GOVERNMENT reassures Parliament today the relocation of Pangai Si’i Cenotaph is required to accommodate the St George Palace construction.
The relocation of the top soldier statue to the Tongan flag post is only temporary to ensure safe and maintenance of the War Memorial monument.
The Hon. Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism Hon. 'Etuate Lavulavu was reacting to a public outcry message from ‘Eua Noble Representative Lord Nuku about the possible relocation.
A public outcry was also issued in the social media regarding the removal of its memorial plaques in preparation for St. George’s Palace construction.
On ANZAC day every year Tonga commemorates with New Zealand and Australia its fallen soldiers sent to the battle fields of Gallipoli, Turkey and also to France and Palestine during the First World War.
Tonga also commemorates fellow comrades sent to other conflicts and peace keeping missions with an ANZAC dawn service at the Cenotaph, Pangai Si’i.
Lord Nuku says the issue raised is calling for the preservation of the historical monument.
“The cenotaph is in memory of soldiers including Tongans who lost their lives fighting for peace and freedom in the world …if they weren’t fallen soldiers who fought in the 1940’s the world will be different these days,” said Lord Nuku.
Since the event is commemorated annually Lord Nuku claims the Government’s action as disrespectful to dying soldiers during World World 1 & II.
“Their souls should be remembered and respected,” explained Lord Nuku.
He also also queried why the need to restore the Prime Minister’s and the Treasury Buildings yet it’s easy to remove the Cenotaph.
“It’s a monument in memory of the fallen soldiers yet they contributed to world peace today,” claimed Lord Nuku.
Meanwhile Lavulavu says the war memorial cenotaph is not to be destroyed, it is a temporary relocation to accommodate the construction work at Pangai si’i.
He maintains its location will be used by heavy machinery like the crane for the construction.
Government iterated since the construction involves heavy structural engineering work at Pangai Si’i and will likely to damage the monument, there is need for the cenotaph relocation.
The Minister of Defense Lord Ma’afu it’s not important to argue about its relocation. He said what matters is for Tongans to remember in their hearts about the sacrifice made by these soldiers to bring world peace.
Lord Ma’afu said his Ministry is doing its best to ensure safe removal of the memorial’s plaques and the statue of soldier on top of cenotaph.
He maintains the cenotaph has been built a long time ago and it’s extremely heavy to remove.
Despite no heavy machinery available necessary to remove it, Ma’afu reassured Parliament the Ministry of Defence is doing its best to ensure safe removal to the Tongan flag pole.
Lord Ma’afu also reminded MPs of the freedom we have now enjoy is the means of sacrifice made by those fallen soldiers.