Tonga waits on PNG


Organisers of the 2019 Pacific Games in Tonga say 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 the Tongan capital in Feburary to assess the local facilities.
But the Games Organising Committee chief executive officer Lord Sevele said eight months on, work was yet to begin and uncertainty remained.
“From what we have been told by government officials, they have not confirmed the funding, the amount, nor the timing of it,” Sevele 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 had the plan and if we were allowed to do that, we would have started rebuilding Teufaiva in March.
“(It was) all ready to go, the minister of finance informed us that the funds were available … 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.
“That’s not going to happen now,” Sevele said.
“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. – Radio NZ

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