Lord Tuʻilakepa. Photo/Fale Alea 'o Tonga (Facebook)

Acting Speaker Lord Tu’ilakepa has apologised in Parliament after a comment he made sparked outrage on social media.

As Kaniva Tonga news reported earlier this week, the Acting Speaker made the remarks during a fierce debate in Parliament over six Bills which the government said needed to be discussed urgently.

Lord Tu’ilakepa said he went to Liahona High school and praised the level of English there. However, he then said that in Toloa –  another name for Tupou College – the standard was  “faka’ofa” (poor).

In Tongan he said: “‘Oku ke mea’i e ako ko eni ‘a Liahona, na’a ku ako aí, ko e fu’u ako lea fakapālangi ia.   Ko e Minisitā Laó pē na’e ako ‘i Toloa, ko e faka’ofa atu e lea fakapālangí ia ai.”

The king’s Noble has now said he was making a joke with the Minister of Law, who had studied at Tupou College.

He said the Prime Minister was also an ex-student at Tupou College, as was the Minister of Finance, and MP for ‘Eua 11.

The Acting Speaker said these were “great men” and said he apologised to the Prime Minister.

 “I would like to publicly declare my apology to the ex-students of Tupou College after I was accused of putting the college down,” Lord Tu’ilakepa said.

The Prime Minister accepted Lord Tu’ilakepa’s apology and said there were times when people made mistakes.

The main points

  • Acting Speaker Lord Tu’ilakepa has apologised in Parliament after a comment he made sparked outrage on social media.
  • As Kaniva Tonga news reported earlier this week, the Acting Speaker made the remarks during a fierce debate in Parliament over six Bills which the government said needed to be discussed urgently.

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