Two arrested in Tonga Police crackdown on illicit drugs

A 51-year-old man from Tokomololo was apprehended at the Bypass Road last Saturday, 11 July.

Police seized 25.9 grams of methamphetamine, $16,000.00 pa’anga in cash and drug utensils from the suspect’s vehicle.

The Police Drug Taskforce also arrested a 28-year-old woman from Mataika and seized one pack of methamphetamine (0.59 grams), $100 pa’anga cash and drug utensils from her vehicle.

Both accused have been charged accordingly with possession of illicit drugs and they are expected to appear at the Magistrate Court later this week.

58 Tongan nationals repatriated from Fiji under quarantine

A group of 58 passengers made the trip across on the government chartered Fiji Airways ATR aircraft, leaving Nausori just after 10am, arriving in Tonga around 1.15pm.

This followed Cabinet’s approval for the first repatriation flight to be brought in from Fiji.

A government sttament said all passengers went through the swab test for COVID-19 at the Tanoa Hotel quarantine facility before they were sent to their allocated rooms, where they will stay for the next 14 days.

58 Tongan nationals stranded in Fiji return home

The travellers were on the first repatriation flight, which landed at Fua’amotu International Airport Monday afternoon.

According to a statement from the Tonga Government, the passengers were tested for COVID-19 in Fiji on Friday last week and the results were all negative.

The Government of Tonga acknowledged the support of the Fijian Government in conducting the COVID-19 tests free of charge.

PM confirms Cabinet has no choice but to repatriate Tongans stranded overseas

He confirmed this in Parliament. 

PM Tu'i'onetoa said Cabinet has no choice but to bring back our people.

He said Tongans have been away too long from home.

“Tonga is where their hearts are, their home, and where their loved ones stay.” 

PM Tu'i'onetoa said the Cabinet's decision will have both positive and negative impacts on Tonga but this is the Government's choice. 

He said Tonga is likely to close its borders until 2021, while at the same time, repatriates its people back home. He also mentioned there are risks involved but this must be done.

Optimism on growth of Tonga’s horticultural exports

This is after the country’s leading horticultural exporting company, Nishi Trading, signed a partnership with the Australia and New Zealand supported Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Plus Programme on Tuesday, 30 June to increase exports of horticulture produce from Tonga.

Nishi Trading is collaborating with PHAMA Plus to trial ways to improve productivity and yield of various varieties of cucurbits including squash, butterkin, grey pumpkin and watermelons.

Tonga’s first repatriation flight rescheduled to Saturday

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office, the passengers are also required to be tested for COVID-19 before boarding the aircraft.

“The Public are hereby informed that the repatriation flight from Nadi, Fiji tomorrow Thursday, July 09 is deferred to Saturday, July 11 at a time to be confirmed.”

In a media conference which was stream lived through Facebook Wednesday afternoon the Ministry of Health CEO Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola said the policy has been changed after Fiji detected new active cases of COVID-19.

Tonga needs half-a-billion for climate adaption - IMF

An assessment was recently carried by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF said Tonga was one of the most exposed countries to natural disasters, which are forecast to get worse.

The report said damage caused by cyclones Gita and Harold had shown the vulnerability of the low-lying capital, much of which lies below sea level.

The IMF said Tonga's infrastructure and public services were not climate resilient, and most of its population lived in highly exposed areas.

Tonga would need US$671 million to finance its adaptation, it said.


Hand-carved traditional canoes displayed to honour King of Tonga’s birthday

The event was one of the activities organized to celebrate the King’s Birthday, officially marked on 4 July.

The King joined his sister Princess Pilolevu Tuita to view the canoes and met the 81-year-old canoe builder Tui’one Pulotu, at the pier.

Tui'one, a renowned Hawaiian-based Tongan canoe builder and woodcarver, is a Living Treasures of Hawaii award recipient, who is currently in Tonga.

He is unable to return to Hawaii due to the closure of borders under the State of Emergency implemented in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Sea cucumber diver dies, another remains missing in Tonga

Tonga Police said a rescue mission was underway to find the missing diver.

Police received report of the incident involving the two men from Pātangata at 11.30pm on Tuesday, a report on Tonga Police official Facebook page said.

Kaniva News reports Police have yet to release the detail of the incident.

It comes after the government announced last month it has lifted the ban on sea cucumber fishing, citing request from the fishing community to allow it to help alleviate the negative financial impacts of the Covid-19 crisis.

Japan to provide medical equipment to strengthen Tonga’s medical system and response to COVID-19

The assistance aims to strengthen both Tonga’s countermeasures against COVID-19, and basic medical system in order to tackle various diseases, including non-communicable diseases (NCD), through the provision of high quality medical equipment made in Japan.

Medical equipment such as Thermography will be provided by this assistance which will be deployed to the Vaiola Hospital and community health centres in the outer islands.