BY ALFRED SASAKO
A Cabinet sub-committee appointed by Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela to negotiate resources for hosting of the 2023 South Pacific by Solomon Islands has moved the multi-million project a step closer.
Insiders told Island Sun yesterday the sub-committee, headed by Steve Abana MP, was appointed last March after it was found the Ministry of Home Affairs has “done nothing in the last 10 months” to secure resources including land and financing for the Games.
“As a result of non-performance and non-productivity, the Office of the Prime Minister has taken over the responsibility for the Games. Consequently, Hon Abana was appointed to head the Cabinet sub-committee for the 2023 Games,” one insider told Island Sun.
“The Abana committee has moved mountains in the last two months in terms of securing resources for the Games. It has secured much of the funding as well as land for the two-week sporting bonanza,” Insiders said.
It has for example secured land from the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) Panatina Campus as well as from King George VI School for the construction of a 7,000-seat national stadium as well as for field tracks.
The stakeholders (SIG, SINU and KGVI) were due to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Honiara yesterday. The MOU paves the way for the initial scoping and construction work to start.
The MOU signing will be followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement [MOA] between the SIG and each of the stakeholders, that is, SINU and KG VI.
The MOA will set out the parameters of responsibility as well as sealing the agreement that all the facilities would be retained by SINU and KG VI once the Games were over.
A scoping team from Taiwan is due to arrive later this month (May) to help do the preparatory work, Island Sun was told.
Meanwhile Indonesia is believed to have offered bridging funds for the infrastructure for the Games, estimated around USD14 million.
The funding offer is expected to be discussed between Prime Minister Houenipwela and the Indonesian President during bilateral talks later this year.
Prime Minister is believed to have accepted the offer but this could not be independently confirmed.