GOVERNMENT OF TONGA

MEDIA RELEASE

(15 March, 2016)

“The Hon. Prime Minister, Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva clarifies the work on the development of the Va’epopua National Park”

The Hon. Prime Minister wishes to address and outline the work that has been completed and the plan for the development of the National Park at Va’epopua.

  1. The Government is still on course with its aim on developing the location which was once a site for waste disposal at Va’epopua into a park.  The park will be recognized as the Va’epopua National Park and is expected to become a place for the public to enjoy and rest and also enhance the splendor of Tonga’s waterfront.
  2. After a thorough survey of the environment surrounding the location for the National Park, the Ministry of Infrastructure, assisted by some Government Ministries and Public Enterprises worked together in implementing the first steps towards developing the National Park which included clearing, filling and leveling of ground surface.
  3. There were no direct allocation for the development of the park in the current budget estimate of the Government.  The work that has been carried out on this development was approved by the Cabinet that Government Ministries and Government businesses would share the costs.  A construction plan and estimate has been completed for the park.  This construction plan and estimate have been submitted with request for financial assistance to aid donors and private businesses.  The Government has received pledges of support.  The Government will also consider in the preparation of the budget estimate for 2016/2017 to set aside some funds for this project.
  4. The Ministry of Finance and National Planning have established an appropriate vote for all funds donated for this project.  The Hon. Prime Minister has donated $10,000 to start the fund.  It is anticipated that the pledges of donation will now be deposited to this vote as they were only waiting for the vote to be in place.
  5. From December 2015 to January 2016 the Hon. Prime Minister’s daughter who lived overseas visited Tonga with her family.  Because the Hon Prime Minister’s son in-law had experience regarding construction of parks, he volunteered to help out with some of the development of the park.  He was only volunteering his efforts, for he wanted to support the Hon Prime Minister’s projects and to assist his homeland of Tonga.  He was not paid any money and he has not asked for any payments.  The Hon. Prime Minister wishes to encourage Tongans living abroad to help out with relevant projects in Tonga, and they brought with them appropriate skills and knowledge.  The allegations that this person will also carry out the development of Teufaiva Park is completely false, as the Government of Papua New Guinea will be leading this construction and they are due process to follow and he is not involved in any way.
  6. The Government would like to appeal to the people of Tonga and all stakeholders that we should all work together and support initiatives that would improve and keep our environment clean and beautiful.
  7. The work to complete the development of the Va’epopua National Park  will be completed once sufficient funds, equipment and workers are identified and to be led by the Ministry of Infrastructure.  If the Government cannot afford to allocate funds for this project due to other commitments, the Hon Prime Minister believes that the project will receive adequate financial support to be accomplished as this is a project for the country as a whole.

-ENDS-

Issued by the: The Prime Minister’s Office, P.O. Box 62, Nuku’alofa, Tonga. Tel: (676) 24 644     Fax:  (676) 23 888; For media enquiries- Email: pressoffice@pmo.gov.to Website: www.pmo.gov.to

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