Shirley Waldemar Baker/en

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Baker was a controversial figure. Although he was genuine in his efforts to better Tonga, he was not free of megalomania. But whatever his personal shortcomings, without him as prime minister in the first years of the new nation, Tonga would have collapsed and become a colony without doubt. He took over from Tēvita ʻUnga, who had no idea what premiership was about and had left a mess behind. Baker reorganised, enforced taxation, made regulations, and many more. Shortly as administrator he was perfect and loyal to the state. But missionaries, traders and Tongan chiefs, who saw their real or imagined privileges sacrified to the state, they became his bitter enemy. After 10 years they were able to seize on an error the overstressed Baker made and had him deported from Tonga. Siaosi U. Tukuʻaho became his successor. And a few months later the nation was in absolute mess again.

  • I.C. Campbell; Island kingdom; Canterbury press, 2001

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