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Decision to pull out of Pacific Games “very difficult” says Tonga PM’s office

The Prime Minister’s office says he has considered all possible options before deciding to withdraw from hosting the 2019 Pacific Games.

A statement from the office described the decision as “very difficult.”

“Tonga will be no lesser as a nation for not hosting.

“We need to understand that a mirror was held to the sporting face of our nation and it was not a good reflection and has not been for a very long time.

“The lesson here is to own that fact and those of us who have held the wheel will need to be honest with ourselves.”

The Prime Minister’s office reiterated that the decision to withdraw was based on World Bank report which said Tonga could not afford to hold the Games.

As Kaniva News reported earlier this week, the report was completed in 2013, before the current government took power or instituted a series of fiscal measures that have given it a more promising financial standing.

The Prime Minister’s office said the report was not an official report for publication, but was intended only for the attention of the requesting Government.

Tonga was awarded the right to host the games in 2012, but after five years no major investment had been raised outside of Government.

Financing the Games could drain TP$100 million from the government budget, with major affects on services, salaries and employment with little long term gain.

“It is only conceivable to host the games if the Government can be guaranteed that all of the funding can be found from sources outside of the domestic budget, and that most of it will be from new aid sources,” the report said.

“There is no identifiable way to fund the games from domestic revenue or known aid without a totally unacceptable cuts in the extent and quality of government service delivery.”

Source: Kaniva News
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