Alter your position for now and Save the Country
I’m a strong sympathiser for any campaign aimed at achieving justice and equity, and I sincerely hope the current crisis in Tonga does not become an international focus.
I sense that the two issues, pay increases for PSA workers, and a move to change the country’s political framework, are being driven to achieve the same purpose - equity in pay rights for workers, and a change to the country’s political framework.
Now that the crisis is becoming even messier, I believe the PSA has reached the point where they should now consider negotiating a deal with the government, by politely asking workers to return to work until further notice. The government, on the other hand, should sit with the PSA, and genuinely re-examine their case and possibly make a number of concessions. Everyone agrees that the PSA workers deserve every cent they can get from the bureaucracy. But if they want to be on the side of the people, sometimes it is best to appease the government by allowing its workers to return to their normal duties temporary or until further notice.
The danger in hanging onto this campaign poses a lot of risk not just for the PSA, but for the country as a whole, including government. I know the Tongan mentality. If you destroy this precious moment by not talking together to achieve a reasonable consensus, the future of the country’s tradition and respect for those in high places, will almost become a thing of the past. We will lose it, and Tonga will never be the same again. What we are witnessing today, depending on the direction of this episode, will in fact change our country forever. There will be no going back.
Consider for a moment about what might happen, if for example, the King and his family are forced into exile to Cuba or Thailand? The ramifications will be enormous. This will have the effect of destroying those left behind. For example, what role will the nobles take on and what if they are no longer treated like nobles now that the monarch is outside the country?
I think the most important thing that can take this heat out is for government and the PSA to book themselves in the International Dateline Hotel, sleep there and don’t come out until a deal is finalised. I’m sure the people and the public servants can wait. While that activity is going on, the school, the people, and government institutions are operating normally and are not held at ransom. Unfortunately, the government must now realise that failure to give reasonable concessions to the strikers, will drive many people to anger because they will interpret this event as a political episode instead. Surely, we are smarter than this.
jfaletau [at] hotmail [dot] com