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Pacific Games council takes legal action against Tongan government

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 05/07/2017

 

The Pacific Games Council has begun legal proceedings against the Tonga government, following its decision to pull the plug on hosting the 2019 Games.

 

The Council has confirmed it would formally terminate the host agreement with Tonga for the 2019 Pacific Games, after the deadline passed for the government to recommit its support.

 

PGC President Vidhya Lakhan and CEO Andrew Minogue met with the Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva, and two of his ministers in early June, in a last ditch attempt to try and change their minds.

 

But the Prime Minister said the cabinet’s decision was final and the government wished to focus its resources on other more important areas of economic development.

 

Andrew Minogue told RNZI they have engaged a solicitor in Tonga and will now pursue damages through the court.

He said, that’s an important statement for them to make. They had a binding contract.

 

Mr. Minogue said the Tongan government unilaterally walked away from it without any consultation – that’s not behavior they think should be ignored or rewarded in any way so they will be seeking legal redress for that.

 

He said the legal action was a matter of principle.

 

He said they’re not a money-hungry organization, they’re a very lean outfit, they’ve never had a lot of resources and he didn’t think we’ll ever have a lot of resources in the future.

 

Mr. Minogue said it’s not about money, it’s about the principle of walking away from a contract and they all put five years, or almost five years, of work into planning for the Games in 2019 to be in Tonga and they were contractually bound with the Government and with TASNAOC to do that.

 

Andrew Minogue added the Council was now seeking expressions of interest from countries that want to host the Pacific Games in 2019, with a final decision expected by the end of August.

 

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