PNG to help Tonga with Pacific Games

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has announced that the PNG Government will assist Tonga deliver the 2019 Pacific Games.

This announcement was made today after a meeting with Prime Minister of Tonga Akilishi Pohiva.

O’Neill says PNG will help build the main stadium that will host track and field events and also help build the High Performance Centre.

He says PNG has experience in in hosting such events in difficult circumstances.

“Our experts will be available if they require assistance,” O’Neill says.

To emphasise PNG’s promise to assist the Sports and Tourism Minister Justin Tkatchenko will lead a delegation to Tonga to assess areas in which PNG can provide help.

Tonga will need $US130 million (K380m) to host the 2019 Pacific Games.

Pohiva says Tonga does not have the financial and technical capability to host such a sporting event.

He says at the time he was elected into Office he thought that a sport was no longer an agenda for Tonga because of the lack of resources.

“But that does not mean we ignore and undermine the significance of sports for Tonga, PNG or the Pacific community,” he added.

But Pohiva says despite the lack in resources, a commitment was made and also endorsed by the King of Tonga and as such the government has no choice but to seek help in preparation for the Games.

“Since then I have had painfully experience of thinking about sports and what can be done. I am thankful to the government of PNG,” he says.

Joy Kisselpar