By Taromane Martin
PERMANENT Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs Mr George Palua says cabinet is waiting for the report from the local 2023 Pacific Games task force before their Ministry can enforce the PG 2023 Act.
The Permanent Secretary made clarifications regarding yesterday’s back page story which reported the task force 2023 as awaiting approval from cabinet before preparation for the games, which is five years away, can move on to the next phase.
Palua said their Ministry is waiting for the task force to complete and compile their reports before they can request the Minister to enforce the 2023 PG Act.
“It is not correct to say that the ‘’Pacific Games 2023 Preparation Task force, is waiting for Cabinet approval’’ before moving on to the next stage. It is actually the other way round,” Mr Palua said.
“Cabinet, is waiting on the Taskforce to complete its tasks under their term of reference approved by Cabinet in September 2017 before moving on to the next stage.
“Which is to request the Minister for Home Affairs to enforce the PG 2023 Act by way of a notice published in a Gazette and to have appointments done to the three bodies mentioned in the PG 2023 Act 2016,” he adds.
PG 2023 Task Force team leader Mr Gabriel Suri said their task force has been carrying out internal and external consultations with stake holders and expects to complete their assignments by the middle of this year.
“We have a specific term of reference which we have to complete within ten months,” he said.
“We have a lot of tasks needed to be carried out. They are grouped into four main tasks. One is the need to establish a governance plan, two is to develop a facilities plan, third is to develop a finance plan and develop the plan to prepare athletes and technical officials.
“Already we have had dialogues with the Republic of China, Taiwan in which our task force produced and handed over a drafted MOU,” he said.
“ROC has acknowledged receiving the draft which has now been sent to their headquarters in Taiwan to be analyzed and approved.
“Once that MOU is approved then we’ll have the Prime Minister and the President of Taiwan sign it when he travels to Taiwan in April, before the terms and conditions of the MOU can be implemented,” the Chairman said.
Mr Suri confirmed they are eying to develop the King George Sixth soccer and rugby pitch into the main stadium for the games while are also keen in developing the Solomon Islands National University’s Panatina and Kukum complexes for the games village.
He said their task force is hoping the main stadium could be completed by 2021 however adds it will depend entirely on the response from Taiwan and their dialogues with SINU and the KGVI administration.
“We have set a time frame in the MOU and if contractors agree to the time schedule, we would like to have the main stadium completed by 2021 so that we would have two years for our athletes to try out the stadiums.
“We are expecting constructions of the stadium to start around October or November if everything goes well with ROC and with our other stake holders,” he said.