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Don't be Too defensive of PM

New Zealand

Editor,

“Obsessive bitterness”, “prejudice”, “figments of Ms. Lynch’s imagination”, “demonise”, “defamatory” and “downright rude”. These are terms Lopeti Senituli has chosen to use in setting Mele Payne Lynch straight on having a “constructive and objective” dialog? I rather think she has hit a nerve. Every public servant welcomes constructive and objective criticism. That is just boilerplate - something everyone says, few actually do.

Dr. Sevele may dismiss Ms. Payne-Lynch’s remarks but I think it perilous to ignore the anger they may represent which I gather is not unique to Ms. Payne-Lynch. She has also shown discontent with many other parties in Tonga and has been unsparing with everyone. Dr. Sevele is in a unique position of power and his actions will have great effect on the health, wealth and prospects of many if not all Tongans. Hence his actions must be above reproach and when mistakes are made, they need to be acknowledged and corrected without delay. Lopeti Senituli’s defensiveness does not give me great hope. Does that truly represent Dr. Sevele’s position as well?

Perhaps when Ms. Payne-Lynch’s points are addressed “individually”, we will gain greater understanding of the subtleties. My fear is that we may simply get the official line from an apologist rather than a candid assessment.

One thing I can say with certainty is that Ms. Payne-Lynch’s remarks are all mild in comparison to what passes for political dialog in the countries we admire the most. It seems that the better political systems also have the most contentious views out in the open for everyone to pass their own judgment on. If Mr. Senituli had any exposure to what passes muster in Great Britain, France or the United States, he might not find Ms. Payne-Lynch’s remarks particularly inflammatory. Perhaps the Kingdom of Tonga is too isolated.

Tevita Osborne

ozbor7 [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] nz