15 Feb 2006

Commonwealth's special envoy to Tonga says change should be careful

11:22 am on 15 February 2006

The Commonwealth Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Tonga says any changes in the kingdom need to be done carefully and calmly.

Sir Douglas Graham has been in Tonga recently to discuss assistance that the Commonwealth Secretariat might give as the kingdom looks at political reform.

His statement comes after the former prime minister, Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, resigned, and was replaced by commoner and former Peoples' Representative, Dr Fred Sevele.

Sir Douglas says he has met both men before and been impressed.

"I have high regard for both of them, they're obviously of different backgrounds and I look forward to working with Dr Sevele as Prime Minister in the future. There are things that are obviously changing within Tonga and it's important that we do this carefully and calmly and make sure that all the blocks are in place as we move forward."