Contract to host Games was between government and Pacific Games council not TASANOC

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Lord Sevele ʻO Vailahi and Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva

Deputy Director of the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Sports Division ‘Onetoto ‘Anisi said the contract for Tonga to host the Games was signed between the Tongan government and the Pacific Games council not TASANOC.

The CEO of the 2019 Pacific Games Organising Committee Lord Sevele earlier said it was his TASANOC committee only that has the prerogative to cancel hosting the Games.

The Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva told Kaniva News on Monday Tonga will not host 2019 Pacific Games.

His Office has officially announced and confirmed it this afternoon in Nukuʻalofa.

Hon. Pohiva said he decided to pull out from hosting the Games because Tonga could not afford maintaining the sporting facilities after the Games.

Meanwhile the President of the Pacific Games Council, Vidya Lakhan reportedly said his council “will look to refute Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva’s claims that Tonga can’t afford to stage the event”.

He said Tonga’s bid was thoroughly scrutinised before hosting rights were awarded, and he’s disappointed by Mr Pohiva’s behaviour

The government of Papua New Guinea said it has pulled the plug on supporting Tonga in its preparation for the Games.

PNG Sports and APEC minister, Justin Tkatchenko said: “Our commitment and assessment that we did for Tonga to host the 2019 is now basically stalled and will remain that way.

“We did not pay anything but we did offer assistance through our own personal staff to go to Tonga to train their staff in that regard”.

The Prime Minister is currently out of the country in a meeting in Bangkok.

Editor’s note: We said earlier the Tongan government has the right to make a decision to withdraw from hosting the Pacific Games 2019 quoting the Deputy Director of the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Sports Division Onetoto ‘Anisi as saying. We have updated the story to reflect a correction to what ‘Onetoto has said. 

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