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Prime Minister says Tonga has no other options but to cancel the 2019 Pacific Games

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 17/05/2017


The Prime Minister – Hon ‘Akilisi Pohiva told Radio NZ International yesterday that Tonga has no other options but to cancel the 2019 Pacific Games.


He said the decision was based on a report dated back to 2013.


“The Former Minister of Finance Lisiate ‘Akolo strongly oppose the hosting of Sports based on the same reports, so when I receive the reports two weeks ago I copy and distribute it and I was convincing there is no other option but to cancel the sports. “


In an exclusive interview with the former Minister of Finance Dr. ‘Aisake Valu Eke he said this report is not new and they were aware of the same issue back in 2013.


Dr. Eke said When they became Government in 2015 the issue of Tonga’s financial capability to host the sports was on the agenda.


He added, this will have a great impact on the budget and the money promised by foreign donors.


This was the reason behind enacting laws to raise fund for the sports which included imposing of the levy on foreign exchanges.


He said, after all these years Government treats the report as something new after all it was an old issue that they were well aware of.


Meanwhile Hon Pohiva said Cabinet would decide what will happen with the money collected by Government and the legislation. He said, he intended to write a letter to the Pacific Games Council informing them of their decision.


According to the Acting Minister of Internal Affairs – Vuna Fa’otusia this letter was sent today and there was no mention of any contact or discussion with the two other official parties involved in the 2019 sports preparation.


The letter states Tonga in the past two years face challenges in getting the financial resources to fund the preparation for the Games. At the same time the Government is convinced of the benefits of hosting the Games not only in upgrading the level of high-sports performance and sporting infrastructural facilities in Tonga – but also desired benefits to the economy that the sports will bring.


After the decision for Tonga to withdraw was announced, Vidhya Lakhan said Tonga had had other options rather than canceling the sports.


Lakhan pointed out that It is already known there is a tripartite contract and if one partner wishes to pull out, for whatever reason, he thinks it is common courtesy that the other partners would be consulted, advised and they could look at ways and means of keeping the Games in Tonga if there was intention to move it out.


So they will wait until they hear anything then will do whatever they feel necessary to ensure that the games remain in Tonga.


© Radio and Television Tonga News