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16-11

A palangi's economic plan for Tonga

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Editor,

This letter hopes to change the subject from who is to blame for 16/11 and to move on to more constructive topics. After all, you have to wonder about the rational of any government that would arrest 9 year olds. I…’m glad no babies were rioting. Hopefully the children didn…’t have to sit in jail for a week.

We keep hearing about how the Tongan Government is financially broke. With so many PhDs per capita, how can this be? Can…’t any of you come up with a good idea and execute it successfully? Here are three major reform suggestions from a slow country palangi to get the ball moving with a fresh start when parliament reopens.

First is the nationalization of Tongasat and .to domain along with the pardons of Princess Pilolevu and her partners for previous theft of national assets. This should add a few million annually to the treasury. All government owned companies would be required to publish an annual finance statement. The salaries of all employees of the government owned Tongasat and .to domain management would also be published annually for the public to see.

Second is land reform. All of the land owned by the nobles, with the exception of one town allotment and one 8 acre country allotment would be returned to the Tongan government. All revenue from existing leases on those properties would also go to the government. The length of time that a land owner, commoner or noble, could lease his property would be the same. The King can keep 20 acres around his big house on the hill. Since any business by the King would be a conflict of interest, he will not be permitted to lease land. Government leases of public land will be conducted by public auction. No single individual will be allowed to lease more than 80 acres. Agricultural leases will be good for five years. Leases on properties to be developed for residential or commercial use would be 50 to 99 years.

The third reform is to offer dual citizenship to all Tongans who have emigrated or have been born overseas to a Tongan parent. The government would charge these new citizens $500 for processing per passport. This can be done, precedence has been set, and at least these folks have a few Tongan genes. Of course, with citizenship comes the full right of being a Tongan citizen, a city and country land allotment and the right to vote. If ten thousand individuals took up this offer, that would be $5 million for the treasury. This reform would also soften the impending crisis with regard to diminishing remittances. As time passes the bonds to Tonga will grow weaker and the next generation may not be so charitable, after all they have grown up around selfish palangis. This may also encourage Tongans that have worked overseas to return to Tonga with their retirements. This will add more money to the economy.

Democracy is about more than political freedom, it is also about economic freedom.

Respectfully,

Joe Smith

utahpalangi [at] msn [dot] com