‘HEROINES’ FEND OFF ARSONISTS DURING TONGA RIOTS

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‘HEROINES’ FEND OFF ARSONISTS DURING TONGA RIOTS

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Nov. 29) – Sheer determination and absolute courage displayed by two young women in Tonga who resolutely stood alone facing a screaming mob of would-be arsonists and looters, saved the Nuku'alofa premises of their employer on November 16.

Lucy Prescott and Lise Fa'aumu made "an unbelievable effort over and above the call of duty!" said Janine Holden, the Managing Director of the National Beverage Company.

"My two girls, especially Lucy, need to be recognized for their heroic actions and absolutely outstanding strength of character when they made a stand and took on the mob of some 300 plus on that Thursday afternoon when they came to burn down our building," said Janine.

Janine was away in Vava'u that day and Lucy and Lise were looking after the liquor store located on the corner of Fatafehi Road and Wellington Road, opposite St Paul's Anglican Church.

"When the mob came, Lucy and Lise literally walked outside and stood alone in front of the building between the mob and our shop, just the two of them!" said Janine. "Lucy told them: 'this is my business and all we and our families have to rely on.' With loyalty and dedication they stood up to the mob not just once but twice, first to stop them from ransacking our shop and then a second time when two guys came forward with bottles of petrol to burn the building down."

Lucy told Janine that she and Lise got down on their knees and Lucy begged the mob not to burn down the building. "Lucy said the crowd was yelling 'burn it, burn it' with craziness in their eyes and bottles of beer in their hands. But they didn't burn it. Lucy and Lise were so terrified when they went back inside their knees just kept shaking and shaking so they could hardly stand up, and they got on the phone to me in Vava'u. They worked an absolute miracle that day through sheer determination and absolute unresolved courage."

Janine said that Lucy had come to work as usual at 9 a.m. on Thursday November 16 but didn’t go home until 1 p.m. Saturday. "Lucy never left the building, and didn't sleep until Friday night inside the shop, when we were fortunate enough to have a military blockade set up right outside the building. Then, after we had safely removed the stock on Saturday, she went home."

Vulnerable stock was saved by resolute action of Lise and Lucy.

Janine said the two young women were heroines.

"I will be forever in their debt, especially Lucy, who stayed right through and continued to ward off several other attempts by the lessening mob as the night went on. These are the sort of people of this great country that make you proud to have the privilege of being in business here," said Janine.

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