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Tonga needs openness, transparency and integrity



With the gavel being dropped and the decision to have the Minister of Tourism work without pay for three months, one can only wonder whether this whole process was “just”, and if there was real justice in the process.

The Webster Dictionary defines “just” as “conforming to a state of correctness.” That is why standing operating procedures, policies and rules are created. Although at times these rules seem inconvenience, compliance and enforcement of such bring harmony and civility to organizations, communities as well as society. If only the Minister complied with the policy to the exact state of correctness, or did what was “just” regarding the Chinese Government…’s donation, this idiot may have something different to say.

The Minister’s intent may have been honourable on behalf of simplicity; his action was clearly of misappropriation. To appropriate means, “To take exclusive possession of”. When the Minister deposited the cheque to his personal account, he appropriated the funds exclusively for himself regardless of his intent. Bottom line? The Minister had an exclusive access to this money while the Government, the rightful owner, was kept out.

The disciplinary action or punishment may seem harsh especially to family members and friends, but what appears to idiots like me is: the government is doing business as usual with a little show of accountability and an occasional healthy dose of forgiving. For the Minister, I am deeply disappointed for two reasons: First, he placed himself in the situation; Second: he did not resign to maintain his integrity and character. Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian writer once wrote, “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.”

Until the Government establish a standard for integrity within its ranks; a code of ethics for all public servants, and Government leaders lead by example, the saga of questionable practices in the government will continue which will always be the roadblock and will frustrate all attempts for reforms.

To preserve “God and Tonga” as our inheritance, we must shed our old ways and weave a new culture of openness, transparency and integrity. Don Galer once said, “Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do.” Although I am biased in favor of the Minister because he is a neighbor, he is from Ha…’ano and I am from Foa, the expectation is not lowered to fit the relationship. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required sayeth the Gospel according to St Luke.

Tama Foa

Tevita [dot] Langi [at] AMEDD [dot] ARMY [dot] MIL