Audios of the Prime Minister’s meeting in ‘Eua were provided by the Prime Minister’s office and transcribed and translated into English by Kaniva News. This English version of the audios had been abridged.
Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa has summarised his meeting with the people of ‘Eua and said their urgent needs were to repair and construct new roads, have safer water supplies and a packing house for their crops.
He said some of the roads would be sealed and fundraising was expected in the ‘Eua community to help pay for tar for the roads.
The Prime Minister said ‘Eua needed 650 new water tanks and this was part of a government project which was expected to be completed by 2021.
He said the upgrade to the roads would come with each home having a mail box and address number for the first time.
Hon Tu’i’onetoa said he would hold a national fono shortly as part of his attempt to meet directly with everyone in Tonga including adults, parents and the elderly.
He said he and a delegation will visit from place to place throughout the kingdom during these fonos.
He asked people who attended a meeting in ‘Eua last week to invite the people from their villages to meet and speak with him in that fono.
He said the plan was to hold one fono this year and another next year.
The Prime Minister said this reaching out to people would show Tonga was a constitutional democratic monarchical government.
People in the meeting in ‘Ohonua, including women from handicrafts making groups and town officers, were concerned at the damage to evacuation centres and buildings for women’s weaving and koka’anga caused by Tropical Cyclone Gita
Minister of Finance Tevita Lavemaau, who is also ‘Eua MP, said the government had provided TP$30,000 to help repair the evacuation centres. He also said the government would also build 15 weaving houses in ‘Eua.
‘Eua was not affected by the recent Tropical Cyclone Tino but the Hon Lavemaau said the Prime Minister visited the ‘Eua High School and viewed the construction of two classrooms and a hall at Hofangahau College.
He said the people of ‘Eua hoped the government would fund the completion of the construction of classrooms at ‘Eua High School.
Two classrooms and a hall at GPS ‘Ohonua were constructed and it was expected it would be completed by May, he said.
An Education Assistant Officer at ‘Ohonua Government Primary School said there were six primary schools in ‘Eua.
She said there were only nine teachers at Angahā primary school to teach all its 361 students where as the ‘Ohonua primary school has 261 students for only six teachers.
She described the situation as a pity.
Lord Tu’ilakepa, the Minister of Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Forest, Fisheries (MAFF) had pinpointed some of the works his ministry has set out for the people of Eua.
He said pigsties and 500 chickens for egg production had been provided by the Ministry.
He said he had visited the chickens at the ‘Eua packing house and they had grown.
They were expected to be distributed shortly to the community.
A woman wanted to terminate Tonga’s annual Royal Agricultural Show, but the minister said this was the king’s project and it would be an opportunity for His Majesty to meet growers, farmers and handicrafts people. He said he has asked the Minister of Finance to provide good presents and rewards for the winners at the show.
The Minister said there was only one staff member at the Fisheries office in ‘Eua and there was a need to recruit more staff there.
He said more boats for the Ministry were expected to arrive in ‘Eua shortly.
There were concerns about zoning the ‘Eua seas, but the Minister said other islands benefitted from zoning their seas as it protected their fish and marine life from people from other islands. He said it was illegal for people from other islands to fish in zoned seas without permission.
The minister encouraged the ‘Eua growers to grow crops as the government was planning to pay for their produce before the Ministry sold them.
He said he found out fishers sold their fish at an open cement floor at ‘Ohonua and he undertook to build a building for them where they will use it to sell their fishing.
There was also a concern at the lack of staff at the ‘Eua prison and there were problems with its power and road which needed to be fixed. There was also need for more houses for the prison guards. The government said these issues would be fixed.