NUKU____ALOFA, (RNZI) – 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 confirmed yesterday 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 they government wished to focus its resources on other more important areas of economic development.
Andrew Minogue said they have engaged a solicitor in Tonga and will now pursue damages through the court.
“That____s an important statement for us to make. We had a contract, a binding contract,” he said.
“The government unilaterally walked away from it without any consulation – that____s not behaviour we think should be ignored or rewarded in any way so yeah we will be seeking legal redress for that.”
Minogue said the legal action was a matter of principle.
“We____re not a money-hungry organisation, we____re a very lean outfit, we____ve never had a lot of resources and I don____t think we____ll ever have a lot of resources in the future,” he said.
“It____s not about money, it____s about the principle of walking away from a contract and we all put five years, or almost five years, of work into planning for the Games in 2019 to be in Tonga and we were contractually bound with the Government and with TASNAOC to do that.
“I think it____s a very important statement of principle – you just can____t walk away from those agreements unilaterally.”
Minogue said the Council was now seeking expressions of interest from country____s that want to host the Pacific Games in 2019, with a final decision expected by the end of August.