A Parliamentary letter of response to concerns raised by the king has pledged to review legislation to combat Tonga’s drug crisis.
It said the House would make sure those involved in drug related crimes were punished with the toughest penalties available.
The concerns were raised in the king’s speech to mark the opening of Parliament.
The letter, dated May 31 and approved by the House on June 5, said the legislators supported the rule of law.
The one-page letter said it was the duty of Parliament to make sure legislation was formulated and reviewed from time to time to facilitate works promoted by anti-drug organisations.
It said social problems which affected the country occurred on daily basis.
The Parliamentarians thanked His Majesty for his concerns over the tropical Cyclone Gita recovery process and his call to speed it up, the letter said.
“We undertake to do our best and work together with related organisations to furnish the earnest need of the people who were affected,” the letter said in Tongan.
It said the letter of response to His Majesty’s speech was a traditional procedure.
His Majesty raised a number of issues, but said the biggest problem facing Tonga was the use of illicit drugs.
He wanted the government to speed up the recovery process from Cyclone Gita and said Tonga needed to upgrade the quality and levels of its academic qualifications at higher education to be in line with that of the international academic levels.
His Majesty also said it was important for Members of Parliament and civil servants to carry out their responsibilities according to the law.
Discussion of the letter
The letter was discussed in Parliament with MPs giving corrections and adding what they think should be added to it.
The corrections were mainly made on the structure of the letters, its wordings and some grammatical errors.
Tongatapu 3 MP, Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni, moved to allocate further funding for the anti-drug organisations.
The Minister of Finance told the House Hon Sovaleni’s motion was already on the 2018-19 budget and it did not need to be mentioned in the letter to the king.
The Speaker asked the MPs to take a ballot on the letter and whether they all agreed to the corrections and additional information made. The ballot was carried by 22 MPs who voted for.
The Speaker picked the Noble for Ha’apai 2 and Tongatapu 2 MP to deliver the letter to His Majesty while the king was in Australia.
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