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Kingdom of Greed



Tonga's turmoil with the economy and politics in the last decade has been decaying away and will continue to decay. During the strikes, I wrote a letter to MatangiTonga and stating that the future of Tonga is gloomy. This forecast is an understatement and has not been witnessed yet, even after the burning of the central business area.

The issue of the strikes and burning of the local business area in Nuku'alofa has not been resolved but quickly swept under the carpet. For any political analyst who would know that the burning of Nuku'alofa is only the tip of the iceberg. The Government's handling of post 16/11 will have major repercussions to the morale and loyalty to local Tongans living in Tonga and abroad. With new reforms occurring with the Tax System shows holes in some of the policies that was thought will be a silver bullet to revitalize Tonga's economy. In light of the salary increase and destruction of the local business area the Government's new Tax reforms have gone without a glitch. The question is, is this new tax system fair? will it hamper small businesses? will it improve the political front? will local Tongans afford the huge Tax? Does it really promote foreign investment?

Time and time again, I do not believe Tonga will not be ready for this New Tax System. It looks good on paper but comparisons with other countries it is a joke because the Tax collected from these Tax reforms are not going to the services for the Tax payers or local Tongans? Moreover, the people have no say to where these monies are to be allocated. There are 9 people's representatives to 33 nobles, ministers and the crown to vote for the future of Tonga. Every time the people's voice for 100,000 is outnumbered. So, the cycle of mistakes and error of judgments and consequences in Tonga occurs more frequent. Coming to the point of accountability? Bad choices and mistakes without any penalties? And these bad choices or judgments will be implemented for the life of one Ruler of Tonga per generation. The comparison of Tonga and USA's political unfavourability maybe similar but at least the USA can get rid of an establishment when not performing for the nation as a whole, for Tonga it is for life, take it or leave the country.

The role of the Government is to provide public services regardless of profit but to provide essential services to the Tax payers or the subjects of the Kingdom, it is their duty as a government.

What about a small business, trying to make a living in Tonga? Small businesses will suffer, they can not apply for the Consumption Tax (annual gross income (TOP$100,000) on their services or goods they are trying to sell? On top of that, 25% slap for any profit to run a small business? The Tax is combined and as a small entrepreneurs, why start or Invest in Tonga? The Tax system will be a very small dent on Large companies but it will kill small businesses. With no Tax incentives or Tax subsidy or Tax claims, it seems less likely for a Tongan in Ha'apai who is selling fish or crops at the local market would like to hand in a Tax return for each financial year.

With that sort of scenario, who loses out? The Tongan community will lose out, not all small businesses are multimega companies like Shoreline, Fletcher & Royco, ACE Lionvest, Fung Shing and the list goes on. But the average Tongan fisherman in the islands, Farmer in Talamahu market, the Basket weaver, the coconut and peanut sellers and the list goes go...they are the ones that suffer.

Tongan land is priceless and was fought by Taufa'ahau for a reason of freedom of slavery from the oppression of the land holder from the last Tu'i Tonga Laufilitonga and his henchmen.

Taufa'ahau stood for freedom from the oppression of unjust nobles and kingship of the time. Today Tonga is still fighting this oppression of unfairness and unjust of our leaders. I love Tonga and acknowledge His Majesty as King of Tonga, but hope he will be a good, fair and just King to look up to.

Tongans abroad from the baby boomers and generation X has noticed that Tonga has changed since their time. With the increase of deportees, pirated videos with no censorships, materialisms, no curfews for the youth, more bars and night clubs with no age drinking restrictions. The youth of Tonga is exponentially losing their respect to elders or some sort of authorities. Tonga of the old is gone, it is consumed by greed for money. Capitalism and globalism has consumed this once Friendly Island nation to become money hungry, to gain the world but lose its soul. Tonga is no more unique in the Pacific but has followed the trend of the almighty dollar.

Your regards,

William Mariner

ionaxe [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk