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Pacific Games venues ‘will be ready’

Monday 12 January 2015 | Published in Regional


Pacific Games venues ‘will be ready’
An architects impression of the Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby which will be the centre point of the 2015 Pacific Games which are on schedule to begin in July.

‘The games will proceed. They will be the biggest Pacific Games that the Pacific has ever seen with the inclusion of Australia and New Zealand this year for the first time ever.’

PORT MORESBY – The countdown is on to this year’s Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea, which begin in just 173 days with the country’s sports minister diffusing speculation that some of the venues may not be ready on time.

A report prepared for the Games Venues Committee highlighted some concerns about the progress at several venues, including the Sir John Guise Games Stadium, which will host the opening ceremony.

But Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko is confident everything will be ready; and he’s described that as “a miracle” because at one stage, construction was two years behind schedule.

“Everything is on time, on schedule, on target, on plan and ready for July 4, 2015,” he said.

“We are working tirelessly, seven days a week. The contractors on all infrastructure are working three shifts now to catch up on lost time from issues beyond our control.

“We have had some issues in respect to procurement, getting materials from overseas companies due to lack of foreign currency in our country, which has been rectified now. That delayed us about six weeks but the scenario is that all the infrastructure will be ready by July 4.

“The games will proceed. They will be the biggest Pacific Games that the Pacific has ever seen with the inclusion of Australia and New Zealand this year for the first time ever.

“We’re looking forward to having the Pacific all here in Papua New Guinea in July.”

Questioned about the six week delay and a recent report doubting the games would be ready on time he downplayed suggestions that there were serious delays at most of the games venues.

“The report that was mentioned in the paper is produced every month by the Venues Committee – that is a guide, just a guide of where we are going – what has to be rectified, what has to be fixed – it doesn’t indicate that these facilities will not be ready.

“It says there are issues and we have to address them which we are doing on a daily basis, always putting out fires, trying to help our contractors and ensuring that the infrastructure will be ready.

“There are a couple of venues that we will be assisting on a daily basis to ensure that they get across the line.

“Every day is gold now for us, with just six months to go. We had meetings yesterday (last week) with the Sir John Guise indoor and outdoor stadium which will be the centre point for the opening ceremony – they’re all on target.

“We inherited these Pacific Games from the previous government two years behind schedule. So, whatever we do produce by July this year will be something that is almost a miracle in the building and construction industry.”

He says about 80 to 90 percent of the actual construction is complete and its now down to mostly interior finishing.

The Sports Minister refuted a suggestion that the construction was being rushed and could lead to unsafe work practices.

He says most of the work in the three shifts now operating are manned by expatriate skilled workers.

“It’s not as though we are going to skimp on quality and the professional building of this infrastructure. We do have checks and balances with project management companies – internationally recognised from New Zealand and Australia – engaged to supervise and monitor all contracts to ensure all standards are held to an international level.”

Anesi says the budget for Games has put pressure on the government’s purse strings, “but at the end of the day we are going to have some unbelievable, international facilities, not just for the Games, but for a lasting legacy which will benefit the country immensely.”