Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi is adamant.
He said the Government would do whatever it takes to host the Pacific Games 2019 successfully. That includes forking out $1.08 million for the host fee.
“We do what we need to do as part of the host country’s responsibilities,” he said in response to questions from the Samoa Observer yesterday.
Tuilaepa said the Government is committed to hosting a successful event and he wants to ensure everything is taken care of.
In September 2017, the Executive Board of the Pacific Games Council (P.G.C.) unanimously approved the awarding of the hosting rights for the 2019 Pacific Games to the Pacific Games Association (P.G.A.) of Samoa.
Tonga was initially scheduled to host the Games; however in July, they pulled out saying they could not afford the costs.
Samoa immediately put in a bid. It was up against Guam and Tahiti.
As reported yesterday, the Government will have to fork out U.S.$450,000 ($T1.08million), which is a fraction of what it will cost the country to host the Games.
Asked if the Samoa Government can afford it, Tuilaepa said: “What we are obligated to do as part of the hosting country, we do what a host must do,” he said.
Last year, S.A.S.N.O.C. President, Fepulea’i Patrick Fepulea’i, said the hosting of the Games would cost millions.
“The Games Operations side submitted a bid of about $40 million tala, so that’s basically what our budget is.
“We might need to revisit that at some stage with the Pacific Games Council but that’s basically our bid.
“It’s a lot of money involved but at the same time I think we need to sell the Games and get sponsors on board to help alleviate these costs.
Fepulea’i said during a previous interview, the Pacific Games and Pacific Mini Games own the Games and so any host country is required to pay this fee.
“For us as the host countries, we have to pay the host fee and we pay the fees to the owners of the games, that is basically what that is,” said Fepulea’i.
He said the host fee was paid in installments.
“The first payment is now due and the second payment is in the middle of the year, so by next July, we should be able to pay off the host fee.”