7 Jan 2011

Edwards says Tonga PM has right to appoint him

4:07 pm on 7 January 2011

A new government minister in Tonga says the Prime Minister had every right to appoint him from outside parliament.

The new Revenue Services and Public Enterprises Minister, Clive Edwards was one of two unelected people appointed to the country's new cabinet, which met for the first time this week.

The appointments drew criticism from the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands, which claimed the unelected ministers would not be accountable to the people, and would be costly to taxpayers.

But Mr Edwards says appointment from outside of parliament is provided for under the constitution, based on special qualifications and experience

"If he has run out of appropriate appointments within his team, he has taken two in from the other side, he is entitled to go out within the provision of the constitution to appoint from outside to supplement his team. There are three ways of getting into parliament, one through the election of nobles, two election by the people, three appointment by the prime minister."

Clive Edwards says he has had ministerial experience and a legal background, and the Prime Minister may have needed that to bolster his cabinet.