2019 Pacific Games Bid – Tonga
The President, Mr Vidhya Lakhan and Executive Director, Mr Andrew Minogue of the Pacific Games Council (PGC) were in Tonga from 19th-22nd June. The purpose of their visit was to evaluate and assess the bid by the Tonga Sports Association and National Olympic Committee (TASANOC) which also the Pacific Games Association (PGA) and had lodged its bid 6 months before the date of the General Assembly.
The PGC delegation met with the members of the Tonga PGA Executive Committee (Board) as well as call on the Hon. Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano, the Hon. Minister of Education, Ms ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki and Hon. Minister of Sports designated, Lord Vaea. The two delegates were also able to call on the Speaker of the House, Lord Lasike as well as meeting with members of the ‘Otu Motu Anga’ofa Political Party headed by Tongatapu I People’s Rep Mr Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva. Other members in attendance were Dr Sitiveni Halapua, Mr Sione Taione, Mr Sangster Saulala, Mr Siosifa Tu’utafaiva and Mr Falisi Tupou.
According to TASANOC Secretary General Takitoa Taumoepeau, he felt that the visit was very fruitful, warming and encouraging, especially the support we received from both sides, His Majesty’s Government and from the Members of Parliament (which can also be looked at as an “Opposition side” even though our current system is not structured that way for Party system.
Mr Taumoepeau continued that the visit was very important in terms of our unity in this project. He added that the visit highlighted a couple of areas that we have to work on and include in our next Progress Report, which is due in September, a month before the General Assembly of the PGC in which they will decide the winner. Tonga is running against Tahiti PGA, but according to Takitoa, they feel optimistic that we can pull this off this time.
Further, Takitoa said that to bring the Pacific Games to Tonga in 2019 will be a big boost not only in terms of sports and legacy it will leave but it will have an impact economically and socially. He used the Pacific Games in Fiji in 2003 as example, which was not only a sports gathering for our brothers and sisters in the region, but a nation building after the coup that happened few years earlier.
He said that the Games is given to the member (which is TASANOC), but TASANOC cannot do it alone and therefore will require the support of Government and other stakeholders. In addition, we will be assisted by the PGC with expertise in other fields as they will ensure that whoever has the right to host the Games will not end up with a huge bill but a success financially.
The PGC General Assembly will be held in Wallis & Futuna on 18th October this year and Tonga is expected to send a strong delegation to conduct the presentation and attending the meeting.