THREE Nobles of the Realm today officially closed the Legislative Assembly’s session in a soft closing ceremony. The Nobles were Lord Tu'iha'ateiho, Lord Vaea and Lord Ve'ehala.
Lord Vaea delivered the closing address from His Majesty King Tupou VI. He highlighted nine key areas the King wanted the House to focus on.
The King reminded the MPs about the importance of preparedness especially now that we have endured the effects of climate change.
The King also noted that the rebuilding effort in the aftermath of Cyclone Ian in Ha’apai and Gita especially in Tongatapu is yet to be completed. In his speech, His Majesty stated there are many families and schools in Tongatapu that are yet to receive aid from the Government. The longer the delay in the recovery process the harder and more work to be done.
The King also reminded MPs that spending money from donor partners and aid agencies should be transparent and accounted for.
His Majesty emphasized that discussion and debates in Parliament should be conducted in a respectful and dutiful manner. In addition, it is the MPs responsibility to maintain and uphold the dignity of the House.
His Majesty also emphasized that it is unconstitutional for Tonga to ratify any regional or international agreements without completing the due process. He was referring to CEDAW and PACER Plus.
The King also noted it took years for an independent commission to investigate the passport scandal. He is hoping for an independent body as well to investigate the burning and destruction of Nuku’alofa in 2006. The funding for the commission should come from government and the commission should be independent.
His Majesty said drug-related problems in Tonga has become a major issue of concern. Therefore, police should step up efforts in the fight against substance abuse. In addition, the Government should increase funding towards drug prevention programme.
Another concern is assisting our children who are deported back home who have problems and there is a need to help them. The security of our people is paramount because there has been a recent case where someone was murdered.
The King also noted the need to train Tongans working in seasonal labour scheme overseas before they travel abroad. This is to ensure they can communicate and read in English. If we are to take this seriously then we should train our people to the highest level to meet the market’s demands.
The Legislative Assembly will resume on the 30th of May 2019.