6 February 2024
1. That on 2nd of February 2024, the Chief Secretary and Secretary for Cabinet received a letter from Lord Privy Seal conveying a decision from His Majesty in Council revoking his appointment of Hon. Hu’akavameiliku as the Minister for His Majesty’s Armed Forces; and Hon. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and as the Minister for Tourism.
2. The Cabinet sought advice from the Attorney General, as to the legal status of the decision. Cabinet was advised that the decision was contrary to clause 51(3)(a) of the Constitution of Tonga. Moreover, the current legal advice was consistent with all past advices on the same issue, sent from the Attorney General’s Office to the Palace Office.
3. Yesterday, Cabinet, collectively, agreed to send a letter addressing the letter received and the legal advice to the Private Secretary of His Majesty. Consequentially, the Prime Minister who is currently overseas has reiterated his confidence in the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Hon. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu.
4. I, as the Acting Prime Minister, will continue to work together with Minister of Foreign Affairs to welcome and host bilateral meetings with New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Winston Peters and Hon. Dr. Shane Reti, Minister of Health and Pacific People, New Zealand, who are arriving in the Kingdom tonight.
5. THAT if you have any further questions about the Privy Council decision, contact the Palace Office and if you have any further questions regarding Government work, contact the Chief Secretary and Secretary to Cabinet.