17 Oct 2016

Sport: Tongan officials still waiting on PNG help for Teufaiva Stadium

1:12 pm on 17 October 2016

Organisers of the 2019 Pacific Games in Tonga says Papua New Guinea has yet to follow through on a promise to help refurbish Teufaiva National Stadium.

PNG agreed to help after a party led by Tongan Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva visited Port Moresby in January.

PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko then led a delegation to Nuku'alofa in Feburary to assess the local facilities.

PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko with Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva during a visit to Nuku'alofa in February.

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

But CEO of the Games Organising Committee, Lord Sevele, said eight months on work is yet to begin and uncertainty remains.

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

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

"Be that as it may, I think we as a nation - and we've been saying this to the Prime Minister - it is our responsibility to rebuild Teufaiva, the national stadium that we have.

"We had planned that. We've got some of the funds and...(Australia and) New Zealand had contributed some of the funds. We, Tonga, should pick up the balance and it's not that much - as a national stadium we should be prepared to put our hands in our pocket and fund it.

"We have the plan and if we were allowed to do that we were going to start the rebuild of Teufaiva in March of this year. (It was) all ready to go, the Minister of Finance informed us that the funds were there...and look it's not insurmountable.

"Our schedule was for Teufaiva to be ready by March of next year so that the proposed visit of the Wales rugby team would take place. Now it's not going to happen," said Lord Sevele.

"My advice is let the people who are conversing with these type of developers - people who have been doing this type of work for years - let them continue with that and let the politicians be politicians and their function, the government's function, is to provide the funding and allow us to move forward.

Lord Sevele, formerly Fred, (Feleti) Sevele.  Former PM of Tonga.

Lord Sevele. Photo: wikicommons