17 Feb 2011

Tuvalu PM's standing damaged by Public Order Act says opposition

4:19 pm on 17 February 2011

A spokesperson for Tuvalu's opposition says implementing the Public Order Act has damaged the standing of the Prime Minister, Willie Telavi.

The government imposed a ban on public gatherings in January in response to a protest march by people from Nukufetau who were demanding the immediate resignation of one of their MPs, the finance minister Lotoala Metia.

The ban's now been lifted but Mr Telavi says police are still investigating the march, which the government deemed illegal, along with accompanying threats made about removing Mr Metia.

The opposition's Monise Laafai says enacting emergency regulations was not the appropriate course of action.

"I think it's a free and a democratic society, people should be allowed to do whatever they, well, I mean within the context of the law. But these orders were like I said time and again, it's absolutely unnecessary and any right-thinking person will not issue those orders under the circumstances."

Monise Laafai says the Prime Minister could have considered closer dialogue with the community.