Address by the Prime Minister of Tonga: The Hon. Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva, at the Public Service Thanksgiving Prayer Service for 2016

May I use the complete acknowledgement of all your distinguished presence, at the beginning of this Thanksgiving Prayer Service to greet you all. We thank the Almighty God wholeheartedly for his safekeeping and answering prayers that we are all well at the beginning of this new working year.

We are profoundly appreciative of the gracious legacy bestowed by our Monarch, upon this Government and the people of Tonga, together with the trust and choice of the people of the nation.

We wish to thank the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister and the Honourable Cabinet Ministers, the Hon. Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly, the Chief Justice, Chief Secretary and Secretary to Cabinet, Lord Chamberlain, Royal Chaplain, Chairpersons and Members of the Public Service Commission, Board of Directors of Public Enterprises, Brigadier of His Majesty’s Armed Forces, Police Commissioner, Commissioner for Public Relations, all Chief Executive Officers and all Public Servants throughout Tonga and abroad, the Public Service Association, the Friendly Island Teachers Association and all Stakeholders, for the immense responsibilities successfully completed in 2015, and the spirit of unity with which they were implemented.

Nevertheless, at this opportunity I wish to introduce the following theme FOR TONGA.

“ INTEGRATED GOVERNANCE. ” The government dubbed as, the inaugural government elected by the people, has completed its first year of service. The all – inclusive services we rendered, can be monitored and evaluated, by the people of the nation, His Majesty and the Lords of the Realm. The outcome of that evaluation, is an individualistic measure of our respective performances. Good governance, was the strategic outcome or steering compass to achieve the vision in the year of our maiden voyage. We will continue with the same performance measure this year and in the future. It is inescapable that we learn from the shortfalls in the foundational year.

The question is, how can we accomplish our vision, following the aftershock of the stormy seas through which we sailed over the past year? It is also fundamental to have in place, the strategies to combat corruption, in a governance structure, due to egotism, in order to persevere for the common good.

Secondly, after our original parents breached God’s commandment at the Garden of Eden, And unto Adam he commanded, In the sweat of thy face, shall thou eat bread … ” It has been proved individually, in family, nationally, and internationally, that this is the most effective and sustainable economic policy, which is not taught at any university.

I am determined to share with you my vision for the future. Therefore, only those who will sweat and diligently utilize their talents, will be endowed with the blessings of God. A Government whose leaders work diligently together with the people, as we have heard, will be the culmination of a successful, dynamic, powerful, and peaceful nation.

We, the public servants, are obliged to become faithful, honest, steadfast, and humble servants. To the Ministers, let us become leaders with loyalty, honesty, chastity, and integrity. Without diligence we may be colonized whilst residing in the country which has hitherto become the heritage of our ancestors. This has been experienced by our neighboring countries and we have witnessed how they are not the masters of the heritage of their motherland.

“ A victory is not alone but a collective conquest. ” We need each other for the betterment of us ALL.

It is astonishing to realize the simple fact that not only do we need God first of all but we also then need each other. Life is meaning less without offering to serve each other, build up each other, and eventually our nation, on strong lasting foundations. All humans should be obligated in this business to justify their divine existence.

Whilst Tonga is at its transition politically, the approach should be an integrated and synchronized effort toward our social and economic development.

Our economic development should be measurable and need urgent attention. But behind specific quantitative economic parameters, are subjective and hidden values, attitudes and pillars that need to be accentuated and buttressed by our government, churches, our upbringing and experiences.

Christianity, and religions in general, has, by far, been the most influential factor that continuously shaped human lives and our developments over the years. This has happened not only in Tonga but the whole wide world as evident in unfolding the pages of history. Our values and attitudes are shaped in fundamental institutions such as our government, churches, families and the academic world.

Culture, traditions and our way of life is another major influence in our attitudes. Through living together and sharing our experiences, even intermarriage of cultures have been proved to be synergizing. A ‘one plus one equals three’ scenario. We gain more through working together than our individual efforts added together.

What clearly stands out on the theme of ‘Integrated Governance for Tonga’ is the very essence of our solution. That is a need for continuous communication among all sectors and institutions in our beloved Kingdom of Tonga. Let us bring out all our best through superb constant sharing and communicating for the benefit of our children and our children’s children.

It is time to move on from our current situations towards a better Tonga in every aspect. It should be our collective choice to do so. Let’s take pride in our legacy and solve our problems instead of moaning, complaining, blaming and making excuses. Let’s all own up to everyone else’s problems and find solutions. Let’s all see our superordinate divine calls and goals and take the necessary steps forward to better our nation. We must leave where we are, to receive the better Tonga that lies ahead of us.

We must acknowledge our problems and own up to them in order to take responsibility for them. We must pay the prices to get where we want. Failing to acknowledge the truths left us with nothing but lies. We must then be committed to work towards resolving them beyond expectation and never settle for less. And in the process, we must admit we are wrong when we are. We must take great strength in learning to forgive not only for ourselves but for our overall benefits as well. For without forgiveness, we could only burn our bridges to working together. We must control each and every statement we say to be within the scope of selfless unmalicious plans. We must be humble and confident and not prideful and arrogant.

Let’s all have the virtues of success as stated by Benjamin Franklin: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and humility. Let’s discipline ourselves in our attitudes from which our conducts stem, in order to achieve our goals. Let’s count on the problems we solve, and not those we created.

On the two key decision making bodies in Tonga, that is, the Privy Council and the Cabinet, it is important that they make sound and just decisions to ensure that the people of Tonga would benefit.

Let’s have faith in God for a better Tonga. Let’s be diligent in our efforts. Let’s all be confident in our ability to excel. Let’s be wise in all our plans and activities. Let’s have patience in the process of pursuing our developments. Let’s have integrity in everything we do, including our politics and economic developments.

And, above all, In God we Trust.

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