PM insults Opposition Leader over Vuna wharf queries; Sika says Tu‘i‘onetoa’s response ‘lying, deplorable’  

    Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa has disparaged the Opposition Leader Sēmisi Sika and accused him of being troublesome.

    Dr Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa. Photo/Kalino Lātū (Kaniva Tonga)

    He berated Sika and described his attitude in Tongan as attempting to disrupt what had been organised for the country.

    Tu’i’onetoa said it was humiliating for him to see Sika and the PTOA party in disarray.

    In a very strongly worded e-mail in Tongan, the Prime Minister described the  Opposition Leader as was out of step with his party and being unable to make up his mind.

    The Prime Minister warned Sika to be careful otherwise his indecisiveness would cause him trouble.

    Tu’i’onetoa accused Sika of having an unclear vision for the PTOA.

    E-mails / arguments

    The Prime Minister’s outburst appeared to have been provoked by Hon. Sika’s e-mails to him including one in which he asked Hon. Tu’i’onetoa to clarify and update him on the new construction seen at Vuna wharf shores recently.

    Sika reminded Tu’i’onetoa that the king had warned his government that business services should be given to private sectors.

    Opposition Leader Sēmisi Sika

    Sika argued that this area of the wharf should be reserved for tourist activities only and there was no need for the government to operate businesses there including night markets.

    Hon. Tu’i’onetoa told Hon. Sika the construction was approved by the Cabinet in 2016 after an agreement with the Ports Authority to include a night market for businesses to operate there and pay fees to help pay Tonga’s loan from China.

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    He said the Ministry of Finance had estimated that these businesses could collect $300,000 a year to help pay for the loan.

    Vuna wharf was funded from the multimillion loan from China to rebuild Nuku’alofa after the 2006 riots and the destruction of the capital.

    Deplorable / lying

    Hon. Sika forwarded the Prime Minister’s response to him to Kaniva News and described it in Tongan as degrading and deplorable.

    Reponding to Tu’i’onetoa, Sika accused the Prime Minister of lying that he attempted to wipe out the Tourism Board, when he was the Minister of Tourism.

    He asked the Prime Minister to calm down and stop being so emotional.

    He asked Tu’i’onetoa to stop being hateful and let them talk in a good spirit for the benefit of the country.

    The Prime Minister is no stranger to attacking his critics and media personally.

    In March Sika accused Tu’i’onetoa of lying about him when the Prime Minister was interviewed about why the government did not repair damages to the roads after recent heavy raining and flooding.

    Early this week Tu’i’onetoa was accused of attacking a female journalist who was trying to do her job and asked him during a press conference to give a financial statement about the government’s Covid-19 response budget.

     

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