Prime Minister clarifies political involvement in PG2023 preparations
BY GARY HATIGEVA
CABINET has made this decision and concluded that the political will, the undivided attention, the focus and the added weight that is required in this project, would be better achieved when the project is reassigned in the Office of the Prime Minister, says Solomon Islands Prime Minister.
Prime Minister, Rick Hounipwela says the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) has decided to take on the responsibility of running all necessary preparations of the Pacific Games 2023 due to time limitation and low output in works.
The Prime Minister made this clarification when responding to the Leader of Opposition and Member of Parliament for East Malaita, Manasseh Maelanga, who on the floor of parliament yesterday, questioned the PM over initiatives to take over from the former games taskforce.
“Can the Prime Minister explain to Parliament why the Prime Minister’s Office has taken over responsibility for the 2023 Pacific Games from the Ministry of Home Affairs?”
The Prime Minister explained that there are a number of concerns but pointed out that the government caucus has been concerned over what it has perceived as very slow progress by the ministry and the taskforce the former DCCG had tasked to oversee the preparations of the games, which is to be hosted in Solomon Islands less than five years away.
“As you know, the bid to host was won in 2016 and by December 2017 which is a year on, there was very little shown in the work of preparations,” Prime Minister Hou explained.
He said the new government saw this lack of significant progress in the games preparations and saw that there is a lack of determination by both the ministry of home affairs, which oversees sports, as well as the taskforce, and had to take the steps
He added that the decision to host the 2023 pacific games is a political one the government had taken.
“The government I meant was an inclusion of all including the opposition leader and independent groups, all went that time, and that being the case, it requires a clear display of political will”.
Hou further added that at the time when the government made the decision to re-assign the responsibility of the pacific games 2023, because the ministry was also loaded with charge to run a number of very important events and projects.
They include the initiation of the national futsal stadium, the recently celebrated 40th independence anniversary this year, as well as preps for the 2018 Solomon games.
“And apart from that, the ministry will be tight up in its preparations for the 2019 national general elections, and having seen that, the government caucus saw that the ministry could not should all the projects along with the pacific games as time is not on the country’s side,” the Prime Minister further explained.
He also added that as a matter of policy choice therefore, the government had strongly felt that re-assigning the responsibility of the 2023 pacific games under the Prime Minister’s Office would provide the added weights which are necessary in the project.
However, intentions to take over control of responsibilities from the originally designated body had also been questioned as it was seen as a political involvement, which many thought should have never happened.
But the Prime Minister clarified that the following two meetings held with the Pacific Games Council, the political involvement is not an issue to them (Council) and only wanted to see that the country does deliver as the winning bidder to host the 2023 games in Honiara.