News Release

Tonga Now Nukualofa, Tonga June 5, 2007

Defence Services in Tonga is not only a means of income to Tongan families but it is a revenue earner for the country in general. Millions of pa’anga have been injected to our economy through Military Agreements with overseas countries.

Part of that assistance has helped families, the community, and has strengthened the Ministry’s capability to offer more training programs to both staff and newly recruits.

Last Friday, June 1st, 81 students successfully completed the 53rd recruit program of the Tonga Defence Services. They now could see a future before them. Of the 81 participants, 70 are males and 11 are females.

Since the establishment of the Tonga Defence Services, staff and students have been undertaken study programs under Bilateral Defence Agreements between Tonga and overseas countries. All the training programs are funded by overseas countries.

Former Minister of Defence, The Late Colonel Fetu’utolu Tupou, in his inaugural speech as Minister told Parliament that the Tonga Defence Services has generated to Tonga’s economy millions of pa’anga in both financial and technical.

"These millions comes in the form of trainings offered locally or in overseas countries. Also countries that we have defence bilateral ties are willing to bring in their soldiers to Tonga to help out in community based projects like building of classrooms, and health centers to name a few. They also donate patrol boats, like Australia donated three patrol boats to help us look after our territorial economic zone. During the year, there are military exercises that are either held here in Tonga or overseas, and those exercises bring in money to families and the country in general," said Colonel Tupou.

The countries that we have mutual agreements with include the United States, Great Britain, France, New Zealand, Australia, China and others. It is that agreement that requires Tonga to assist with the RAMZI operation currently underway in neighboring Solomon Islands.

And with all the future to come, eighty one have been added to the Tonga Defence Services. All the sacrifice have earned them a place at the most prestigious Tonga Defence Services according to Lieutenant Kuli Fakalolo.

"They were in training for 12 weeks which focused on all aspects of the military. Next week they will be taking the English subject which is compulsory so that they can confirm the level of understanding in the language which is mainly because for trainings offered from NZ and Australia. There is a certain level of understanding of the language they must reach before they are able to take up the course in those countries," said Lieutenant Fakalolo.

After final marks were added up from the different trainings indoors and outdoors, Filimone Uaea Fifita of Tufuenga, Kolomotu’a was announced as the all best student of the 53rd Recruits.

"Firstly I’d like to give thanks to our heavenly father for his blessings today, as you are all aware of we’re the 53rd recruit and I’m very happy that we’ve completed our time of 3 months and this is the result but the glory be given to God of whom it belongs to and I am very happy together with my work mates from the service," said Fifita.

According to Lieutenant Fakalolo, the newly recruits will now be able to committed themselves to live like a soldier serving Tonga to the best of their abilities.

"They now have to remember that it is all about working as a team. They have to be disciplined, and continue their education," said Fakalolo.

Relatives and family members also took part in celebrating the marching out parade of the 53rd Recruits.

Tonga Now, formerly operated by the Government of Tonga’s Reform Information Office, is currently operated by Kalia Media Serivces, which provides media responses and information about Tonga from the Government.

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