Prime Minister Doubts Tonga Can Host 2019 Pacific Games

Pohiva skeptical he can honor commitments made by previous government

By Pesi Fonua.

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Oct. 11, 2016) – Tonga's government has not found a piece of land to build an 18-holes golf course for the 2019 Pacific Games, the Prime Minister, Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva told parliament this morning, 11 October.

The Prime Minister told the House that it would take four years to get a new golf course ready, “I don’t think we can get this ready.”

The upgrading of the Teufaiva Stadium, and the construction of new sporting facilities at the Tonga High School compound, to be completed by May next year, 2017 “is not going to happen [by May],” he reckoned.

The PM said that the $1 million pa'anga [US$448,000] a year allocation for the Pacific Games Organising Committee would amount to $6 million [US$2.7 million] by 2019. “This is too much, and we can’t honour the desire of the previous government.”

He went on to say that annually, government has to pay $340,000 pa'anga [US$152,000] to the Pacific Games Council.

The Prime Minister went on and told the House of the sad situation that Tonga’s sports in general has got to.

He said that so far this year government has granted $21,000 [US$9,400] to the national Seven-a-side team, $80,000 [US$36,000] for the ‘Ikale Tahi and $25,000 [US$11,000] for the Mate Ma’a Tonga, but they did not perform well.

In addition, government had also contributed funds to boxing, and to the national netball team, but there was not one victory.

The Tonga Amateur Sports Association and National Olympic Committee TASANOC borrowed money from government to send athletes to the PNG Pacific Games, “and they still owe government that money.”

The PM was convinced that the Tonga Amateur Sports Association TASA should be restructured. He is convinced that Tonga has talent but lacks the structure to allow the talent to develop.

After today’s parliamentary session, Tonga’s hosting of the 2019 appears uncertain.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
Copyright © 2016 Matangi Tonga. All Rights Reserved

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