Tongan.

    “Look at the passports scandal.

    “We wanted to see it is being done but we do not know what happened.

    “This is a big problem for the work we wanted to do so that we moved forward with our development policies.

    The Auditor General has announced the Tonga Forest records have been burnt and millions of dollars were unaccounted for, but still no legal action had been taken against those responsible.

    Hon. Pōhiva said there was no way the cabinet could do anything about it because it does not have the power over those who supposed to launch a prosecution.

    He said the CEOs were elected by the Public Service Commission while the commissioners and the Attorney General were elected by the Privy Council and the government had no say in the process.

    Hon. Pōhiva said some top officials especially those who had been appointed to the peerage still stuck to the old system in which royals and the nobility were the priority when it came to matters that dealt with opportunities and privileges.

    He said his government wanted to change that mentality and attitude and make sure the people became first.

    Radio callers on talkback

    The Prime Minister’s concerns were made public  to Tongans in New Zealand and abroad over the Kaniva Tonga’s Radio Programme on Planet FM 104.6 on Monday.

    Editor Kalino Lātū said listeners were told they would be alerted when they could be calling the programme.

    But while he was talking about how the Prime Minister was interviewed, listeners  started calling, with many saying they could not wait to release their concerns at the issues.

    All callers to the talkback program stood by the Prime Minister and wanted change to the Tongan law so that the problem could be solved.

    One caller said the news had caused him a headache.

    He agreed with the Prime Minister that there were people inside the government who were trying to stop it running smoothly.

    “I feel my heart will stop while I am speaking,” he said.

    He asked the Prime Minister to be patience as the people causing problems would not last long.

    “We love our nation and we did not want to hear this kind of news,” he said.

    Another caller wanted to annul the appointment of life peers and their titles.

    “We only have one Lord Jesus Christ. What are these Tongan lords for?” he asked.

    A female caller said he thought the Prime Minister had the power to remove those who did not want to co-operate and stand by the government.

    She suggested Tongans in New Zealand launch a petition to the king asking him to do something about the people Hon. Pohiva was referring to.

    She said if the people did not want to petition the King she would write a letter to the king herself.

    Another female caller said she felt the Prime Minister and his government had to spend a lot of time cleaning up the mess left behind by former governments.

    Another caller said the government had the power to change or pass laws in Parliament so that the government had voices in electing the CEOs, commissioners and the Attorney General.

    The main points

    • Tonga’s Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva said his government was deadlocked and struggling to move because some government chief executive officers (CEO) and top officials did not like him and his government.
    • In an interview with Kaniva News at ‘Atalanga, the Tongan official residence in Auckland, last week, Hon. Pohiva said he thought they should have the power to ensure the CEOs, government commissioners and the Attorney General did what the government wanted for the benefit of the people.
    • The Prime Minister’s concerns were made public to Tongans in New Zealand and abroad over the Kaniva Tonga’s Radio Programme on Planet FM 104.6 on Monday.
    • All callers to the talkback program stood by the Prime Minister and wanted change to the Tongan law so that the problem could be solved.

    For more information

    Investigation report on Tongan passport scandal to “be completed soon” (Kaniva News)

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