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 today. [restrict]
He said the Prime Minister was just made aware of a World Bank report last week which highlights the economic difficulties Tonga could 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 still continue renovating facilities and maintenance it has started to prepare its athletes for the Games including renovation of the Teufaiva national stadium, Tonga High School complex 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 for the construction of the facilities for their maintenance and repairs 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 from time to time 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.
SOURCEl KANIVA TONGA NEWS/PACNEWS [/restrict]