30 July 2015
In a statement by the Prime Minister Hon. Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva, the 2019 Games will be hosted in Tonga despite the difficulties in raising the necessary funds to finance the Games.
In a special Cabinet meeting on Monday 27 July 2015, a decision was made to go ahead with the hosting of the Games. Sports Organizing Committee leaders also met with Government officials to discuss details of the Games.
The main concern has been the lack of funding for the needed infrastructural construction of facilities and the provision of equipment for the Games.
Doubt was cast on whether Tonga will go ahead with stated of the Games when the Prime Minister had earlier given media interviews that the financial position of the country was not adequate to host the Games.
Sporting facilities such as a golf course and a swimming pool do not exist in Tonga. These two facilities alone will take up half of the budget claimed to be needed for the 2019 Games.
In addition, the existing venue facilities in Tonga are extremely inadequate for the Games. That includes an outdoor stadium, and an indoor stadium that would host basketball, volleyball, netball, and other events.
But Minister for Finance and National Planning, Dr. Hon. ‘Aisake Eke has announced that he is upbeat about Tonga’s ability to host the Games, and construction could begin in 2016.
In the meantime, the Oceania Sports Association has spoken out that preparation for the 2019 Games in Tonga is late by almost two years.
The projected budget for the infrastructural construction alone stands at $133 million pa’anga.
The Government had proposed the increasing of airport departure tax by $100 pa’anga, and the application of a 2 cents levy on foreign currency exchange, as part of its budget fundraising for Tonga hosted a Pacific Mini-Games in 1989, but has never hosted a full Pacific Games in its 52-year history.