GOVERNMENT yesterday called on Parliament to defer the no confidence motion ballot against the Prime Minister.
Hon. Samiu Vaipulu says MPs need to establish a procedure to guide the House on the no confidence motion.
This came about when a written submission of the People’s Representative to be read in Parliament this morning.
The Hon. Deputy PM also maintains this is because there is no clear provision in the House’s Standing Order to deal with such motion.
“We should all work together to avoid repeated past experience where Parliament paid a substantial amount of money on a civil case to ‘Akilisi Pohiva, Filokalafi ‘Akau’ola for illegally detaining them in prison,” said Hon. Vaipulu.
He went on to say that procedures for any impeachment motion are clearly outlined in clause 62 of the Standing Order as opposed to the no confidence motion.
In respond, Tongatapu 6 constituency MP, Siosifa Tu’utafaiva thinks otherwise and said the problem is their difference in interpretation of the law.
“There is no need for the House to work on that as rules of procedures for submission, discussion and voting of such motion are already in place. And if no clear procedures outline in the Standing Order, the Speaker has the final say on how the business of the House is to be conducted,” explained Siosifa Tu’utafaiva.
The Deputy PM also informed the House that government noticed that the reply from the People’s Representatives is personal, defamatory and abuse of members privilege as they will not be hhold accountable for what they say in Parliament.
“Some language used in their reply is with the intention to tarnish government’s reputation,” said Hon. Vaipulu
The Hon. Finance Minister also backed up Hon. Vaipulu’s insight saying that due to the defamatory nature of their (PRs) reply it should be referred to a Screening Committee.
In rebuttal, Siosifa Tu’utafaiva maintained their reply provides nothing but the truth according to the investigation they carried out.
“The supporting documents we provide are factual information as a result of works and investigation they did. And we are aware of the House’s Rules and regulations, what’s being provided are not defamatory as claimed by the government,” stated Mr. Tu’utafaiva.
The Hon. Deputy PM also told the House another reason for their plea so the House could tend to other urgency matters.
“We have reports that islanders of Ha’apai, Vava’u and the two Niuas are experiencing water shortages. This is largely due to the prolonged drought period that mostly affected Niuafo’ou. This is because they rely heavily on rain water for consumption,” said Hon. Vaipulu.
However the Speaker allowed the reply to be read in Parliament but some sections are omitted from the document and the speaker also allows the government the right to reply orally.