SEPTEMBER 16th - THE Legislative Assembly of Tonga’s session for 2021 was officially closed today with a soft closing ceremony. It also marks the end of the current parliamentary term.

A commission of three Nobles of the Realm, Lord Niukapu, Lord Ve’ehala and Lord Fohe represented the King, His Majesty, King Tupou VI. Lord Ve’ehala delivered the King’s closing remarks, which highlighted the many challenges that Tonga is now facing.

His Majesty was particularly concerned with the people’s safety from increasing illicit drugs related problems. It has specific devastating effects on the youth of the nation on whom we rely to build our country in the future.

The King also expressed concern towards people’s safety from the negative impacts of COVID-19. Preparedness is very crucial. Vaccinations and accepting the Ministry of Health’s guiding advice as a safety net is encouraged.

There was also emphasis on the nation’s food security, particularly in the face of climate change and border closures. People should be self-reliant through subsistence farming, instead of relying on imported food supplies.

This will ensure resilience, should there be prolonged impacts consequential on current world-wide challenges.

The King reminded MPs of their legislative duty provided by the law and the Constitution to act on the overall welfare of the people.

His Majesty suggested more attention towards lawmaking. He said there were enactments made during the session with shortfalls in their respective objectives. It will create difficulty for the judiciary in doing the best it can for the welfare of the society.

The King also pointed out the need for Parliament to execute its oversight role. It should make it a priority to scrutinize the government of the day’s use of public funds, and to ensure sound management of taxpayer’s money. He pointed out that some Government entities, such as Public Enterprises, appear not to have complete accounts for expenditures.

The King concluded by encouraging voters to elect the right people into Parliament in the upcoming general election in November.

Voters will cast their votes at ballot boxes on November 18, to elect their representatives to Parliament for the next four years.

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