New cabinet ministers first meetings with their staff

Tonga’s new cabinet ministers greeted their senior officials and staff members at their respective ministerial portfolios when they first met them this morning.

Deputy Prime Minister Hon Sēmisi Sika, Minister of Health Hon Dr Saia Piukala and Ha’apai 12 MP Mo’ale Fīnau joined the new Minister of Labour and Commerce, Dr Tu’i Uata during his first meeting with his staff.

The meeting was described as “outstanding” and “remarkable”.

Labour and Commerce CEO Edgar Cocker has confirmed to Kaniva News he and his staff met their new minister Dr. Tu’i Uata this morning.

Cocker said: “The CEO and the staff of the Ministry of Commerce , Consumers, Trade, Innovation and Labour have warmly welcomed this morning , Monday 8th January 2018, the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Semisi Sika, the Hon. Minister of Health and Public Enterprises, Hon. Saia Piukala, the Hon. Governor of Ha’apai, Hon. Mo’ale Finau, and in particular, the Hon. Minister for the Ministry of Commerce, Consumer, Trade, Innovation, and Labour , Hon. Dr. Tu’i Uata.”

“The occasion was extremely overwhelming with positive views towards our responsive roles to the growth of the economy, and the consolidated attempts to gradually eradicate poverty, and grow the economy.”

The CEO said their priority was the concerns and needs of the people of Tonga to have a robust economy.

“The occasion was remarkable and absolutely outstanding,” Cocker said.

Two newly appointed ministers

The Deputy Prime Minister and his colleagues first attended new Internal Affairs minister Hon. ‘Akosita Lavulavu’s first meeting with her staff in her office.

It is understood other new cabinet ministers who previously held ministerial posts in the Pōhiva former government held meetings with their own staff while the Deputy Prime Minister took the opportunity to introduce the newly appointed Ministers Dr. Uata and Hon Lavulavu to their staff.

Senior official ‘Ofa Finau from Prime Minister’s office also attended the meetings.

A staff at the Ministry of Labour and Commerce, Fulila Tangata’iloa, shared  photos she took during the meeting in their office with Kaniva News.

Staff at Ministry of Labour and Commerce shake hands with Deputy Prime Minister Sēmisi Sika and his delegation as well as new Minister of Labour Dr. Tu’i Uata. Photo/Fulila Tangata’iloa

Some photos of the meeting at the Internal Affairs had been uploaded to Facebook.

As we reported earlier this morning, King Tupou VI has appointed the new government of Tonga with effect from Friday, 5 January, 2018.

Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Sēmisi Sika and his delegation, Minister of Labour and Commerce Dr. Tu’i Uata and CEO Edgar Cocker (Standing) during the meeting. Photo/Fulila Tangata’ilo

The letters of appointment were delivered by the palace office to the Prime Minister and all his proposed new cabinet ministers over the weekend, a reliable source said.

The appointment was made after Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva submitted his cabinet lineup to the king on Thursday.

Ministry of Internal Affairs Deputy CEO Ms. ‘Evaipomana Tu’uholoaki (L), Prime Minister Office Senior Official ‘Ofa Finau (R), Hon. Akosita Lavulavu, Deputy PM Sēmisi Sika and Hon. Tu’i Uata. Photo/Emeline Tongotea (Facebook)

It is understood the king was expected to have an audience with the Prime Minister sometime soon.

The Prime Minister’s office was expected to officially announce the new cabinet positions this week.

Hon. Pōhiva, 76, became Tonga’s new prime minister on Tuesday 2, accepting reaffirmation to govern from the king after His Majesty dissolved Parliament in August 2017.

Hon. Pōhiva, who won a landslide 14 of the 17 people’s parliamentary seats in a snap election in November following the dissolution, has promised to lead a “king, nobility and people’s government” dedicated to social justice over the next four years.

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