Press Secretary -- Although a decision has not been officially announced on whether Samoa will host the 2019 Pacific Games, government has gone ahead and appointed a Planning Committee.
The committee will lead the preparations for the country to host the Games and it is led by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi as chairman.
The membership includes the Finance and Sports Ministers, Sili Epa Tuioti and Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio respectively as well as representatives from the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture and S.A.S.N.O.C., Samoa Association of National Sports and Olympic Committee.
Today, following a closed door meeting with the visiting Pacific Games Council President, Vidha Lakhan, the Prime Minister says he has been assured by Lakhan that Samoa has the advantage over the other contenders (Tahiti and Guam), who are also vying for the hosting right.
“I am mindful that the Pacific Games Council also has their due diligence and the visit is to fulfill their Council’s constitution that each country is treated equally and fairly,” said the Prime Minister. “But I have been assured (by Lakhan) that we have the advantage when it comes to our sports facilities especially after the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games.
“I remain confident that we have a better chance of bringing the games to Apia,” the Prime Minister revealed during his weekly program with Talamua.com
Another advantage that the Prime Minister is taking in to account, is the situation in Tahiti.
Reportedly, the Tahiti Olympic Committee is still waiting for a formal endorsement from their government of their proposal.
“The Tahiti Government’s silence is a telling story,” said Tuilaepa. “And the Games Council is not blinded by that fact.”
He noted that unlike Tahiti’s proposal, the Samoa Government is on board, taking the lead to ensure that Samoa’s bid wins.
Tuilaepa reiterated that our track record in hosting international conferences and sporting events coupled with our state-of-the-art sports facilities is another huge advantage and this makes for additional leverage.
The meeting is the first face-to-face sit down between the Prime Minister and Lakhan, since Tuilaepa wrote to Lakhan to support Samoa’s bid.
In the meantime, S.A.S.N.O.C. called a press conference yesterday.
The Prime Minister is expecting a formal decision from the Pacific Games Council as early as next week, or before the end of the month.