14 Feb 2007

Tonga's Privy Council yet to say whether it's lifting state of emergency

8:12 pm on 14 February 2007

Tonga's Privy Council is yet to make public a decision on whether it is lifting the country's state of emergency.

The state of emergency has been extended twice since being imposed following the riots in November but the current extension is due to end this week.

The Attorney General, Alisi Taumoepeau, says the Privy Council holds the power under the law to make the decision and she will be informed on Friday.

The president of the chamber of commerce, Tapu Panuve, believes there are some issues with lifting the decree but mostly it could be positive.

"IN: This means sort of a decrease in the security which is of concern to those of us in the business community but, at the same time, the army's still around so if anything does go wrong, they'll be there, so the lifting of the security I'm sure, will allow people to move around more freely within town."

Mr Panuve says the prime minister, Dr Feleti Seveli, has told him there are still elements they remain concerned about but he himself believes things are under control.