26 Jan 2005

Tonga's Crown Prince replies to criticism from former minister

10:40 am on 26 January 2005

Tonga's Crown Prince Tupouto'a is blaming the sacked Police Minister, Clive Edwards, for the country's failed constitutional curb on its media, saying he was waging a personal vendetta gainst the Taimi 'o Tonga newspaper.

The claim is in response to Mr Edward's statements that he was forced to resign after being accused by the crown prince of plotting a coup and leading rebel ministers in a campaign against their policies.

In a letter to the Matangi Tonga, Crown Prince Tupouto'a said that Mr Edwards had accused him of proposing the controversial Media Operators Act.

He said this was wholly untrue and the truth was that Mr Edwards believed himself clever enough to harness the constitution in his personal vendetta against the Taimi 'o Tonga newspaper and its editor, Kalafi Moala.

Prince Tupouto'a said he was in fact opposed to the anti media laws because they were not our style of doing things in this country.

He said the wild accusations are probably understandable because Mr Edwards was now campaigning for Tonga's March general election and hoped to gain one of the commoner seats in Parliament.

The crown prince also accused Mr Edwards of misinformation over the nine commoner representatives election procedures.

He said it had been the policy of the Tongan government to "appoint ministers from the ranks of gentlemen and it is in this regard that Clive Edwards's appointment to the cabinet was a mistake."