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Renbel Premier brushes aside NSC calls to discuss games’ fate

BY BARNABAS MANEBONA

RENNELL and Bellona Premier has brushed aside calls to meet with the national sports council (SINSC) and discuss the fate of the Solomon Games, which is just two months away.

On March 27 the Council gave a media call for a meet with the Renbel province to discuss updates on preparations for the Solomon Games.

The Council is concerned that with only ‘two months’ left, Renbel province may not be ready to host the Games.

Executive member of SINSC, Mr Siosi Dioko said in the March-27 report that Renbel should discuss with them the situation on the ground.

And, if the province is not prepared to host the Games, then it should come clear with the truth and admit it to the Council.

This would give the Council ample time to switch to ‘plan B’, which Dioko says would be to move the Games to Honiara.

Dioko said, “We have told Renbel’s local organising committee (LOC) to prepare since the last games in 2016 in Honiara in which next week should be our schedule for inspection on the province’s facilities preparation.

“With only two months left, this is the final week given for the province LOC or Ministers responsible to come discuss with us.

“If we find out that Renbel province is not ready to host the 2018 Solomon Games then we will move to ‘plan B’ because the possibility for it to be hosted back in Honiara is possible having facilities to use there.”

However, Premier Collin Singamoana says there is no need to meet with the SINSC.

He explains that the province has a taskforce and a LOC, which are in direct contact with the national ministry of home affairs (MHA) over preparations for the Games.

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“The Renbel taskforce is in direct contact, and is working under guidance by the MHA. We communicate directly with the ministry’s permanent secretary and he gives us the instructions to work by.

“If it were necessary for us to meet with the SINSC then the PS would have informed us of it.”

Singamoana questions why SINSC is behaving as if it has the authority to remove the Games from Renbel, saying that only the Ministry has this power.

“The Solomon Games belongs to the MHA, and the PS is the pivotal between the ministry and the host province.

“We do not deal with any other third parties from the side. This would be determined by the ministry’s PS, if he says we must meet and update the SINSC then we will be obliged to, but since he has not said anything about having to inform SINSC anything then we won’t respond to Dioko’s call.”

In 2014, Renbel province was awarded the hosting rights for the 2016 Games, however, it failed to prepare hence the event was shifted in the last minute to Honiara.

The province was however given a second chance – to host the 2018 Games.

It is understood that Renbel province games taskforce, which was set up to replace the LOC, was given $3million as a first tranche payment towards helping it in preparations by the MHA. However, this fund was reportedly misused.

The issue of the misused $3million had led to the removal of the then-chairman of the taskforce, with Premier Singamoana replacing him on the intention of ‘ensuring that there is no repetition of misuse of any funds from MHA’.

It is understood that there is no single infrastructure standing in the provincial capital Tigoa (the proposed hosting venue) to testify for the usage of the first tranche of $3million.

Reports from locals in Rennell say an area had been cleared for the purpose of building the stadium and multi-purpose hall in it, but since then has been allowed to be overrun with wild vegetation.

There have been claims and counter claims raised in the various Facebook forums belonging to the Renbel community over alleged materials which were bought using part of the $3million.

However, Island Sun understands that nothing tangible is yet to surface regarding preparations on the ground.

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