March 19, 2018

Tongan MP says state of emergency doesn't make sense

An MP in Tonga has joined the chorus of voices speaking out against a state of emergency and associated curfew in the capital of Nuku'alofa.

Last Monday the government extended the state of emergency that has been in force since Cyclone Gita hit the country five weeks ago.

Police also said they would continue to enforce a curfew around the Nuku'alofa CBD.

Local operators and the Chamber of Commerce have complained about the negative financial impact on businesses and their employees.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni agreed the extension was holding the recovery back for some.

He said the government had not given a satisfactory reason for the move.

“We got about 90 percent of the electricity up and running. Most of the debris has been collected and disposed of so it is hard to actually get a reason why we should be extending the state of emergency, because extending it actually gives them [the government] that special powers that I don't believe is needed right now, one month after the cyclone.”.