Vava’u residents are furious after being banned from fishing after an Australian businessman allegedly dumped human and hazardous waste in the mangroves near Pangaimotu.
Leaked e-mails obtained by Kaniva News showed people of Pangaimotu ask why their only source of livelihood had been endangered.
An inspection by the Health Authority following the dump allegedly found infectious disease from the waste germs in the sea near the dumping site.
Ian Jones was fined by a court in Vava’u this week and ordered to pay a TP$1000 fine. The court also ordered that his confiscated passport be returned.
The Pangaimotu residents have organised a protest march to the governor’s office in Neiafu.
An e-mail by a person known as Lucy Fa’anunu from the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC) office in Neiafu said the people of Pangaimotu contacted her and asked when were they going to be allowed to fish in the sea.
It was not clear what the government has done to resolve the problem.
An e-mail from the Minister of MEIDECC Hon Poasi Tei at 12.34pm today June 20 said Jones has been fined by court and told to pay TP$1000.
“Hon Ministers, Latest update from Lucy. Court decision for Ian to pay $1,000. Guess he’s free to go,” Hon Tei e-mailed.
The message was the latest in a previous series of e-mails which appeared to show how the authorities had been concerned about Mr Jones action.
An e-mail from a lawyer at the Crown Law Office on June 17 seen by Kaniva News read: “Ian Jones has been charged in Vava’u, with dumping hazardous waste, and dumping waste which cause pollution under the Waste Management (Litter and Waste Control) Regulations 2016.”
“An order prohibiting Mr Jones from departing from Tonga has been issued by the Magistrate’s Court in Vava’u, and the order has been deposited with Immigration Tonga.”
One e-mail said in Tongan: “Please do something for the bad action this palangi man has done.”
Another read: “Thank you for all the assistance as long as Ian does not get away with what he did providing enough time for the prosecutor to collect required information before the trial.”
“CEO, this case is taking a huge burden on me emotionally and the stress is very high,” another read.
Ian Jones describes himself on Facebook as manager of the Vava’u Villa Hotel, Bar and Restaurant. He lives in Neiafu, Vava’u.
He and wife Vanessa also owned the vanilla farm of Vava’u Villa.
“The owners Ian and Vanessa Jones had worked as corporates in Auckland, New Zealand, decided to leave their hectic life and start a coconut farm in Tonga.”
According to a post on Facebook yesterday in which Mr Jones was tagged, the Vanilla Grower Association in Vava’u hosted a feast to farewell him as he was about to leave for London this week.