9 May 2016

Sport: Tonga in danger of losing Pacific Games hosting rights

12:25 pm on 9 May 2016

The Pacific Games Council has warned Tonga that they are in danger of losing hosting rights to the 2019 Games if political infighting continues.

Tonga's preparations have been plagued with administration and financing issues but up until now the Council had been satisfied with progress there.

The Nuku'alofa Times has reported the Games Council Chair Vidhya Lakhan has sent a letter to a committee chaired by Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva, saying that if its proposal to ask for Lord Sevele's resignation as chair of the Games' organising committee went ahead, the Council would start looking at termination clauses within Tonga's host country agreement.

In December, Pohiva initially demanded Sevele's resignation over alleged failings and delays in Games preparation.

Last month Pohiva issued a letter recommending Sevele's termination.

Copies were also reportedly sent to Pacific Games Council members.

But Chair Lakhan says neither the government nor Pohiva's committee, have the right to remove Sevele without consulting the Council.

Lord Sevele and two other members of the Games Organising Committee are scheduled to go to Vanuatu this week to make a presentation to the Games Council on preparations to host the 2019 Pacific Games.

Tonga's hosting of the Games have faced a number of problems, including in-fighting and mounting costs.