Tonga's Public Service Association who is demanding that a new interim government take over Tonga, or else they will strike, has delayed their national march until June 1.
The PSA initially called for a national march to be held tomorrow May 25 to present their letter calling for a temporary Interim Government to be established, with marchers wearing black to express their dissatisfaction with the current government. Their march will now take place on the same day the Tonga Parliament opens for its 2006 session.
Dr 'Aivi Puloka, the President of PSA , confirmed today May 24 that the reason for postponement of the national march is to give other supporting groups, such as the Tonga Human Rights and Democracy Movement, more time to rally supporters.
But during a press conference on May 23 when the PSA called for the national march to take place, 'Aivi said the main content of the letter is for a new Interim Government to be established. They also wanted an Advisory Committee to be formed including all members of the People's Representatives to Parliament, to overlook the new Interim Government while the process of submitting Constitutional amendments to Parliament takes its course.
According to 'Aivi they want a new Interim Government to take over Tonga and relieve the existing Cabinet of their duties while the process of possible amendments to the Tonga Constitution in Parliament takes place "for the sole purpose of having a Democratic Government where the people of Tonga elect a permanent cabinet."
'Aivi said they will give the Palace Office two weeks to reply, and if their letter is not acknowledged with a reply or Government does reply but with a unsatisfactory response then the public servants are willing to go on a national strike.
But she also added that there is a clause included in the letter that allows more time for Government to think over the matter if requested.
'Aivi also added during the conference that the decision for a national march to take place to present the letter to the Palace Office and for a strike action to go ahead if government does not accept what they ask for, was passed during a special meeting of PSA members that was attended by 585 public servants on May 19 at the Queen Salote Memorial Hall.
Before the postponement of the march today May 24, the PSA requested those who will be attending the march to wear black attires.
The march was initially set to begin from Nuku'alofa Primary school grounds to Pangai Lahi at 12:30pm on May 25, where they will present their letter addressed to the Prince Regent to the Palace office in Nuku'alofa.
The press conference was also attended by other supporting groups including some of the People's Representatives to Parliament such as 'Akilisi Pohiva, Clive Edwards, 'Isileli Pulu, 'Uliti Uata and Lepolo Taunisila, the Friendly Islands Teachers Association FITA represented by the President Finau Tutone, the Tonga Human Rights and Democracy Movement and the Tonga National Business Association.
These groups vouched their full support for the PSA and reconfirmed their dissatisfaction with the recent Ministerial appointments and reshuffle and their push for urgent political reform to take place in Government.