Help our deported children and fight drugs, Majesty tells Parliament in closing speech

Helping Tongans who have been deported to the kingdom after serving jail term in other countries was a major source of concern, His Majesty King Tupou VI said this week.

In his speech closing the current session of Parliament, His Majesty said there was need to help “our children” who had been deported.

Drug-related problems in Tonga had also become a major issue of concern.

The king said police should step up their efforts to fight substance abuse. He called on the government to increase funding towards drug prevention programmes.

“The security of our people is paramount because there has been a recent case where someone was murdered,” His Majesty said.

His Majesty’ comment follow recent reports highlighting serious problems with deportees in Tonga and the growing threat of methamphetamine.

His speech was read by Lord Vaea, one of the three nobles who officially closed the session.

The others were Lord Tu’iha’ateiho and Lord Ve’ehala.

His Majesty is in New Zealand for a short visit.

In his address to Parliament, the king called for an independent body to be established to investigate the burning and destruction of Nuku’alofa in 2016. He said the government should fund the commission.

Climate change

The King reminded the House about the importance of being prepared to face the effects of climate change.

The King said the rebuilding of damage after Cyclone Ian in Ha’apai, Gita and especially in Tongatapu was still not completed.

“Many families and schools in Tongatapu are yet to receive aid from the Government,” he said.

“The longer the delay in the recovery process the harder the work will be.”

The King said Tongans working in seasonal labour scheme overseas should be trained properly before they travel abroad. This was to ensure they can communicate and read in English.

“If we are to take this seriously then we should train our people to the highest level to meet the market’s demands,” His Majesty said.

The King reminded MPs that spending money from donor partners and aid agencies should be transparent and accounted for.

His Majesty said discussion and debates in Parliament should be conducted in a respectful and dutiful manner.  MPs should uphold the dignity of the House.

His Majesty reminded MPs that it was  unconstitutional for Tonga to ratify any regional or international agreements without completing the due process.

Condolences

During the closing ceremony the House observed a minute’s silence for those killed in the Christchurch massacre.

The Acting Speaker, Lord Tu’ilakepa, conveyed his deepest condolences to New Zealand for the tragedy in Christchurch.

“We hope and pray that God’s peace be upon New Zealand during this difficult time. The tragedy has united our Pacific brothers and sisters including Tonga to mourn with New Zealand in this time of sorrow,” Lord Tu’ilakepa said.

Parliament will resume on May 30.

The main points

  • Helping Tongans who have been deported to the kingdom after serving jail term in other countries was a major source of concern, His Majesty King Tupou VI said this week.
  • In his speech closing the current session of Parliament, His Majesty said there was need to help “our children” who had been deported.
  • Drug-related problems in Tonga had also become a major issue of concern.

For more information

Tonga’s King Tupou VI in NZ for short visit

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