Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Commission of Inquiry *cough* cover up

So Tonga's Minister of Transport, Paul Karalus, has fallen on his sword as a result of last week's ferry disaster in which two people are confirmed dead and ninety-three are missing.
By all accounts, the Princess Ashkia was a leaky old shitbox and shouldn't have been allowed to sail in a bath, let alone an open sea that was prone to stinky big swells. It had been certified to sail by the Tongan Government, which owned it but, but apparently was only allowed to sail in Tongan, Samoan and Fijian waters as it did not meet international standards (because it was a leaky old shitbox).

Prince Tupoutoa Lavaka, the Crown Prince of Tonga, was obviously pretty cut up by the disaster as he offered his condolences to the victims - and promptly hopped on a plane and headed off for a wee frolic to Europe.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry has launched to get to the bottom of the matter.

But call me a cynical, annoying kid with absolutely no generosity of spirit but here's the thing.

Some years ago I went to Tonga and Samoa on a filming trip. In Samoa, they couldn't do enough for us: we were totally looked after by the Visitors' Bureau, had great accommodation, got a vehicle, tour guide and driver and didn't have to pay a cent for any of it.

In Tonga, before we shot a frame we had to stump up with a one thousand dollar bond - that would only be reimbursed if they approved of the finished product. Even then, I still had to throw a wee tanty in the bond-issuing office when we'd just arrived in Nuku'alofa when they tried to tell me, that actually, they really didn't want to issue me my permit after all. ( We're not in Myanmar now, Mr Inowannaissueyouapermitiolofa.)

So you understand my cynicism. Ten bucks says that their Commission of Inquiry will reveal one thing - and that's going to be the story they would like us to hear about why the ferry sunk and ended ninety-five peoples' lives.


Meadow said...

It's terribly sad. And I don't think you're cynical.

laughykate said...

Oh it's just too hideous. And when you consider the population of Tonga is only about 120,000 - there would hardly be a soul whose lives haven't been affected/ripped apart by this.

Fat Sparrow said...

This is a really sad story, but being a complete cunt, and an American besides (or is that one and the same?), my first thought upon reading "the Princess Ashkia was a leaky old shitbox" was to think "Wouldn't it have been a lot funnier if the ferry had been named the Queen Elizabeth II?"

Yes, I am going directly to hell, and will not pass Go, and will not collect $200.

Margaret Mead was quite fond of the Samoans, and had nothing but good to say about them in her autobiography.

laughykate said...

Yup, you are going straight to hell, Fat Sparrow.

I think you'll find I am the maitre d'.

Fat Sparrow said...

Oh, well, then, what would you recommend as a starter?

laughykate said...

I hear the dolphin is good.

Fat Sparrow said...

I totally did a spit take on that one; you owe me a new monitor!

laughykate said...

Heh! Sorry about that. You can have a 40" one in hell.

Holemaster said...

Corruption tends to be even worse in smaller countries due to the fact that everyone knows everyone else. It's also a lot to do with former imperialism where people had to have a trick up their sleeves to get on in life or else they collaborated with the rulers.

You'd never know I was Irish would you?

laughykate said...

Well said, Holemaster. Especially the part about the small country.

I reckon knowing everyone would really suck.