News briefs from the Kingdom of Tonga

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By Kalafi Moala

 

Tonga safe from Zazu and Yasa

20 December 2020 – Zazu was only a Category 1 Cyclone coming so close to Tonga, bringing rain and a moderate storm, but then passed on, early last week.

In the meantime Tropical Cyclone Yasa, named as the strongest cyclone on earth for 2020, struck Vanualevu and eastern Fiji with Category 5 wind force, causing severe destruction.

While Tonga was giving a sigh of relief at the passing of Zazu, Meteorological Services announced that Yasa was leaving Fiji and heading toward Tonga.

Tongans know a serious cyclone when they hear that Yasa, downgraded to Category 4 was heading toward Tonga. Locals were making preparations for the worse. It was getting toward the weekend, and Yasa was predicted to come close to the west/southwest of Tongatapu.
That was Friday, but then Yasa continued on a southwest path passed Tongatapu, going further south. Saturday brought some rain, and moderate stormy weather, as Yasa had decreased to a Category 1.
Another sigh of relief for Tongans, as they go to church on Sunday to start the celebrations of the Christmas week, feeling safe as two cyclones have gone passed Tonga within a week.

Body of Church Pastor found

The body of 49-yr-old Pastor of the Kotu Free Wesleyan Church in Ha’apai has been found after a concerted search. The cause of death was declared as drowning. He was swept to sea from his boat while he was fishing with one of his sons.

Rev. Silakivai ‘Ahoafi was from Ha’avakatolo. He was missing for a day before his body was found.

Tributes are still flowing in from friends and relatives describing him as a “good and personable man” who was passionate about his work as a Pastor.
He is survived by his wife Tupou and three sons.

Rev Silakivai and his three sons

(Photo: Pastor Silakivai ‘Ahoafi with his three sons)

Repeat drug offender jailed for two years nine months

A repeat drug offender has been given the full force of the law, as Justice Langi sentenced him last week to two years and nine months for possession of methamphetamine drugs. He is jailed at Hu’atolitoli Prison.

Vainikolo Selu, was sentenced by Justice Langi on December 14 to one year nine months for possession of methamphetamine after pleading guilty. He had breached his suspended sentence from another offense, and so the one year suspended imprisonment was activated.
It was in April this year that Police arrested Selu at Tokomololo for drug possession. He has a number of previous convictions for drug related offenses.

Selu was released from Prison in February, and in April he was caught doing drugs again.

Justice Langi is quoted to have said: “I take this to mean that for you, the benefits of committing drug-related offenses far outweigh the punishment. I have a duty to protect the community from repeat offenders like yourself who think you will do your time and come out and do the same thing again.” The judge then sentenced him to a total of two years and nine months imprisonment.

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