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We want informed, not hasty, decision on political reform

Sydney, Australia

Dear Editor,

Disappointment in the so-called political reformists (those who have submitted proposed changes to the political system) in Tonga, for want of details in their proposed reforms, has been voiced in this forum and I must say that those who share the sentiment have a valid point. The reformists talk about constitutional changes and appointments of Ministers but, as far as I am aware, are silent on the nature of the political system they want to replace the present one with.

The common aspect of the reformists...‚ push for political reform is that the people elect all members of Parliament from which the King elects the Ministers. My concern with this process is that there is a great risk that the pool of candidates for Parliamentary election may not provide the best available options from which to choose the Ministers. We certainly do not want any political changes that compromise proficiency and efficiency in public administration.

The government has at last shown genuine interest in the issue of political reform by agreeing to the formation of The National Committee of the Kingdom of Tonga on Political Reform (NCPR). That Committee is to report to the government on its findings, in around June this year. Why is there a rush by the reformists to implement political reform before the NCPR report is submitted to the government? Does it not make good sense to hear what the reformists, the NCPR, and whoever else that cares to be heard on the subject, have to offer before making a decision on the what's, why's, and when's of political reform?

We will all be doing ourselves a favour by encouraging and indulging in a public debate on the pros and cons of the proposed political reform, and putting aside for the time being, the setting of deadlines for government responses to the reformists...‚ proposed changes. We want to make an informed and not a hasty decision on the proposed political reform.


Lisiate Ikaafu

Sydney, Australia.

siate [at] froggy [dot] com [dot] au