I write to respond to Sefita Haouli...’s response (...‘Referendum not a canoe counting exercise...’). I commend the man for being able to comprehend that my letter was about the use of referenda to determine the will of the Tongan voting public and not an exercise in seeing how many ...‘pro-democratic...’ platforms there are on the scene. I think most people who have the slightest interest would know how many there are.

I would point out to him however, that my very point was that the result of a referendum should be the guide as to what should be done in terms of political reform in Tonga. No doubt Mr Haouli has some intuition about the issues that provide him with the feeling that the result of a referendum would be ...‘unequivocal...’ because of the ...‘unity in the theme...’ of the advocates, but I would prefer for the ...‘numbers...’ do the talking and not people...’s perceptions or opinions. (Mr Haouli was completely accurate when interpreting the figures from the 2005 Election survey). He may also be right in his ...‘crystal-ball gazing...’ about the possible result of such referenda ...– a split in the vote for the democracy advocates, or he may be completely wrong. How frustrated these advocates would be if the status quo were to prevail - this could not possibly be what the majority of Tongan voters want. I hope for Mr Haouli's sake it is not.

One thing I do agree with him about is that the people of Tonga should be asked if they wish to continue living under the present system and be allowed to vote about it. This global or universal approach to determining the will of the people seems a lot more certain and less ...‘haphazard...’ than the current approach or approaches afoot.


James Tapueluelu