Tuesday 16 August 2011 | Published in Regional
Financial secretary Richard Neves and internal affairs secretary Bredina Drollet have been asked to join the executive board of the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) due to its financial crisis.
The government is considering whether to bail CISNOC to enable Team Cook Islands to compete at the 2011 Pacific Games in Noumea just two weeks away.
National sport federations have done their bit, raising $212,000 to fund code levies, but CISNOC is citing a range of issues dating back to the 2009 Pacific Mini Games which it claims have put it in a critical cash position.
To withdraw from the Pacific Games now that entries have closed would mean a severe financial penalty and is not an option CISNOC is prepared to take.
It faces $242,327 of unpaid airfares, and executive board members have resolved to take a government loan subject to conditions.
Those include the appointment of Neves and Drollet to CISNOCs executive board for terms of the time while the loan is outstanding and at least two years.
A further loan condition is that CISNOC executive board members accept the power of veto, during the term of the loan, to be exercised by Neves to executive board decisions considered not in the financial interest of CISNOC.
That is subject to the veto excluding matters relating to the Olympic Games and International Olympic Committee funding, as well as the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Games Federation funding.
Neves says he only learned of CISNOCs fiscal woes last Thursday.
CISNOC approached me explaining they need some assistance to go to the games (Pacific Games) and Im in the process now of trying to understand their financial position.
He says the loan is an attempt to achieve an outcome which allows Cook Islands competitors to participate in the Pacific Games in Noumea, without generating a big impact on taxpayers.
It is in good faith because those people (competitors) have paid their own funds as I understand.
National sport federations have collectively raised $212,000 for code levies but that will not cover the whole cost of Cook Islands participation.
Neves says the exact loan amount needs to be clarified.
He says by being on CISNOCs executive board, he and Drollet can keep an eye on the governments loan.
This (CISNOC) is an independent organisation, however if it takes money from government then government needs to ensure its getting bang for its buck. If government is going to give more money, over and above what it already gives, for CISNOC to achieve outcomes it wants some certainty that CISNOCs actions are in the interest of not just participants in sport but the governments investment in the organisation.