The king may have received wrong information about government matters because he has allegedly refused repeated requests from the Prime Minister for a meeting, a reliable source within government has claimed.
It is understood the Prime Minister and the king have not met for about 18 months. The constitution requires them to meet.
The source said king Tupou VI had been unavailable for meetings with Hon. Pohiva since he dissolved Parliament in 2017. The government was re-elected in a snap election.
Opportunities for cabinet ministers to farewell or welcome the king back whenever he travelled or arrived from international or inter-islands royal trips no longer happened.
That opportunity had now been taken over by members of the nobility, the source said.
It is understood the Prime Minister regularly sent reports on government affairs to the king, but when he asked for an audience, the palace office allegedly said the king was unavailable.
Clause 50A (3) of the constitution says: “The Prime Minister shall regularly and as required report to the King upon matters that have arisen with the government and upon the state of the country.”
Hon. Pōhiva told Kaniva news before the dissolution that he regularly met the king and discussed with him reports on government matters.
The Palace Office could not be reached for comment. Hon. Pohiva’s media spokesperson Lopeti Senituli declined to have a comment.
However, the government’s Chief Secretary, Edgar Cocker, who has taken up the post in February did not deny that the Prime Minister’s requests for an audience with the king had been turned down by the Palace.
Cocker claimed the king was happy with the government’s performance and that anything His Majesty wanted the government to do had been followed through.
He said the Prime Minister’s works for the country were noticeable such as the completion of the Teufaiva national sport stadium, improvements to the roads, and ensuring the country did not suffer a famine.
Because of these, according to Cocker, there was no need for the king to meet with the Prime Minister.
The source, however, told Kaniva news, the problems caused when the king refused to meet the Prime Minister was that it may lead to the king being misinformed on government matters.
He said the king was surrounded most of the time by people who were not in the government and he could meet with his nobles anytime he wanted.
The source said the opportunity for some of the Ministers to meet the king whenever he travelled or arrived from a trip outside Tongatapu, was crucial to the king’s information, as that was the only opportunity for them to update the king about their Ministries.
The main point
- The king may have received wrong information about government matters because he has allegedly refused repeated requests from the Prime Minister for a meeting, a reliable source within government has claimed.
- It is understood the Prime Minister and the king have not met for about 18 months. The constitution requires them to meet.
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