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Wholly untrue that I proposed Media Operator's Act

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Dear Editor

I read in Clive Edwards's interview that he accused me of proposing the Media Operator's Act. This is wholly untrue but as Edwards is running for parliament his wild accusations are, I suppose, understandable. I was opposed to the anti media laws on the grounds that they were not our style of doing things in this country.

The truth is that Clive Edwards believed himself clever enough to harness the Constitution in his personal vendetta against the Taimi Tonga newspaper and its editor Kalafi Moala. He failed in this endeavour because of his ignorance of the law. Proof of this unfamiliarity with Court procedure is that he was unable to understand that changes to the Constitution should be attended by changes in the Judge's Rules if they are at all to succeed. This is why his measure failed - something I probably forgot to mention to him at the time. Had it truly been I who had sponsored the amendment, you can be assured that it would have succeeded. That, surely, should be proof enough that I did not have anything to do with it.

Part of Clive Edwards's campaign of misinformation is to give the false impression that after the two representatives are appointed ministers the number of representatives for the people shall be reduced to seven. This is patently false but is to be expected from one of Edwards's low breed of character.

After the general election, there will be a by-election to replace those who have been appointed ministers, hence the numbers of representatives shall be replenished to nine. The same shall apply for the Representatives of the Nobility.

On a more general note though, no set of rules are perfect unless they are applied with justice and compassion. One of these is the unwritten convention that discussions during Privy Council audiences are to be kept private. For this reason, it has always been the policy to appoint ministers from the ranks of Gentlemen and it is in this regard that Clive Edwards's appointment to the cabinet was a mistake. Of the three dismissed Ministers, he is the only one to have broken this convention.

Floundering about like a beached whale looking for someone to blame for his public disgrace instead of glancing in the mirror is, after all, and provided he can tell the difference any more, degrading.



See also:

Clive Edwards's interview (Part One)

Clive Edwards's interview (Part Two)


Thanks to HRH for writing - Mani:
I just want to say Thank You to The Crown Prince, Tupuouto’a for writing. Whether the argument is true or false is not my concern here. I am surprised that he wants to communicate to us the general public because this has been unheard of for a very l…o…n…g time - Their Royal Highnesses - expressing views publicly. I want to thank him for his continuous interest in the people’s opinions and looking forward that someday soon his cousins would join in. - Regards Mani, USA.

Mr Edwards used his power to intimidate - Meliame Havea
I have been reading a few of the media coverage regarding Clive Edwards and have to admit that I have not seen such a public display of “‘about-face” than this man. I have witnessed, and it has been well documented, the misuse of power and the high-handed way Mr. Edwards used against the people, commoners, democratic supporters, Taimi 'o Tonga, Kele'a, etc, over the past few years of his being Minister of Police. I would appreciate it if your Newspaper would care to publish a list of all the court cases, frivolous or otherwise, whereby, Mr. Edwards used his …‘then power as Minister…’ to try and intimidate others for daring to oppose or question his dictatorial stance when he was ruling the roost on the other side of the fence. The amount of money the government has paid out for legal defense of his petty bickerings in court, the money paid out in fines, settlements out of court etc, whilst he was in the House.

All of a sudden, we are expected to forget that this man, was an enemy of the common people, the underdog and anyone who dared question anything he deemed to be his right to dictate. Now that he has been ousted, it is “Beware the wolf in sheep’’s clothing,” it was only last year that he was biting off heads for breakfast, insisting on cutting off your rights to a free and unfettered media. He was a vocal and the most prominent supporter of the now defunct Media Act. It was his police minions he frequently sent to stop the Taimi newspaper at the airport after the Chief Justice had granted its right for distribution. He ordered his police minions to collect the paper as well as the monies from the corner shops, even though it was clearly illegal after the handing down of the decisions in the high court. He tried to intimidate others including ‘Akilisi Pohiva and ‘Ofa Simiki by frivolous court actions that clearly took up precious court time, money and resources paid for by the lowly taxpayers, which went nowhere.

Now he is claiming to be the common man’s brother? I don’’t think so. I agree with HRH, please leave Edwards floundering on the beach, as that is clearly, where he belongs. Respectfully, Meliame Havea, Kabul, Afghanistan

Nice to see dialogue between Royals and common folk - Richard T. Wolfgramm
I agree with Mani that it's nice to see dialogue between the Royals and the common folk of Tonga. But, in reading the recent dialogue between Clive Edwards and Tupouto'a, I'm not sure whose interests are being served. It's one thing to step down from your lofty perch to dialogue with common folks, it's another thing to write amusing letters to the Matangi Tonga, NOT for the purpose of bonding with your people, but to defend yourself (with slight Jerry Springer-ish overtones, I might add) from accusations brought on by a former colleague. Obviously both parties are serving their own interests - Clive being the ousted Minister of Police and now running for Parliament, the CP with his long list of self serving interests, but once the smoke clears, who will really toka'i the interests and the heart of the Tongan people? If the leaders of Tonga would invest more time in developing the country, instead on engaging in useless point/counterpoint discussions in the letters to editor section of the Matangi, it would be a productive start. Sincerely, Richard T. Wolfgramm, Publisher - Ano Masima News, Salt Lake City, USA

Sad to hear a commoner defending the rights of a Royal - Tupou Layton:
I am just fascinated by reading all these comments lowering Mr. Clive Edwards and lifting the Crown Prince and his defensive opinions against Mr. Clive Edwards.

I wonder, when is the Kingdom of Tonga going to reach freedom and feel the Equality of Human Rights like in America. It is so sad to hear a commoner defending the rights of a Royal Members, your families or your ancestors have suffered for many years because of Leadership from the Royal Members.

Many years ago when Captain Cook, discovered the Kingdom of Tonga and called it the Friendly Islands and compare it to 2005, what is the difference. Has the Tongan Government accomplished anything to help its own people?

No traffic lights, no manufactures, no resources, still in poverty, no major businesses, no major hotels, not much income from tourism, RTA repossessed, not many jobs for all educated Tongan and Women, low incomes, no risk management plan for the government of Tonga, royal members and nobles still control all lands and businesses in Tonga, royal members hide their money overseas, no plan for the commoners, no plan for the children of Tonga, water system still polluted, power system still dictate by a royal member, people still in poverty, government still have no plan, or direction to lead the Tongan People.

As a Commoner and Successfull business woman in America, I believe that every Tongan deserves Freedom and Equalty of Human Rights. The Economy needs to be improved in Tonga, but how can the blind lead the blind in Tonga. It is time for someone with great skills and experience to lead the people to Freedom and wealth and I believe Mr. Clive Edwards can offer this to the Tongan People.

Mr. Richard Wolfgramm, I respect your opinion, but any letter sent to Matangi Tonga is not for amusement but to help our own people of Tonga. If you are lowering the people's comments in your letter through Matangi Tonga then you are not respecting freedom of speech, whom we are appreciated by Matangi Tonga World Wide.

Respectfully Yours, Tupou Layton