TONGA WEEK IN REVIEW: SPORTS, WATER, POLITICS

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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, April 16) – Prominent on the front pages of the Kalonikali, the Kele'a and the Talaki this week was Inter-College Sports and a move to form a People's Democratic Party.

The front pages of the two issues of the Taimi 'o Tonga this week featured Tongan-New Zealand stories.

The Talaki of Wednesday April 13, 2005 featured a front page story on the official formation of the People’s Democratic Party, formed on April 8 at 'Atenisi, following the scheduled meeting of a Task Force that was formed the week before. The Task Force was chaired by Teisina Fuko and assisted by Semisi Tapueluelu and Kamipeli Tofa who made a presentation at the meeting. The name People’s Democratic Party, PDP, was accepted, and Clive Edwards was made responsible for registering the party with government.

The PDP is chaired by Teisina Fuko, and no other officials were mentioned, even though the meeting was well attended by members of the public, including candidates for the recent parliamentary election. Teisina Fuko said that various committees would be formed to deal with a range of issues, economics, politics, law and others. Once the PDP was registered members of the public would be encouraged to register and become members.

The PDP was scheduled to meet again this Friday, April 15, at 'Atenisi.

There was also a story about a big problem with the water supply of 'Eua. The Tonga Water Board has been administering 'Eua's water supply during the past 20 years but prior to that the 'Eua water supply was looked after by the 'Eua Water Committee.

The people were not happy with how Water Board managed their water supply and with the poor quality of their water. In 1999 the people of 'Eua sought assistance from the New Zealand government. What followed were two feasibility studies, and the conclusion of both studies were for the management of the water supply to be returned to the 'Eua Water Committee. New Zealand also offered to donate $2 million over a three-year-period for the maintenance of the water supply by the ‘Eua Water Committee.

The Water Board and government were obviously not very happy about it and last November government formed a new committee and informed Wellington that this committee would look after the 'Eua Water.

While the power struggle is going on between the Water Board and the 'Eua Water Committee during the past six years the people are suffering from poor quality water, and the People's Representative for 'Eua, Sunia Fili has written to the PM, but received no reply.

The Kele'a of Wednesday April 13, 2005 featured on its Front Page headline a story about a proposed March to Present a Petition to the King by the people to show "their dissatisfaction with how they have been marginalised by Shoreline and the two Indians"The meeting last Friday evening, April 8, at St Andrew’s Hall was attended by the three elected members of parliament for Tongatapu and about 300 people. At the meeting a petition, which was drafted by the People's Representatives was read out, outlining specifically five factors that the people want something to be done about:

1. The business of power generation to be returned to government from Shoreline.

2. For Shoreline to pay government for unpaid duty on building materials that were imported by South Pac Ltd.

3. For the Internet Domain name .to to be returned to government.

4. For the People's Representatives to meet with Tongasat about the orbital slots, managed by Tongasat.

5. For nobles who are not living together with their people in the village not to be paid their salaries of $7,860 per annum.

A date for the march had yet to be set.

The Kalonikali of Thursday April 14, 2005, featured on its front page the presenting of $10 million of new school buildings to the Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Tevita Palefau by the Chinese Ambassador to Tonga, HE Mr Gao Shanhai.

There was also a story that the King had been invited to the town of Mildura in Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games next year. The governor of Mildura, Phil Byrne said that Tongan athletes for the games may be trained at Mildura in preparation for the games.

The Kalonikali reported that a third contingent of Tongan Peace-Keepers will leave for the Solomons in July. Commander Toni Fonokalafi said that 30 soldiers had been selected for the mission, but a final figure was yet to be confirmed with Australia.

Toni said that following the success of RAMSI it was decided that each country would carry out peace-keeping duties in the Solomons in turn. He said that PNG would complete their turn in July then the peace-keeping duty in the Solomons will be taken over by the Tongans.

The Taimi of Tuesday April 12, 2005 featured the story of a savage attack on two Tongan brothers, Sila (23), and Vili Kamoto (19) by 12 youths, using sticks, and a hammer near their home in Mt Roskill, Auckland, New Zealand, on the Saturday night of April 2. Sila, the eldest of the brothers, remained in a serious condition in hospital.

Featured also on the front page was a photo of three teenage girls in beach wear, contestants for the Tonga Miss NZ 2005 beauty contest.

The Taimi also reported on the low standard of education among Tongans in America, where 38 percent did not finish High School in California, and only 6 percent graduated with university degrees. Among the Asian communities and the other Pacific Islands communities in California, Tonga was on par with the Vietnamese for not finishing High School, but percentage-wise more Vietnamese graduated from university than Tongans. Comparing with Fijians and Samoans, Tongans came out third.

April 18, 2005

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

 

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