Summary of Proceedings
Thursday 20th of August 2015
2:00PM
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF TONGA

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

The Legislative Assembly was adjourned from the morning as there was no quorum, that is half of the Members present, and resumed in the afternoon. 16 Members of Parliament were present in the afternoon. The Nobles’ Representative for the Niuas asked that Member please note to be respectable during deliberations that inappropriate words and personal matters do not transpire and that they remain to the duty at hand as it is tax payers money is what pays the nobles. The Nobles’ Representative No.2 for Vavaú interjected and stated that there have not been any personal insults made in the House. The Speaker stated that it has been noted and agreed that that was quite correct because a lot of times the issues at hand are put aside and deliberations drift onto other matters and that is what causes the misunderstandings.

The Nobles’ Representative No.2 for Vavaú stated his concern over a media personnel at the Prime Minister’s Office whose salary is $400 or $500 a day. The public have noted the misuse of tax payers money. The Noble went on to raise concerns over a 70,000 debt of one of the Ministers regarding one of the Government’s vessels.

Annual Reports were referred to the Whole House Committee. The Nobles’ Representative No.1 for Tongatapu was concerned over the several few that swore affidavits as well as staff that provided information in support of the motion for Impeachment and he asked these individuals be protected and be given special attention until proceedings are completed. But the People’s Representative No.15 for Vavaú stated that he has been contacted by an individual who had deposed an affidavit that he was given 24 hours to respond. The Member pleaded with the Prime Minister as well as the House to protect these people so they can be heard.

The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism stated that he agreed with the Noble as well and the Member. He stated that there will not be any inappropriate decisions made and nothing towards them. The Speaker asked who had written to letter issuing 24 hours to respond and the Minister responded that it was the Officer in Charge at Vavaú.

The deliberations continued and the Speaker left it with the Prime Minister to issue a Cabinet Decision towards the protection of the individuals that signed the motion for Impeachment. The Prime Minister stated that the Noble was quite correct in his concern over the salary being paid to the personnel. The Prime Minister admitted to the noble as well as the House that the noble was quite right in his concerns.

The House was stood down to the Whole House Committee>>>>>

The Nobles’ Representative No.1 for Haápai asked the Prime Minister what was his view on the issue of Ministers drafting Private Bills. The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism insisted that the provision remain the same. The People’s Representative No.4 for Tongatapu asked the Minister if it was difficult to make private applications in Cabinet. The Minister stated that the public interest is first. The Nobles’ Representative No.1 for Tongatapu raised his deep concern over what the Minister said in that an allocation of 12 million in the budget and 69 million will have to be raised foreign donors. The Prime Minister stated that he cannot stop the Minister as his work speaks as a representative of the people.

The Nobles’ Representative No1 for Tongatapu reiterated the difference between the two roles that of a People’s Representative and that of a Minister. The Prime Minister asked if the matter could be referred to Cabinet for further discussion.

The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism moved that the first recommendation be deleted and the rest be passed. The Minister of Finance supported this proposition as it contradict the Constitution if it is deleted. The Nobles’ Representative for Éua reminded the Committee of Clause 75 in the event that someone in Government becomes in contempt of Parliament and will be subject to Impeachment.

The Nobles’ Representative No.3 for Tongatapu stated that the reason for the recommendation is so there will not be any conflict of interest.

The Nobles’ Representative proposed that protection is given to the individuals involved in the petition. The People’s Representative No.15 for Vavaú stated that he had received contact from one of these individuals that he has been given 24 hours to provide an explanation for the 3 letters. The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism denied any knowledge of this and this is all an act of the Officer In Charge at Vavaú and it is to do with a motorcycle, government property that has to be returned.

Deliberations continued and the Chairman directed to vote on the matter but the Minister of Justice asked and was supported that the matter be referred to Cabinet to consider and that they return with a response and the rest of the recommendations be put on hold. It came to finishing time and the Speaker adjourned the House to 10:00 morning of Monday 24th of August.

PARLIAMENT IS ADJOURNED TO 10:00AM MONDAY 24th OF AUGUST, 2015

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