26 Oct 2009

Claim Tonga Prime Minister shifting blame on ferry sinking

8:34 pm on 26 October 2009

The Tongan Women's National Congress says the Prime Minister appears to be shifting the blame over who is responsible for the Princess Ashika sinking.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry into the disaster which claimed more than 70 lives in August begins tomorrow.

Shortly after the sinking the Prime Minister Dr Feleti Sevele defended the seaworthiness of the vessel.

But in an interview with TV3 news in New Zealand, Dr Sevele now says while his ministers told him the ferry was seaworthy, he is waiting to hear the findings of the inquiry.

Mele Amanaki, the president of the Tongan Woman's National Congress says this shows the Prime Minister was dishonest at the outset.

"Well it's confirmed that he lied, if he's shifting his stance, that means he lied at first when he made that public speech. Now I think he's being very careful of what he says, and shifting the blame to his ministers and not him."

Mele Amanaki says she is still strong after fasting for two weeks in support of a petition calling for the Prime Minister to be removed.