29 Sep 2004

Efforts to stop a bill allowing Sunday plane flights in Tonga fail

1:48 pm on 29 September 2004

The Tongan Legislative Assembly has today rejected a submission that it drop a planned measure to allow some transport services to operate on Sunday.

The bill will allow aircraft flights, work in the Marine Department, and other related activities, on Sundays.

Tonga's seven church leaders presented a petition opposing the bill on Monday and this was debated today by the Assembly.

The pro-democracy MP, Akilisi Pohiva, says the Government claims that the measure is only to allow emergencies services to function on Sunday, but he says the People's Representatives have a different view.

"our intepretation of that bill is that once that bill is passed then all essential services, according to regulation that could be put up by heads of department, could be done on Sundays"

Akilisi Pohiva says the petition was rejected by 13 votes to 12.