Renbel Premier blasts PM Hou and Gov’t over plans to postpone Solomon Games 2018
BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
THE Premier of Renbel province has condemned what he describes as ‘politicising of the Solomon Games to be hosted by Renbel province’ by the government.
Premier Collin Singamoana says the government’s proposal to postpone the 2018 Solomon Games (SG) being hosted Renbel province is received as a slap on the face for the Renbel people and provincial government.
Speaking to Island Sun, Premier Singamoana says the real reason behind the government’s proposed decision is political in nature, and not due to slow preparations as claimed in the statement by the Prime Minister’s Office [Read OPMC Press Release in page 23].
“There are political elements relating to the hosting of the Games in Renbel which threaten the Renbel MP. And, the Prime Minister and his caucus are backing their colleague to move the Games and at the same time make a scapegoat out of the province.
“There is no problem with preparations from our part because we have been slowed by the national government’s withholding of funds for many months, and since receiving funds a few weeks ago, we have been hell-bent on preparations, and we are absolutely confident that everything will be ready before the event begins.”
He insists that the national government has no one else but itself to be blamed for the slow preparations, since it had withheld funds for many months since last year – only releasing it few weeks ago.
However, while the national government is trying to undermine the event taking place in Renbel province, the Renbel province Solomon Games taskforce along with the LOC have been working tirelessly towards the goal of completing the facilities in time for the Games.
It is understood from a press statement by the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday that decision to postpone or allow the SG to continue in Renbel is pending, awaiting a report from NOCSI.
Premier Singamoana furthers that the ease with which government opts to move the games from Renbel is just another fine example of how the national government views the Renbel province – ‘as a minority and insignificant group’.
“I know what I’m saying when I play this ‘marginalised’ card, because it is true. The Renbel province has been second-placed everytime in national issues, and Prime Minister’s and Caucus’s latest stint just comes to show how they view Renbel, like nothing.
“I tell you, it would have been a different story had one of the bigger provinces been the host. But, since it is Renbel, they simply rush to off the SG being held there.”
Singamoana says there are past precedents which question the Prime Minister’s claim that Caucus’s proposal to move the SG is based on slow preparations.
“In previous Solomon Games in other provinces, it is a well-known fact that while the games were going on there were still work going on to complete other facilities at the same time. In Tulagi, even the soccer pitch was half grass and half ground. So who is the government trying to fool by saying that slow preparations is the basis of their proposed decision to postpone the SG in Renbel?”
He urges Prime Minister Rick Hou and Caucus to rethink what they are planning to do, because apart from Renbel’s confidence in completing preparations in time, the Renbel province and people see this as a huge honour to host a national event, and taking it away or postponing it is utter injustice for many reasons.
“To the Prime Minister and his caucus, just ensure that you play your part with releasing the rest of the funds and we will continue with our part faithfully and complete preparations well before the official opening.
“Do not bring politics into this event, because you will only do more damage than good. Already, public opinion has been negatively influenced by MP Tautai’s non-procedural Facebook post, and innocent hardworking people who have put in a lot are being made scapegoat of by your politics.”
On Monday this week, a Facebook post in MP Tautai’s page claimed that PM Hou had personally sent him (Tautai) a text saying the SG has been moved from Renbel.
PM Hou has confirmed sending the text in a press statement yesterday [see page 23].
Attempts to get the Ministry of Home Affairs response yesterday were not possible as the new Acting Permanent Secretary (PS) was in a meeting almost the whole day. This was the same for the MP of Renbel when making an attempt.