Created: 27 February 2019
THE government has rejected calls for the Hon. Prime Minister to withdraw his official letter stating the Constitutional Amendment Bill is an emergency Bill. This would have paved the way for public consultation on Amendment Bill to the Constitution of Tonga 2019.
The House voted 11-9 against the proposal.
'Eua Noble Representative Lord Nuku moved that the Bill be taken to the public for consultation after the first reading of the Bill. It was met with strong opposition from the PM.
According to Pohiva, he respected the people but believe he was elected by them and they trust him and his government to perform their best. Hence, he argued there are pending government matters awaiting this Bill.
Meanwhile Ha'apai number one Noble Representative Lord Tu'iha'angana moved the motion and push for public consultation on the Bill. It is with his notion that the team spirit of MPs could make a difference. He strongly believes the public should be consulted as this Bill is more important to them than the previous Foreign Investment Bill.
However both the Minister of Justice Hon. Vuna Faótusia and Commerce and Trade Minister Dr Tu'i Uata both asserted this is one of the requirements from the Privy Council. They said it was obvious Parliament approved it in 2014 during the previous government but now some members are opposing it.
Yesterday Lord Tu'iha'angana questioned Government whether there was any public consultation on the Bill. This led the Hon. Minister of Police Hon. Mateni Tapueluelu to propose for public consultation to be conducted. He was certain this Bill is directly related to the principle of good governance.
Meanwhile 'Eua People Representative Tevita Lavemaau also criticised the PM saying he is using the emergency Bill as a way to push through with the Bill although it is nothing urgent.
"True democracy prevails if the public is consulted on the Bill. Public, consultation is a good strategy to use just like the recent consultation with the businesses on Foreign Investment Bill," argued Lavemaau.