Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni taking on the police portfolio is to assure the public his commitment to the country’s top agenda of fighting against drug abuses on all level.
It was to ensure the Prime Minister was there whenever there were communication and urgent requirements involved with tackling of synthetic drugs, sources who were familiar with the formation of the new Cabinet told Kaniva News.
Hon Sovaleni wanted to show the government is “more willing to commit to its war on drugs”.
The Prime Minister earlier this month said the government’s agenda for fighting against illicit drugs was one of his top priorities.
Tonga’s drug abuse situation was said to have infiltrated all level of the society.
A Guardian report described it as the “… country was in the grip of a methamphetamine epidemic that was ripping families apart and overrunning the country’s hospitals and jails”.
Last week’s police drug raids which linked to bust of a property and arrest of a member of the nobility showed police were sending a strong message to drug dealers that they were coming after them no matter who they are.
As Kaniva News reported yesterday, Sovaleni has brought Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu from outside parliament into the fold, while a former unsuccessful parliamentary candidate Dr Pita Faiva Taufatofua was appointed as new governor for Ha’apai.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources was Lord Tu’i’āfitu from the nobility bench.
Meanwhile, MP Tēvita Puloka and MP Veivosa Taka who were ardent supporters of Sovaleni in his successful campaign for the premiership vote decided to remain outside Cabinet.
“It was their own decision not to be given any portfolio”, another source said.
It is understood, MP Puloka was busy with his construction businesses and his parliamentary task was already enough for him. MP Taka wanted to make sure everyone else in the Sovaleni camp got some kind of portfolio assurances before the premiership election.
Taka was previously a Chair of the Whole House Committee.
As we reported previously, here’s what the new government looks like.
Siaosi ‘Ofa Ki Vahafolau Sovaleni (Hu’akavameiliku)
- Minister for His Majesty’s Armed Forces
- Minister of Police, Fire Services and Emergency Services
- Minister of Education and Training
Poasi Mataele Tei
- Deputy Prime Minister
- Minister for Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC)
- Minister for Public Enterprises
Tatafu Toma Moeaki
- Minister of Finance
- Minister of Customs and Revenue
- Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Minister of Tourism
- Minister for Infrastructure
Saia Ma’u Piukala
- Minister of Health
Sēmisi Tauelangi Fakahau
- Minister of Fisheries
Viliami Manuopangai Hingano
- Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forest
Dr Viliami Uasikē Lātū
- Minister for Economic Development and Trade
- Minister for Lands and Natural Resources
Sione Sangster Saulala
- Minister of Internal Affairs
Sāmiu Kiuta Vaipulu
- Minister of Justice and Prisons
Ko e loto pe ia ‘o Tēvita Puloka mo Veivosa Taka ke na ‘atā pe kinaua mei he Kapineti’ taimi tatau na kei poupou fefeka pe ki he pule’anga ‘o Sovaleni’. ‘Oku lahi pe ngaahi fatongia ‘o Puloka ki he’ene pisinisi langa’ pea ‘osi fe’unga pe mo hono lakanga faka-Fale Alea’. Ko Taka ne loto ia ke ‘uluaki fakapapau’i kuo ‘i ai ha fa’ahinga fakatotofu papau ‘o e kau fakafofonga kehe ne nau kaungā poupou kia Sovaleni ‘i he ngaahi lakanga’ . Taimi tatau kuo to’o ‘e he PM ‘a e lakanga minisitā polisi’ ke fakapapau’i ‘a hono māteaki’i ‘o e ‘asenitia ki hono tau’i ‘o e faito’o konatapu’ pea ke ne ‘i ai tonu ko e taki ‘o e fonua’ ki ha fiema’u fakavavevave. ‘Oku vāhenga pe ‘e taha a e minisitā kotoa a’u ki he palēmia, neongo ha lahi ‘o ha toe ngaahi potungāue ‘e tānaki kia kinautolu.