Wed, 26 July 2017
Last Updated: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 2pm
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Tonga withdraws from hosting Pacific Games 2019 citing World Bank advice

The Tongan government said it has cancelled its obligations of hosting the 2019 Pacific Games, a Cabinet spokesperson has confirmed to Kaniva News yesterday morning.

He said the Prime Minister was just made aware of a World Bank report last week which highlights the economic difficulties Tonga would face if it continues to host the Games.

The Prime Minister has taken the advice and decided to pull out and save the country from making a costly mistake, the spokesperson said.

But Tonga would continue renovating facilities and maintenance it has started to prepare the athletes for the Games including the renovation of the Teufaiva national stadium, Tonga High School and Atele Indoor Stadium as well as the golf course.

The spokesperson said the Cabinet considered the fact that Tonga has to follow the requirements for the upkeep of the sporting facilities after the Games.

It is required the government must have an annual budget of 12 percent of the total cost of the expenses used to fund the construction for the upkeep every year after 2019.

We cannot afford that large amount of money and we do not have the number of people and sport events to use these facilities in a bid to generate funds for the upkeep, the spokesperson said.

Last year the Prime Minister, Akilisi Pohiva sent a letter to the Pacific Games Council president Vidya Lakhan saying Tonga was prepared to withdraw all funding and support for the games if an impasse involving him and the Games organising committee CEO Lord Sevele isn’t resolved.

Source: Kaniva News

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