19 Oct 2007

Union leader in Tonga says lack of transparency shows need for reform next year

4:34 pm on 19 October 2007

A trade unionist in Tonga says the country has to embrace democracy as soon as next year because too many critical issues are decided out of public view.

The president of the Friendly Islands Teachers Association, Finau Tutone, is one of about 100 pro-democracy activists taking part in a fourth consecutive day of protests on the outskirts of Nuku'alofa.

The group is pushing for political reform to be brought in by next year, not in 2010 as the Government has decided.

Mr Tutone says there is no transparency surrounding a huge loan from China, which he says will go to business people.

"Not only that but there are lots, lots and lots of discrepancies in the running of the government. All the problems here are because of the system. There is no accountability to the people. The sooner we have that we'll move on smoothly."

Finau Tutone