Samoa keen to host Pacific Games: Tuilaepa

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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P.M. Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

P.M. Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi is keen for Samoa to host the 2019 Pacific Games.

He has even announced his intention to participate as an athlete in the sport of Archery.  

This was revealed in a letter Tuilaepa wrote to Pacific Games Council President, Mr Vidya Lakhan, seeking an update. The letter dated 30 June, 2017 was obtained by Samoa Observer. 

Recently, Tonga announced they are unable to host the games. 

“I have to date received no response to our interest to host the Pacific Games. Tonga has declined as communicated to you by our President of  S.A.S.N.O.C [Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee] Patrick Fepulea’i,” said Tuilaepa in his letter.  

“Our facilities are available and were used to host the Commonwealth Youth Games end of 2015. 

“We have also signed an MOU with China to further upgrade our Sports Facilities between now and 2018. 

“As leader of our Government I once again reiterate our interest in promoting sports through our hosting of the next Pacific Games. 

“As a sportsman myself, I intend to participate as a competitor in Archery chasing my Gold medal which I missed in 2007 in Apia and to compete will be convenient for me if the Games are held here,” said the Prime Minister. 

This is the second correspondence where Samoa has expressed interest directly to Pacific Games Council. 

In May, this year, S.A.S.N.O.C President Fepulea’i wrote to the Council informing them of Samoa’s bid to host the Pacific Games. 

This week the Pacific Games Council has begun legal proceedings against the Tonga government, following its decision to pull the plug on hosting the 2019 Games, according to reports by RNZI. 

“The Council confirmed yesterday [Monday] it would formally terminate the host agreement with Tonga for the 2019 Pacific Games, after the deadline passed for the government to recommit its support.

 According to RNZI, PGC President Vidhya Lakhan and CEO Andrew Minogue met with the Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva, and two of his ministers in early June, in a last ditch attempt to try and change their minds.

But the Prime Minister said the cabinet's decision was final and the government wished to focus its resources on other more important areas of economic development.

 Andrew Minogue said they have engaged a solicitor in Tonga and will now pursue damages through the court.

“That's an important statement for us to make. We had a contract, a binding contract,” Minogue told RNZI. 

 “The government unilaterally walked away from it without any consultation - that's not behaviour we think should be ignored or rewarded in any way so yeah, we will be seeking legal redress for that.”

 Minogue said the legal action was a matter of principle.

 “We're not a money-hungry organisation, we're a very lean outfit, we've never had a lot of resources and I don't think we'll ever have a lot of resources in the future," he said.

 “It's not about money, it's about the principle of walking away from a contract and we all put five years, or almost five years, of work into planning for the Games in 2019 to be in Tonga and we were contractually bound with the Government and with T.A.S.AN.O.C. to do that.

 “I think it's a very important statement of principle - you just can't walk away from those agreements unilaterally.”

 Minogue said the Council was now seeking expressions of interest from countries that want to host the Pacific Games in 2019, with a final decision expected by the end of August,” according to a report by RNI. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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