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P.M. defends Pacific Games Committee's decision

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi has rubbished criticism by local companies over the awarding of a contract to an overseas company as the host broadcaster of the 2019 Pacific Games. 

Speaking during his weekly program with radio 2AP, the Prime Minister said while the matter did not go up to the Cabinet, the Pacific Games Committee is bound by established laws that ensures they followed the process when giving the contract to Singapore-based Melanesian Media Group (MMG). 

“The most important, one must remember the committee is not free to do what they want with the games, there are rules in place to follow. 

"Also keep in mind, there is very minimal funding given to the Committee to prepare for the upcoming Games and they have been warned not to depend on the Government and they should retain sponsors," he added. 

The P.M. said that when it came to big regional events such as the Pacific Games, all contracts should go to public tender in order to get the best price and quality of work. 

"And so when it comes to huge events as such, all the works must be tendered to assure we get the fair price and quality work,” he said.

Key factors that the Pacific Games Committee will consider is the cost of the work and quality deliverables from the potential contractors.

“This is to assure that is the cheapest and provides quality work. This applies to local and overseas companies. This means, if the cheapest and qualified company is from overseas, the local companies should not criticize.  

“Even if our local companies share the same quality of experts, yet the overseas company is cheaper, we will go for the cheapest. That is what the local businesses need to be aware of," he added. 

To emphasise his point about contractors offering a cheaper bid, he used the analogy of a certified carpenter offering a cheap bid against a rival who tendered an expensive bid. 

“If you want to build a house, you look for a certified carpenter and also his cost will be cheaper. Only a stupid idiot will hire an expensive contractor when there are other cheaper contractors. 

“It is that simple,” he said. 

According to Tuilaepa, local companies should not criticise the decision of the Pacific Games Committee as they still got a long way to go.

"Before tendering a bid, consider the amount of the tender. But don’t be greedy, be reasonable with your bid and not too expensive, you’ll end up losing that contract and it would be an embarrassment for the local companies when overseas company gets the contract,” he added. 

Tuilaepa then commended the Pacific Games Committee for what he described as "doing the right thing". 

The Pacific Games Committee considered two vital aspects for the contracts, qualifications and inexpensive tenders. 

According to the Pacific Games Office, in March they undertook a preferred supplier procurement process to secure a qualified host broadcaster and IBC Service Provider. 

Two overseas-based companies with previous Games experience and one locally-based broadcaster were approached to provide bids. The Samoa Broadcasting Corporation or TV1 was among the only local company that tendered a bid. 

TV1’s Chief Executive Officer, Galumalemana Faieesea Matafeo has expressed disappointment at the outcome of the process with no local media given preference. 

“The main reason we were eager to get the rights to broadcast was to get all the local TV stations involved and give the opportunity to our people, to get the exposure and the experience from covering the SPG.

“In our proposal, we included TV3, Upu Mana TV and EFKS TV and our plan was bring all of our staff train and upskill them to cover the games. This way we don’t have to seek overseas broadcasters to do the work, we have the resources in the country to do it. 

“At the same time retain benefits in the country. I was thinking more of the whole TV industry in the country,” explained Galumalemana. 

According to the S.P.G. the MMG proposal was found to be the most technically compliant and competitive, and consequently was awarded the contract for host broadcast and IBC service provider.

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