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Unconstitutional: ethnic policing of flea market?

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

The Tonga Broadcasting Commission’s news bulletin on 1 May 2018 featured a short segment on the CEO of the Ministry of Labour, Edgar Cocker. According to Mr Cocker they had enlisted the assistance of the Tonga Police in closing stalls at the flea market that were operated by Asian vendors because they breached the law regarding the location of businesses, and that “the flea market was set up only for Tongans.”

Surely, that action contravenes the Constitution of Tonga which states clearly that “the law shall be the same for all the people of this land.”

Mr Cocker identified his department’s main problem is the fact that "these Chinese, Indians, Bangladeshi and Bosnians", all have Tongan passports. But how can that be a problem when our laws are colour-blind and not ethnic-specific and are meant to be applied universally?

I invite Mr Cocker to look at his record on the subject of Asian businesses in the media in just this year alone. And remind him of Proverbs 27:20 “Human desire is like the world of the dead – there is always room for more.” 

- Kotoni Fonua, Kolofo’ou, Nuku’alofa, Tonga.


Malo Kotoni Fonua for your enlightened, humane & Christian interpretation of our Constitution. I recall reading recently that there are some anomalies in our Constitution that need to be addressed. His Majesty King Tupou VI recently urged our Parliamentarians & Ministers to read and get to know our constitution and the Laws of our beloved country. In fact all citizens need to know our constitution and the laws. Please Mr Editor, can one of your reporters request a comment and/or an interpretation from the appropriate Ministry/Department on Kotoni Fonua's opinion. It would be good to hear the opinion of other readers of Matangi Tonga.

Maybe the minister under fire was overzealous in the performance of his duty! or just being patriotic, and why no? isn't it! look after your own first. YES you may say that's being raciest 'cause everyone's equal under the law. True, flea market, properly he felt that it should be left for Tongan to get a chance to do some business among themselves. they have been under priced in retail shops, take away outlet, import and export market, everywhere one turns, one only see non Tongan getting rich on Tongan sweat. So who is the vampire here ???. WAKE UP go and set up a business in any of the aforementioned countries see if you won't get the same treatment.