Pohiva tenders resignation from Cabinet

A WEEK and a day into the job, Health Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva has tendered his resignation from Cabinet.

People's Representative and newly appointed Minister of Health 'Akilisi Pohiva and Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano greet each other at the opening of Parliament.

Copies of the resignation letter were circulated amongst members of Parliament this morning.

There is no official response on the issue from the Prime Minister who appointed him.

“We can only confirm things tomorrow [Friday 14th January]. There was a document distributed today but I have not had the chance to see it or confirm what it’s about,” Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano told media immediately after the opening ceremony today.

Pohiva also declined to make an official statement until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, TMN has received a copy of the resignation letter signed by ‘Akilisi Pohiva.

The letter opposed two main issues: firstly, the appointment of two Cabinet ministers from outside the legislature, “even though there are Representatives qualified enough for those positions”. According to the document, Pohiva recommended that these two ministers resign, “as difficult as it may be”, but this proposal was rejected.

The second point of discontent was the alleged “agreement” (aleapau) that Cabinet ministers had to sign before being sworn in. The letter claimed Pohiva was given until 9 a.m. today to respond, before Parliament’s opening ceremony, which he refused to do.

“Because of those two reasons, I wish to submit my resignation… I ask that you relay my resignation to His Majesty,” the letter stated.

Cabinet ministers, People’s Representatives and Nobles’ Representatives were scheduled to take their oaths of office today. Oath statements were distributed to MPs at the opening ceremony. But the last minute, the swearing-in was delayed until tomorrow, Friday 14th January.