Parliament has passed the legal framework for the country’s hosting of the 2023 Pacific Games-Pacific Games 2023 Bill 2016.
Parliament concluded the final stage-Third Reading- of its deliberation on the bill yesterday.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Hon Manasseh Maelanga in his presentation of the bill at the Second Reading stage said the legislation brings with it the hopes and dreams of a nation for ‘economic development and nation-building.’
He said Pacific Games Organising Committee is the body through which the Pacific Games Council and the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands (NOCSI) will plan, organise and administer sporting activities in accordance with international rules and statutes such as adherence to the world anti-doping code.
Hon Maelanga said the Pacific Games Organising Committee, Pacific Games Council and NOCSI are expected to carry out their functions independently from the Government but within the bounds of the bill (Pacific Games 2023 Bill 2016) when passed and enacted, the Pacific Games Charter and a Host Agreement to ensure the 2023 Pacific Games is another event successfully hosted by Solomon Islands. He referred to the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts (FOPA) in 2012 as the first event successfully hosted by Solomon Islands.
Minister Maelanga said the bill also provides for the management of funds appropriated together with all donor assistance and financial assets required to host the games as well as the protection of intellectual property relating to the games as required under the Pacific Games Charter.
He said the bill also caters for the setting up of a financial mechanism and in line with this provision, a Sports Solomons’ Fund will be established to ensure funds are readily available for construction of sporting facilities and easy and smooth administration and management of the 2023 games.
The Minister for Home Affairs said the Government is in discussion with the Solomon Islands National University and King George Sixth School regarding the use of their ‘sporting areas and open areas’ for the construction of the new National Stadium.
He said these discussions will lead to the signing of some formal legally-binding agreements.
Minister Maelanga said the total commitment of the Government for the next five years to cater for preparatory works for the games will be in the region of five to ten percent of the National Recurrent Budget.
He added that Solomon Islands International donors and friends have indicated their support behind the government’s policy priority of hosting the games.
The Deputy Prime Minister said to ensure the success of the 2023 Pacific Games, the country needs to stand united with the government in its preparation for and hosting of the games as it did for the 11th FOPA.
He said the 11th FOPA has been dubbed as the best ever FOPA to have been hosted and urged Solomon Islands to rise up to the challenge of making the 2023 Pacific Games a successful one.
Hon Maelanga said as Minister responsible for Sports, he would be calling on individuals and organisations with skills and experiences or something relevant which can assist the government in its preparation for the hosting of the games to come forward and help.