Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva believes the public confusion surfaced during consultations about six government’s new Bills has been due to misinformation and his opponents’ hatred for him.
There have been complaints on social media that the public were confused about the Bills.
Lord Fusitu’a, one of the Public Consultation committee leaders, claimed during an interview with Television Tonga while the meetings were conducted in Vava’u, the Bills were unconstitutional but he did not give any reasons to support his claim.
Some leaders in villages and towns, especially noble estates and districts which did not vote for the Pōhiva government in the last snap election, have urged their people to attend the meetings and vote against the new Bills.
According to reports, attendances at most of the meeting places did not even reach a tenth of the numbers of people who voted in the last snap election.
Hon. Pōhiva said he believed the confusion among the public during and after the public consultation could not be easily resolved because it was conducted with wrong spirit (“laumālie hala”).
He said there was hatred (“taaufehi’a”), aggression (“loto ‘ita”) and revenge (“loto sāuni”) by some of those who conducted and organised the public consultations against him.
Hon. Pōhiva said the six new Bills should have been clearly emphasised to the public in its entirety and not only parts of them.
He believed the Parliamentary committee gave the public the wrong impressions that the laws were meant to remove the king’s powers when they dealt with the Judiciary Panel and the appointments of the Attorney General and Police Commissioner.
The Prime Minister said in an interview with Television Tonga last week that he questioned the criticism of the new Bills by some government critics after it had been made clear they had been drafted by the Acting Attorney General ‘Aminiasi Kefu.
He told Kaniva news in a previous intervew that all the accussations and strong critisms made against his government by the nobles and their supporters was because they still held a grudge against him.
Acting AG invlovements
Hon. Pōhiva said the Acting Attorney General was a member of the king’s Privy Council and was appointed by the king.
“Do you think that ‘Aminiasi would come from the Privy Council and tell the government to create laws to remove the king’s powers? That’s the question these critics should ask.”
“If that was the case, then we should question ‘Aminiasi and the Privy Council.
“Why would you choose someone to tell us to create laws to remove the king’s powers.
“It was ‘Aminiasi who drafted the Bills and he was the one who knew everything and the details of the Bills.”
Hon. Pōhiva called on those who claimed that his government was attempting to remove the king’s powers to take their queries to the Privy Council.
The six new Bills
As Kaniva news previously reported, Acting Attorney General Kefu said during a public consultation about the Bills on radios, that claims by some critics that the government was attempting to remove the king’s powers were misleading because the Bills would end up with the king for his signature. He said the king would have the final say.
Hon. Pōhiva said these six new Bills were first created by the Lord Tu’ivakanō’s government and was engineered by some including the former Minister of Justice Clive Edwards.
“There may be some slight differences in the wording made by the Tu’ivakanō government and the ones we have submitted, but they were still the same,” Pōhiva told Television Tonga in Tongan.
It is understood the Tu’ivakanō government made the move after it received a report by Commonwealth constitutional law expert Peter Pursglove in 2014 that Tonga’s constitution was the worst in the Commonwealth countries.
In 2014 Lord Tu’ivakanō’s government moved to remove the powers of Judicial Appointments and Discipline Panel to make elections in the king’s Privy Council.
The Nobles-led government also planned to put an end to the Panel.
Lord Tu’ivakanō’s government also moved to remove the king’s constitutional powers to appoint a commissioner for the Anti-Corruption Commission, which was being planned at the time, according to the Parliament’s record (minutes) numbers 21, 22 and 23 on August, 2014.
The former government also submitted to the House a Bill to remove the Attorney General from the king’s Privy Council and bring the position into the cabinet.
The main points
- Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva believes the public confusion surfaced during consultations about six government’s new Bills has been due to misinformation and his opponents’ hatred.
- There have been complaints on social media that the public were confused about the Bills.
- Some leaders in villages and towns, including noble estates and districts which did not vote for the Pōhiva government, have urged people to attend the meetings and vote against the new Bills.
For more information
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