The government has assured Tongatapu 7 constituents their immediate needs raised during their meeting with the Prime Minister must be addressed.
Those who spoke during the meeting and requested urgent assistance were told to either send lists of what they needed to Chief Secretary, talk to the Prime Minister or contact the Ministries concerned.
Prime Miniser Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa said he was happy to meet the constituents and talk about what had happened after tropical cyclones Tino and Gita.
He praised the constituency for electing MP Sione Vuna Fa’otusia to represent them in Parliament.
He said MP Fa’otusia, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice was his classmate at Tupou College. He said before the meeting, Hon. Fa’otusia apologised for being unable to attend the meeting because of illness.
The Prime Minister said it was Hon. Fa’otusia who nominated him to become the Prime Minister.
He said Hon. Fa’otusia has supported him in his roles in government and in the People’s Party.
He said this was a party that aimed at uniting as many people as it could to work together outside government to speed up works needed to address people’s urgent needs.
The Prime Minister said the government could not do this on its own.
He said the People’s Party helped Parliament and Cabinet a great deal.
He reminded the meeting about six stakeholders who had been working together including the government, People’s Party, town and district officers , church leaders, private road constructors and Tongans overseas.
He said they had to value the efforts and fundings from these bodies as government and Cabinet could not work alone. He said it has been proved the past governments could not do it.
Hon. Tu’i’onetoa said the works they did for the people must be sped up and they had to listen closely to what people needed.
Many things had been delayed while people were waiting, he said.
“I have promised my top priority is roading,” the Prime Minister said.
“I will not change what I have promised. I will fill and seal all roads in Tonga,” he said.
“There will be no return and there will be no reverse.”
The Prime Minister tallked about how the ‘unga (a type of crab) crawls to emphasise his promise. He said the ‘unga could only move forward and it could not reverse. It could crawl through rivers, fire and up the mountain and no matter how slowly it crawled it was moving forward.
The roads in Tonga must be constructed and filled in the next two years., he said.
Urgent needs / Ground Level View
He said Tongatapu 7’s urgent needs were to fill the roads, obtain a good water supply and help growers.
“We have different views of what we can do for the nation, but I appeal to you, let’s unite to build our country and support me as a way to facilitate addressing Tongatapu 7’s urgent needs,” he said.
The Chief Secretary told the meeting they visited around the consituency before coming to the meeting.
Tofoa resident Filini Sikuea spoke during the meeting and said he was happy to see the Prime Minister and his team had driven in his area to witness what he has described as the worst road in Tonga.
He said when it rained it was muddy everywhere.
Sikuea told the Prime Minister it was important for him to see that a person had reached a high-status position and still remember those at the grassroot level, refering to Hon. Tu’i’onetoa’s willingess to leave his office to come and meet the constituents to hear their urgent needs.
Sikuea said he talked with Hon. Fa’otusia about establishing a federated society retail store for their community.
He said the community had more than TP$160,000.
Sikuea said after a couple of talks with the Minister he was concerned after it appeared there was need for the town and district officers to understand what they should have done for the project.
He asked the Prime Minister to help on this.
He also told the Prime Minister he had been campaiging to include formal logic in the Mnistry of Education’s syllabus.
He said he heard the Minister of Education pushing teaching of children at kindergardens to make them think. He said logic was a subject which would help this.
The Chief Secretary told Sikuea he would contact the Ministry of Trade and Economy as well as the Ministry of Education about his concerns.
Queen’s led village and town inpections
The Prime Minister was praised for his meeting with the people as the first government leader to do it.
The Pea town officer asked him to repair the roads in the area because Her Majesty Queen Nanasipau’u Tuku’aho wanted to inspect the town and Ha’ateiho as well as Tokomololo.
It is understood the inspection examined homes and properties to keep them clean and beautiful.
Acting Minister of Infrasturcture Lord Nuku told the meeting the road would be repaired.
Lisiate Teulilo of Tofoa wanted to install speed bumps to slow down vehicles on Vaha’akolo road where the Tofoa government primary school was situated.
He said people had been trying in vain for more than 20 years to upgrade the toilets and some of the classrooms.
The Chief Secretary told Lisiate to write to his Office so they could work to provide what he was asking for.
Building Materials Duty Free
The Prime Minister also responded to request to delay removing CT and duty free offer the government announced on building materials from overseas. Hon Tu’i’onetoa said once their building materials arrived they could contact him and the Minister of Finance.
There was concern about fireworks, with one constituent saying they were too loud and some blew up in the air before their ashes fell on house roofs which dirtied their water supplies.
The Minister of Police said there was no law to stop fireworks. However, the noble said there was a proposal to ban letting off fireworks at homes.
Government Ministers who attended the meeting told those who had asked for help that their requests had been accepted and advising them about what to do next.
These requests included building weaving houses, repairing and upgrading water supplies, cleaning areas after heavy rain to get rid off flies and mosquitoes and repairing roads.