4 Oct 2002

Tongan Speaker concerned at absences from Cabinet

4:32 pm on 4 October 2002

The Speaker of the House in Tonga has raised concerns about the number of absences from parliament.

The Honourable Tu'ivakano says as few as 3 of the 11 ministers have attended parliamentary sessions recently.

Tu'ivakano says issues cannot be discussed when so many ministers are not in parliament.

He says some ministers like Prime minister Prince Ulu'kalala Lavaka'ata have more than one portfolio which means they are always attending meetings or overseas conferences.

However Tu'ivakano says their absences can be avoided.

"They probably need to look at kind of meetings they go to....maybe the directors could have gone instead of them....I mean I am sure that a lot of the meetings they go to the directors could have gone to instead ."

Tu'ivakano says if the trend continues he may stop ministers going to such appointments if he does not see the need.