PNG is still committed to Tonga: Tkatchenko

The Papua New Guinea Government will fulfil its commitment to support the Kingdom of Tonga host the 2019 Pacific Games.

That is the guarantee from Minister for Sports, National Events and APEC Justin Tkatchenko when speaking exclusively to Loop PNG on Wednesday.

He said the submission for financial funding and technical expertise to support Tonga will be handed to the Prime Minister and National Executive Council in the coming weeks.

Tkatchenko said he expects the announcement of the funding to be made in the next month. 

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill made the commitment to Tonga Prime Minister Akilishi Pohiva in January this year when he visited Port Moresby.   

Following the commitment, a high powered PNG delegation led by Tkatchenko made a fact finding trip to the Tonga capital in February to assess the games facilities.  

But CEO of the Games Organising Committee, Lord Sevele told Radio New Zealand last week Papua New Guinea has yet to follow through on a promise to help refurbish Teufaiva National Stadium.

"From what we have been told by Government officials they have not confirmed the funding, the amount, nor the timing of it.

"We have been told that they (PNG) would be forthcoming in assistance but we haven't seen anything as yet to confirm that.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister O’Neill told Loop PNG that the assessment of funding support to Tonga is still been worked on.

November is the Budget session of Parliament and a likely monetary support to Tonga will likely be captured in the Sports Ministry’s allocation.  

Caption: PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko with Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva during a visit to Nuku'alofa in February. Photo: Facebook / Justin Tkatchenko M

Charles Yapumi