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Royal Address at opening of Parliament highlights issues on Democracy, Economy, Education and Health

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 30/05/2019

Hundreds of school children lined the streets along Taufa’ahau Road from Parliament to the Royal Palace for the opening of the 2019 session of the Legislative Assembly this morning. The education of the children and the youth were one of the issues the His Majesty King Tupou VI highlighted in his royal address at the opening of Parliament.

His Majesty began his royal address with the customary acknowledgement of the Almighty God, praising Him for His guidance and blessing in gathering everyone at the Opening of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga for its 2019 session.

He then acknowledged the presence of the Speaker, Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Representatives of the Nobles and the People’s.

The issue his Majesty first highlighted was the success of the public consultation on the 6 bills proposed by government. He said democracy – initiates discussion with all sectors of society and also emphasizes the importance of the people’s vote. This is a critical aspect of democracy because without it, leaders may make their own individual decisions that can benefit only a few people.

His Majesty called attention to the lack of a clear vision for the country’s economic development, however, he says this depends on internationally recognized academic accreditation and qualifications standards for leaders in the workplace, not only in Tonga but overseas as well.

With that, His Majesty said the most pressing need to further develop the economy and labor in the country, is a technical institute that can deliver internationally accredited programs for the youths that have left school.

He referred to a similar program currently being conducted by the Friendly Island Shipping Agency’s and expressed his wish that this could result in foreign companies being able to employ those who successfully complete this program with internationally accredited certificates.

The King advised that the current education system for the youth should not continue but should be changed to include skills that can prepare the students for life, saying this would open up more employment opportunities and not limited to their current capabilities.

His Majesty also highlighted health as an integral part of that education to prepare the youth for life, saying eating wisely and exercising often was important to the children’s physical and mental health.

These are practices that need to be taught in time, while the children are still young, to ensure the youth in the future will lead fruitful lives benefitting not only themselves, but society as a whole.

His Majesty concluded by wishing the House a successful 2019 Parliamentary session with God’s continuous blessings for Tonga and her people.

Following the official opening the Speaker of Parliament announced the MPs to deliver the House’s reply to the Royal Address from the Throne are Lord Tu’ilakepa, Lord Tu’iha’angana, Hon. Penimani Fifita, Hon. Losaline Ma’asi, Veivosa Taka and Samiu Vaipulu.

Parliament will commence deliberations next week on the 5th of June.

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