Governor’s letter demanding connection of water to convicted palagi raises residents’ ire

'Oku taupotu 'i lalo ha fakamatala faka-Tonga ki he ongoongo ko 'eni'

A letter demanding the Pangaimotu town water supply be connected to the home of convicted Australian businessman Ian Jones has upset Vava’u 14 residents.

Jones was convicted on June 20 of illegally dumping human waste  in the mangroves near Pangaimotu.

He was fined TP$1000 and swimming and fishing in the sea near the mangroves has been banned.

Vava’u governor Lord Fakatulolo sent a strongly worded letter, which has been seen by Kaniva News, demanding the Pangaimotu town officer connect water to Jones’ residence.

Lord Fakatulolo said a herd of cows in Pangaimotu had damaged Jone’s water tanks.

He said Jones should have shot the cows.

A senior government officer in Vava’u raised local people’s concerns about the tone of the letter in e-mails sent to government ministers including the Acting Attorney General and some government lawyers.

The officer said some residents felt the tone of the letter refueled their disappointment after Jones dumped human waste.

It is understood the letter was sent on June 1 after the Pangaimotu authority refused to connect water from the island’s main water supply for Mr Jones.

The letter showed Lord Fakatulolo understood the dumping had infuriated the Pangaimotu residents, including people living in Toula, ‘Utungake, ‘Utulei, Talihau and Neiafu, for whom the sea around the mangroves was their only source of livelihood.

The letter greeted the town officer Tinitale Piukala, by saying this letter was to allow Jones to connect his water (“ngofua ke taki e vai ‘a Mr Ian Jones”).

The governor also warned (“fakatokanga”) Piukala that it could paint a bad picture between Tonga and their overseas donors if they knew Jones has been refused water from the island’s water supply.

Lord Fakatulolo also warned the town officer that the matter had been in court and that they should leave it to the court to handle.

He informed Piukala that he had told Jones to buy the necessary equipment so that his water could be connected.

He also told Piukala to charge Jones for any costs incurred for the connection.

“I am asking you and the Pangaimotu Water Committee to connect the palagi man’s water as soon as possible,” Lord Fakatulolo wrote in Tongan.

“I am concerned about our relationship with foreign donors not be affected,” he said.

He said it could be bad for them if overseas donors became aware they were not giving the palagi man water.

For more information

Vava’u residents react with fury at fishing ban as accused free to leave Tonga

Vava’u residents react with fury at fishing ban as accused free to leave Tonga

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