Defiance – Minister says his statement stands
NUKU’ALOFA-March 28, 2018: 3.30pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Education and Training Minister Penisimani Fifita has publicly defied Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva and says his statement that girls attending Tonga High School are still banned from playing rugby and boxing.
This is despite the statement by Prime Minister Pohiva that his Minister’s statement last week was not Government policy.
Hon Fifita wrote to the management of Tonga High and expressed his stance.
He said girls taking part in these sports were against customs and tradition.
But PM Pohiva said his government did not place a ban on any sport and that decisions to play were left to the students and their parents.
A public outcry that also attracted international attention could have led to the PM’s statement.
However, Hon Fifita today told Radio New Zealand International that he stands by his comments.
He said those who were against his stance were talking from different cultures.
“So you are talking from a different culture to a different culture,” he said.
“Here is what we have looked at. Only the girls at Tonga High School are not permitted to play rugby and also to engage in boxing.”
“You know that there are some female parts – I think I don’t have to go on.”
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