THE Legislative Assembly will be hosting a luncheon programme tomorrow to warmly welcome the Mate Ma’a Tonga rugby league team upon arriving in the kingdom.
This is in support of the team before they leave for the Rugby League World Cup in London next month.
Meanwhile in Parliament today, Tongatapu 2 MP, Sēmisi Sika this morning called on Government to consider allocating funds up to TOP$500,000 for the players' travel allowance.
This was met with opposition from the Minister of Justice, Hon. Clive Edwards.
“Usually the Rugby League World Cup covers all expenses for accommodation, food and allowances. The fund needed is to cover expenses for the local Rugby League Committees’ officials,” maintained the Hon. Minister of Justice.
Mr. Sika who is also the President of Tonga Rugby League Committee responded that “the World Cup Rugby League funds all expenses including accommodation, food and allowances but any financial contribution from Government is for the player’s allowance.”
Majority of the players are residing overseas.
He adds their Rugby League Committee never promised any financial contribution to the team.
“The players are aware of the situation - Tonga is a poor country. The coach told us the team wants to come home and witness the hardship Tongans are experiencing. They want to come and meet people and the Royal Family before they depart for the world cup event,” said Semisi Sika.
Tongatapu 2 constituency MP noted that what matters most is that the boys are proud to represent Tonga and proud to be Tongans.
Meanwhile the Acting Prime Minister, Hon. Samiu Vaipulu stated that Cabinet will look into the matter and respond to the plea later.
Speaker, MPs and staff of the Legislative Assembly will also wear red tomorrow in support of the Mate Ma’a Tonga.