16 May 2017

MP calls for more info over Tongan Games withdrawal

7:06 am on 16 May 2017

Tonga's former Minister of Finance 'Aisake Eke says the government needs to provide more information about why they are withdrawing from hosting the 2019 Pacific Games.

Team Tonga at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.

Team Tonga at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby. Photo: RNZI / Vinnie Wylie

Cabinet has decided to withdraw from hosting after an analysis of the impact the event would have on the economy.

Tonga was awarded the games in 2012.

But Dr Eke, who was sacked as minister in March after abstaining in a vote of no-confidence in the prime minister, said the games could have been held.

He said with the assistance of donors such as China, Papua New Guinea and Australia, the games would not have been too much of a burden.

Dr Eke said now the government needed to explain what would happen to the assistance committed towards the games.

"Whether they will pull back as a result of cancellations. Locally we have raised funds through legislation exchange levy and also foreign exchange levy and also legislation for incentive for support from the business community," he said.

"There were a few legislations and I think that the government have to come up clear what are the implications of that," said Dr Eke.

Personality clash may have led to Games withdrawal

'Aisake Eke said the withdrawal might also be down to a personality clash.

There has been an ongoing feud between prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva and organising committee chair Lord Sevele which culminated in the latter being reinstated by the courts after Mr Pohiva removed him.

Dr Eke said this may have led to the government move.

"It went to the extent of taking it to court and the court has come to a decision.

"That's another element and I guess that element might have been the basis of the decision and they probably used finanical situations for being a scapegoat," he said.

2015 Tonga finance minister 'Aisake Eke

Dr 'Aisake Eke Photo: UN/YoutubeChannel

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