Pacific Games Council are “bad people” trying to scare the government says Minister

    The Minister of Justice said the Pacific Games Council were “kakai kovi” (bad people) who thought they could easily bluff the government into changing its decision on the 2019 Games by threatening legal action.

    Hon. Vuna Fa’otusia said the government was well prepared to respond to any legal challenge from the PGC.

    The Minister said the government had looked at the legality of its decision to pull out and it was confident about its position.

    He referred to the president of Pacific Games Council President, Vidhya Lakhan as a “ki’i motu’a ‘Initia” (little old Indian man) who came to Tonga to scare the government.

    Lakhan and the Council’s CEO Andrew Minogue met the Minister of Justice, the Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Commerce  in Tonga last week in an attempt to revert the government’s decision to cancel hosting the Pacific Games 2019.

    However, Hon. Pohiva did not change his mind.

    As Kaniva News reported this week, Minogue said the PGC would be open to a change of heart by the Tongan government,  but if there was no progress then it would abide by the rules and begin legal proceedings.

    The PGC strongly believes the government has money and all the necessary tools to host the Games.

    They were unhappy that the Tongan government did not consult the Council about its decision to not host the Games.

    It is understood the Council first became aware Tonga had withdrawn from hosting the Games from media reports.

    The former government won the right to host the 2019 Pacific Games in 2012 after an aggressive bid against Tahiti.

    Hon. Fa’otusia reiterated in a press conference yesterday in Nuku’alofa that the government stood by its decision to cancel hosting the Games.

    The Minister was responding to a question by Matangi Tonga editor Pesi Fonua, who said Lakhan and Minogue had told him the Council would seek damages from Tonga for breaching the contract agreement.

    Fonua said the Council would seek a large amount of money and he asked whether the government was preparing for it.

    In response the Minister said the government was well prepared to respond to any legal challenge from the PGC.

    “I told him (Lakhan) look at you tomorrow you may die and someone else would replace you. The “composition” of the committee would then be restructured. And their attitude would change”, The Minister said in Tongan.

    “Take notice of these bad people who come to scare the government,” he said.

    Hon. Fa’otusia said Lakhan and Minogue told him they would look at the legal side of the issue.

    “I responded and said you go and look at the law as we ourselves also are looking at it.”

    The Minister claimed that no hosting country had pulled out of the Games before.

    “Tonga was the first country intelligent enough to withdraw from hosting the Games,” he said.

    “We know we were going to fall into a pit and we moved away from it,” he said in Tongan.

    “Do not think the government had not looked at the legal side of this issue.”

    “This government would not accept without questioning anything that has been set down by any previous governments.

    “Look at the news and see how President Donald Trump rejects policies that were passed by the Obama administration.

    “That is how government works.”

    The Minister said the government has decided to make a turn as it was heading towards a pit (“afe he ko e fu’u luo ‘ena”).

    The main points

    • The Minister of Justice said the Pacific Games Council were “kakai kovi” (bad people) who thought they could easily bluff the government into changing its decision on the 2019 Games by threatening legal action.
    • Lakhan and the Council’s CEO Andrew Minogue met the Minister of Justice, the Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Commerce in Tonga last week in an attempt to revert the government’s decision to cancel hosting the Pacific Games 2019.
    • However, Hon. Pohiva did not change his mind.
    • The PGC strongly believes the government has money and all the necessary tools to host the Games.

    For more information

    Future of 2019 Games is in the hands of the people, says Council CEO

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