Minister of Tourism ‘Akosita Lavulavu has scolded a critic after she was tagged on Facebook with photos showing rubbish left inside the Teufaiva National Stadium last week.
The photographs were taken after a rugby tournament.
The photos have attracted strong public reaction condemning the action as folly and idiocy.
The post was shared by My Tonga Facebook group which tagged the Minister with a warning.
The group regularly posts information and shares news that supports the PTOA Party and the democratic movement.
The post read in Tongan:
“To the Minister of Tonga Beautiful programme. There is a growing number of photos shared on internet of some important places in Tonga being left uncleaned by the Minister of Tonga Beautiful ‘Akosita Lavulavu, and not keeping it clean and beautiful. In comparison with the previous government the capital town was well cleaned up and the important locations in Nuku’alofa central were kept cleaned by the former Tourism Minister Semisi Sika and his Tonga Masani (Magnificent) programme. Please Minister of Tonga Beautiful come and pick up the rubbish to make good use of your salaries from the country’s taxes”.
Responding in Tongan the Minister wrote on her Facebook page:
“To this page what’s the purpose of photographing it and sharing it here? Why do you yell it out here without you cleaning it up as you were right there? Make your heart, mind, and soul “beautiful”. If you love your country than use your good conscience, two hands God has given you to clean up the rubbish and put them in the rubbish bin. It’s important for us to live a life which tends to cleaning and keeping things clean. This was after the Tonga Rugby League Cup 1 Tournament at Teufaiva Stadium on Saturday last week.”
The posts have divided Tongans online.
Supporters of the Minister said the people who tagged her “asked for drama and it was good the Minister has lectured them.”
“That is what is called unloving Tongan. Love Tonga and pick up your rubbish and take them to the rubbish bin.”
Another critic said: “People are so dumb that they threw their trash after drinking and eating. They should have taken them to the rubbish bin. If not put them in your pockets and take them home because you have been dumb for a long time.”
A supporter of the post said it was good for the photograph to have captured the situation and shared it on internet. He said Tongans should feel embarrassed when they compared themselves with Samoans who knew how to use a rubbish bin. Nuku’alofa was uniquely clean during the previous government because their Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva took the lead and picked up rubbish in public places,” the supporter wrote.
The late ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s government campaigned to keep Tonga clean and beautiful through a programme initiated by the Ministry of Tourism known as Tonga Masani or Magnificent Tonga.
When the Tu’i’onetoa government took over they changed the name from Tonga Masani to Beautiful Tonga which was made known as Tonga Beautiful.
Both programmes aimed at making sure the country was clean and beautiful. They also aimed at encouraging people live and stay a hygienic life.