18 Nov 2004

New Tongan cabinet faces difficult task, warns MP

8:10 am on 18 November 2004

A Peoples' Representative in Tonga says the new members of the next cabinet will face a difficult task ahead of them.

The Prime Minister announced last week that the next cabinet would include two elected Peoples' Representatives.

Dr Fred Sevele says while on the surface the decision looks positive- there could still be areas of concern.

"There will be some difficulties when they are in there in Cabinet. Of course if they are forced to toe the line on every issue, then I can see problems. I hope the powers that be will be more tolerant to accept the fact that they are there in the first place as representatives of the people so we can get some compromise and get things moving forward."

Dr Sevele says whoever is in cabinet will have to repair the damage done by their predecessors.

Earlier this year three cabinet ministers were sacked, reportedly for poor performance.

Dr Sevele says the last 10 years have seen the collapse of Royal Tongan Airlines and the loss of millions of dollars in a Trust Fund.

He adds recent media amendments were proved to be unconstitutional.

There were the huge damages inflicted by some of those ministers and some that are still there. These are some of the debts that we have to clean up and hopefully it will be a collective effort to clean things up, to move Tonga to where it should be, economically, socially and politically.

Dr Sevele is currently in New Zealand to observe the workings of parliament.

He says he's impressed with the mixed-member-proportional, electoral system.