Tkatchenko: National Government did not release funding

Sports Minister, Justin Tkatchenko says the National Government did make a commitment to help Tonga host the 2019 Pacific Games but did not release any funding.

Tkatchenko made this statement today after it was reported in the media that Tonga is currently processing its withdrawal documents to be submitted to the 2019 Pacific Games Council.

 “Our commitment and assessment that we did for Tonga to host the Pacific Games has basically stalled and will not continue. We had not paid them any funding whatsoever.

“We had offered them assistance through our own personal staff to go to Tonga and train their staff in that regard.

“But when it came to financial assistance, nothing had been delivered. We had delayed it due to the fact that questions were being raised by the government of Tonga whether they could host the games or not,”

“We did an assessment through the PNG Sports Foundation, the technical team, the engineers and the cost planners and all the rest who went for the second trip to Tonga last year and did a final report that I submitted to the National Executive Council.

“That report was accepted by the NEC in principle, but no commitment was made. It was more of an information paper. In that information paper, the cost to upgrade their national stadiums and high performance center was K45 million. We as a government said we did not have that sort of resources to help in that regard and they totally understood,” said Tkatchenko.

He added it is now in the hands of the Pacific Games Council to sit and decide on the next course of action.

“When I was in Tonga, the Prime Minister made it very clear that when he took over as the Prime Minister, he inherited the Pacific Games and saw it more as a burden than anything else because of their financial situation.

“So their announcement yesterday of starting the process to pull out of hosting the Pacific Games was predictable and I’m not surprised about at all,” said Tkatchenko.

He finished by saying PNG will not be committing to anything.

“We are not going to bid for it, we’re not interested. We’ll let the Pacific Games Council have their meeting and go from there,” said Tkatchenko.

Troy Taule