PM’s announcement contradicts earlier confirmation
NUKU’ALOFA – May 15: 7.35pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva today dropped a bombshell when he announced through local radio station Broadcom/87.5FM that his Government was backing away from hosting the 2019 Pacific Games in Tonga.
Although no official statement has come out of the Prime Minister’s Office, the radio report claimed that a Cabinet meeting last Friday saw the Government team agreeing to the PM’s call.
The report also stated that a World Bank report paints a negative picture about Tonga’s economy and the costs of hosting such an event.
But Nuku’alofa Times can confirm today that no such report exists.
International Monetary Funds and National Reserve Bank of Fiji reports to-date confirms that the local economy is growing and that there is more than enough in foreign reserves to help the local economy.
Nuku’alofa Times also managed to get hold of a paper written in 2013 which highlighted some of the pros and cons of Tonga hosting the Games.
However, the paper did not state that Tonga can’t host the Games but that there is a need to ensure that outside funding was available for Tonga to be able to do that.
Funding arrangements made to-date confirms that Tonga would be able to secure at least 90% of the proposed budget for the Games.
The Pacific Games Organizing Committee was meeting with TASANOC Executives today to see what step is to be taken next.
FLASHBACK: October 2016
TONGAN GOVERNMENT SAYS GAMES WILL GO AHEAD
NUKU’ALOFA-October 24: 4.25pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva and his Government have now come full circle and re-affirmed it’s commitment to host the 2019 Pacific Games here in Nuku’alofa.
Following media statements and Parliament speeches attacking the wisdom of hosting the Pacific Games here and the status of sports in Tonga, the Office of PM Pohiva released a statement at the weekend stating that the Government has now re-affirmed it’s commitment for the Games.
The PMO statement said that PM Pohiva’S recent comments reflected the enormous challenges that the Government of Tonga is facing, in preparation for the Pacific Games 2019.
It also reflected the overall level of readiness of the Kingdom of Tonga as a whole, including the Sporting Federations and the Athletes, to host the Pacific Games 2019.
“The Government of Tonga would like to reaffirm its commitment to host the Pacific Games 2019,” the statement, released by Secretary to Cabinet Dr Palenitina Langa’oi, said.
“Accordingly, the Government of Tonga will continue to strengthen and double the effort that has already been in operation, within the resources available. This will provide an invaluable opportunity for the Kingdom of Tonga to upgrade its sporting facilities to international level to benefit the people of the Kingdom of Tonga.
“The Government of Tonga greatly appreciates the continuous support and assistance from the development partners towards the preparation for the Pacific Games 2019. It also looks forward to working closely with the people of the Kingdom of Tonga to make the Pacific Games 2019, a success.”
Despite PM Pohiva’s outbursts in the past two weeks both the Pacific Games Council and the 2019 Pacific Games Organizing Committee had maintained that the Games would be held here.
Papua New Guinea also confirmed at the weekend that they will be assisting Tonga in the repairs to Te’ufaiva Stadium and its facilities.
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