By Taromane Martin
THE role of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the government should be limited to only governance and financing for the 2023 Pacific Games, a statement from the Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Games Taskforce stated yesterday.
They made the statement in response to queries from SunSPORTS regarding an article published online via the Solomon Business Magazine (SBM) facebook page and shared onto the popular FSII Facebook page on Tuesday.
SBM online claimed Prime Minister Rick Hounipwela had removed the Pacific Games portfolio from the Ministry of Home Affairs to the PMO because he was unhappy with the progress made so far in hosting the game.
However, the taskforce said they are close to finalizing everything for their report before their term in office ends in June so that ground work and actual games’ preparation could start.
“One of the milestone achievements for the task force is to recommend a date in June for the commencement and the implementation of the PG 2023 Act,” the statement said.
“When that happens, the three bodies namely the National Hosting Authority (NHA), Facilities Committee and the Games Organizing Committee (GOC) which is to be appointed under the Act will take over the organization and implementation of all the projects and programs for the games and to eventually administer the games. The role of MHA and PMO should be limited to governance and financing.
“We’ve followed the agenda the Pacific Games Council (PGC) gave us. At the moment everything is still in the preparation stage before the bulldozers start coming in.
“Dealing with land is not an easy thing. There are certain issues which need to be discussed and straightened before ground work can start.
“If the government just told us to develop the land then everything is set. But right now KGVI School and SINU seemed to be the fighting progress.
“All these issues needs to be discussed properly, every one agree then we go ahead with the constructions.
“Right now we’ve done the regulations and as soon as the Act is implemented, preparations should get underway.
“Finance is the area the government should be focusing on. Money and land – those are the two issues the government should be worrying about.
“Have a subcommittee or something to secure the land, a subcommittee of cabinet to work on finance. That’s all they should be doing.
“Rather than they make a change now they should wait. Let the Task Force complete its work then after June they can have a committee formed for the construction stage in placed to report to cabinet,” the statement adds.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs George Palua said he is aware of the situation but is still waiting to be fully briefed about it.