Sports to be removed from M.E.S.C.: P.M.

One of two additional Ministers in the next Parliament will be responsible for the sports portfolio which will no longer fall under the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.), the caretaker Prime Minister has confirmed.

During his weekly 2AP programme, P.M. Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi said the removal of sports from M.E.S.C. is one of the major changes the Government will undertake should the Human Rights Protection Party come back into power after the General Election.

Tuilaepa alluded to the plan while speaking about Samoa’s plans to partake in the upcoming Olympic Games this year; saying other than the weightlifting team, there is a rugby 7’s team in preparation.

“International games are very important and this is why the Government is prioritising a big change of separating sport in the next Parliamentary term if we return after election,” said Tuilaepa.

“This is because we see that the avenue of sports is growing very large […] and that’s why we added the other two Ministers because the area of sports was getting too big.

“And the amount of children is growing; our population is now up to 200,000 and the future of the children is in sports.

“That’s something we cannot ignore, especially when there is a significant number of Samoans who enjoy sports and there are large benefits to reap from it in the future.”

The change was initially previewed by the caretaker Minister Education, Loau Keneti Sio in January saying the Ministry portfolio review was underway that may lead to its downsizing and shedding its responsibility for sports union and clubs.

He said the review could leave M.E.S.C. only with responsibility for school-level sports with no responsibility for sports unions and clubs.

“It’s not really the removal of sports [from the Ministry], no sports will continue with the education because part of education is sports, so there will always be a sports section in the education,” he said.

“But I do not know, with the review that is undergoing right now, there is the higher level, the elite sports which our Government is looking into because the Ministry portfolio is too broad.

“So they are looking into it but actually sports are part of education, there will be sports for kids and there will be a sports section for the higher level.”

Loau said having the whole sporting sector of the country together with the entire education sector is “too wide of a scope” for the Education Minister.

Last year in November, Prime Minister promised to amend the Constitution to increase the number of Cabinet Ministers from 13 to 15 in the next Parliament sitting.

He said the proposed change reflects the increasing Government workload.

The Prime Minister revealed the Government was looking at breaking down the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) and the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.).

It has not been revealed which division(s) of the M.N.R.E. will be getting their own Minister in the next Parliament sitting.

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