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Accusation of a Coup Plot

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Dear Pesi,

Regrettably I must again write to inform you of another of Clive Edwards's lies. He said to you that I had announced that there was a plot for a coup by some ministers. The real story is as follows.

Relations between the Minister for Law and the then Chief Justice, Gordon Ward, had deteriorated to a point where it became a very serious concern to me. It was obvious to me who was behind it and what direction their ambitions had taken. To diffuse the situation I sought an audience with His Majesty the King just before he left for medical treatment in the United States.

Convention prevents me from telling you the conversation we had word for word, but suffice it to say that at the conclusion of the audience, I was confidently able to announce in the next Privy Council, without mentioning any names, that "...nobody in this room will ever be appointed a Judge in this Kingdom."

Plotting and executing a coup d'etat requires diligence, brains and a high order of organisational skills. For these reasons, it is an activity of which no one can honestly, in good conscience, accuse Clive Edwards.

Yours ever,


HRH Crown Prince Tupouto'a
Friday, 21 January 2005 4:49 PM


Two Cabinet meetings confused - Clive Edwards:
Dear Sir, With great respect HRH Tupouto'a appears to be confused and is unable to recall the proper sequence of events, as well as what was raised and discussed at those meetings. There were two meetings as follows:
January 2004, whilst His Majesty was in the United States, HRH Tupouto'a as Prince Regent raised the issue of immediately renewing and extending the Chief Justice's tenure in office for another six years. He said, “There are MInisters here who are trying to de-stabilize the judiciary. They are intimidating the Chief Justice etc,”- he also made brief reference to the relationship between the Minister of Justice and the Chief Justice. I can't recall him saying, “Nobody in this room will be appointed Judge in this Kingdom”. It should be noted that no one was interested in being appointed a Judge then or at any other time, and his remark would be somewhat irrelevant. When the present Attorney-General visited me in November 2004, to see whether I would be interested in being a Judge of the Supreme Court, I expressed no interest in it.

The second meeting was on the 30th July 2004 and that was the meeting when he made the remarks which I have explained in my interview with Pesi Fonua. This was before the discussion of the “One Domestic Airline” policy. At that meeting he definitely made no remark such as, “Nobody in this room will be appointed Judge in this Kingdom”. Such a remark would be totally out of context to what was going on in that meeting.

Calling me names will not alter the true facts.

Yours faithfully, Clive Edwards.