THE Solomon Islands will host the Pacific Games for the first time in 2023.
The nation’s bid received 14 votes, well above Tahiti’s six, during the Pacific Games Council’s (PGC) general assembly in Port Vila, Vanuatu, Wednesday.
Kiribati and Tokelau did not attend.
The decision came following the votes of the 22 members of the PGC.
The result comes as a shock to Tahiti who was considered the strong favourite ahead of the vote.
A high level delegation led by the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was present to support the country’s bid.
The lobby team did a great job, having had only a few days to convince the 22 countries before the bid presentation.
On the night before the bid, gifts of shell money and Bellona baskets filled with Soltuna packs were handed over to each country reps by the Prime Minister, his deputy, Leader of Opposition Jeremiah Manele, Independent Group MP Bodo Dettke Minister for Provincial Government David Tome.
The bid was presented by Ronald Bei Talasasa with supporting statements by Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition.
These proceedings along with an impressive bid presentation were enough to seal the votes.
The success came following two previous failed attempts.
An elated Prime Minister Sogavare said the outcome of the bid voting process undertaken by the 22 member countries of the Pacific Games Council is a vote of trust and confidence in the ability of Solomon Islands to fulfil the commitments outlined in its bid document.
Mr Sogavare said the entire Solomon Islands is united behind its bid to bring the 2023 Pacific Games home and the outcome of the 2023 Pacific Games bid voting process this morning is a dream come true for a country that has never hosted this regional event before.
He said the immediate task now before Solomon Islands is to focus on putting the necessary infrastructure in place before 2023.
He said the Government has already secured financial support from one of its traditional donors for the immediate construction of the main stadium and other supporting infrastructure and also received assurances of support by a number of other aid donors.
Prime Minister Sogavare said a new legislation to be enacted by the Solomon Islands Parliament will provide for the creation of a Trust Fund, adding that each financial year, Parliament will appropriate funds for payment into this fund for the exclusive management and control of the governance of the 2023 Pacific Games.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Maelanga said as the Minister responsible for sports and sports development in Solomon Islands, he is keen to ensure the implementation of Solomon Islands commitment in its bid document in preparation for the 2023 Pacific Games.
He said Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Games bid outcome is thrilling news for Solomon Islands.
Opposition Leader, Mr Manele said the Opposition Group in its watchdog role will ensure the government fulfils what is required of it in preparing Solomon Islands for this significant regional event.
Meanwhile, Vice President International of the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands, Mr Talasasa was all smiles when he exited the Warwick Le Lagon Conference Centre after the announcement or the bid voting result.
“I am so excited by this positive outcome and the next task before us is to prepare for the hosting of this regional event.
“The right to host any Pacific Games comes with great challenges but with the support of the Solomon Islands Government and its stakeholders and the people of Solomon Islands, we can prove to our regional brothers and sisters that we can do it.”
Source Solomon Star/Solomon Today Post