Games cancellation: “It would be interesting if PM, his deputy and Finance Minister return to Tonga,” says cabinet minister

    It would be “interesting” to see what happened when the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister returned to Tonga this week a Cabinet Minister said today.

    The Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Public Enterprises Minister were absent when Cabinet decided to cancel Tonga’s hosting the 2019 Pacific Games.

    The Minister, who spoke to Kaniva News privately, said it was a “collective decision” made by the cabinet to cancel hosting the Games.

    He said Cabinet members had to stand by the decision whether they attended the meeting or not.

    He laughed when he said it would be “interesting” if those at the top positions in running the country met in Tonga.

    Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni was in New Zealand, Finance Minister Hon. Tevita Lavemaau was in China and Minister of Public Enterprises Hon. Poasi Tei was not at the Cabinet meeting when it passed a resolution on Friday 12 May.

    All are expected to be in Tonga this week.

    Last week we ran a story reporting that Hon. Lavemaau had lampooned Cabinet’s decision, saying it “was funny” because money had been solicited for the Games.

    The Deputy Prime Minister, who was elected to Parliament as an Independent MP, has been supportive of the Prime Minister, but when it comes to issues in which he wants to show his opinion he speaks frankly.

    The Finance Minister, who was elected to Parliament as an MP for the Democratic Party is often portrayed by the media as having an unfavorable relationship with the Prime Minister. He is seen by other Cabinet ministers as loyal to Hon.Pohiva.

    In a previous interview the Prime Minister described Hon. Lavemaau’s behavior in Tongan as “ki’i ta’etokanga pe” (a little careless).

    The Minster of Public Enterprise, who is another Independent MP, has been seen in his handling of the dismissal of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission’s general manager as one who would defend the Prime Minister’s decision no matter what the outcomes.

    “We must all defend [the] Cabinet decision and the maintenance that will come after,” our source said, referring to the maintenance of the sporting facilities after the Games in 2019.

    “We are all for this. Once Cabinet decides then we must defend it, no matter what.

    “It’s a collective decision and it doesn’t matter whether you were there or not.”

    In March Hon. Pohiva fired former Finance Minister Dr ‘Aisake Eke because not only he abstained from voting on the motion for the Vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister, Hon. Pohiva said they had been in an uncomfortable relationship in the past over issues that were essential for the running of the government.

    The Prime Minister and his personal assistant secretary are expected to return from Thailand on Thursday. They will stop in Auckland en route to Tonga.

    The main points

    • It would be “interesting” see what happened when the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister returned to Tonga this week a Cabinet Minister said today.
    • The Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister were absent when Cabinet decided to cancel Tonga’s hosting the 2019 Pacific Games.
    • The Minister, who spoke to Kaniva News privately, said it was a “collective decision” made by the cabinet to cancel hosting the Games.
    • He said Cabinet members had to stand by the decision whether they attended the meeting or not.

    For more information

    Financial questions hang over decision to pull out of 2019 Games

    Finance Minister appears at odds with PM Pohiva over Games host cancellation

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