Talk about kicking someone when they’re down, ouch. The complicit decision to let go of the former finance minister, Siosiua ‘Utoikamanu, will live in infamy and history will show exactly that.
It’s difficult to imagine the mind set of some people who coldly and calmly assess the state of our dire economy, run-down health system, failing education, rampant inflation, high unemployment and ever increasing crime waves, to condone asking for the resignation of the only person who had the insight and the foresight to take Tonga into the 21st century. Even if he has to do it by dragging Tonga screaming into the 21st century. Such fortitude, such intergrity, such honesty.
The “Expenditure Review Committee” intended by the Prime Minister Dr. Feleti Sevele to use in the current political conflict strikes me as “corruption” to learn that a Prime Minister sought to force undue pressure on the budget for political gains and in doing so, purposely ensured the resignation of the former finance minister. Against every principle of good governance and the goverments’ own code of ethics, let alone parliaments’ standing orders, audit generals’ office etc, this Prime Minister attempts to create a “central committee” where he can interfere in any minister’s portfolio without fear or have any problem with demarcation.
It is a frightening though, to hear that a government or a cabinet does its own expenditure review and audits and not by an independent body. I don’t hear or see any shot across bow from any one protesting this corruption blatant act and the misuse of power!.
The Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers do not go anywhere near the budget unless invited by their respective treasurers, and similar to that of the Finance Minister with the expenditure review committee, which by the way is in the Treasury, in Tonga’s case, that would be in the precinct of the Finance Minister. It is unheard of what this Prime Minister is trying to do.
Siosiua the contemporary man, expert in monetary policy and fiscal policy, an intellect, brutally honest and highly respected by his peers beyond our shores particularly by major financial institutions such as the I.M.F. and the World Bank.
Those of political envy have always accused the former Finance Minister of being aloof. Nothing could be further from the truth. This perception persists because it was a cry for help. It’s often a symptom associated with women, “Suffering in Silence” (eh eh eh). It must have been hell for Siosiua to suddenly find himself between a rock and a hard place.
On one hand the Prime Minister just walked through parliament into a ministerial post. Hey it’s the flight over the cuckcoo’s nest. To sit in parliment or in front of sub-committees and try and make them understand global economy, micro and macro management of the economy etc, it makes you just want to get away and save whatever’s left of your sanity.
For me, judging from the amount of public support Siosiua had and the significant number of public servants who became overwhelmed on his last day at work, his greatest problem would be to which job offer to take or may be take a job in Fiji, rest-up with the family. What goes around comes around.
Kaveinga E. Folau Na’ati
raastaman60 [at] hotmail [dot] com