Deputy Prime Minister Sione Vuna Fā’otusia said this morning he could not work with Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa, but stopped short of specifically confirming reports he had resigned.
Hon. Fā’otusia is deeply unhappy about the Prime Minister’s relationship with disgraced former Cabinet Member ‘Etuate Lavulavu.
Kaniva News has asked Hon. Fā’otusia to confirm that he has tendered his resignation as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice to Prime Minister Tu’i’onetoa.
We also wanted to know what the Prime Minister’s response has been and whether Hon. Fā’otusia still holds his ministerial offices.
Responding to our questions, Hon. Fā’otusia said the guidelines for Cabinet members clearly said that if ministers did not agree with the Prime Minister and the other members of cabinet they had to tender their resignation.
“This is a decent thing to do as in Cabinet things will not move forward if members are not loyal to the Prime Minister,” Hon. Fā’otusia said.
It was up to the Prime Minister to either accept the resignation or not. if he did not accept it he would not forward the resignation to the king and the Minister would still be in cabinet.
If he forwarded the resignation to the king, it would be for the king to either accept it or not. If the king did not accept the resignation then the said member would still be in cabinet.
The question of the Deputy Prime Minister’s resignation hinges on his tabling of a motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Tu’i’onetoa over the influence of Lavulavu. Lavulavu was convicted of bribery and kicked out of Parliament in 2016.
Hon. Fā’otusia blamed Lavulavu for being the mastermind behind the Prime Minister, who appeared to do whatever he was told.
“Cabinet is not functioning well as members did not challenge the Prime Minister about bringing in Lavulavu,” Hon. Fā’otusia said.
“Another funny thing is that that in the party formed by the Prime Minister and Lavulavu, the Prime Minister is the leader and the deputy is Lavulavu, but Lavulavu is neither a member of Parliament or Cabinet.
“What do they think of the other Cabinet members? This is an insult to the intellect of the rest of Cabinet members and it should be stopped.
“I cannot work with the Prime Minister while Lavulavu is by his side.
“We need to put a stop to this practice and bring in a government that can do the right thing where justice is done and also be seen to be done. God bless us all.”