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Pacific mini games’ preparations on schedule

Tuesday 6 September 2016 | Published in Regional


VANUATU – The new head of the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu says preparations for next year’s event are about to hit top-gear.

The starting date was pushed back to December 2017 following Cyclone Pam, while changing governments in Vanuatu have also caused delays.

Clint Flood replaced the late Joe Carlo as CEO and told Radio New Zealand’s Dateline Pacific the next 15 months will be “all systems go’.

“There’s a lot of activity taking place,” he said. “Venues are under construction courtesy of the Chinese Government and some other aid groups/

“We’re starting our marketing campaign, we’re starting to recruit staff, we’re going to get the sports involved so there’s a lot of things that Joe put in place that we’re now able to move forward.

DATELINE PACIFIC: So what is your understanding of exactly where things are at right now?

“Any games organising committee would like to be further ahead, it’s natural. The construction has now started at the main Games site at Korman. There’s a lot of construction to do but the Chinese Government, through their contractor, will pick up speed I think.

“We hope for good weather and not too much rain and certainly not again a repeat of the disaster last year with Cyclone Pam.

“We have now started to engage some staff. We have a launch on October 14 of our sponsorship programme –we’re out in the marketplace now talking to sponsors.

“We’ve got a government agreement in terms of funding, which was the most critical thing to put in place. We’re now working out the mechanisms of obtaining the cash-flow and providing the documentation around that.”

DATELINE PACIFIC: One of the challenging aspects in the last year or so had been that relationship with the government, especially considering the Government kept changing or there was a level of uncertainty – so are you confident now that relationship between the organising committee and the government of Vanuatu is strong?

“The government has had some challenges – the cyclone really threw the government for a loop and the huge amount of revenue that they generate from the VAT from the hospitality industry was affected – so making an investment that they need to do in the Games is a big decision.

“That was something they deliberated hard over but I’m very confident now. We’ve got a new Minister in charge of Sport, they’ve appointed bureaucrats to help us.

“They’ve appointed a full-time person to help with the finance, so I have every belief the government is 100 per cent behind us.

“The legacy it will leave afterwards, I think they clearly understand that and they know how this will help move them ahead in a whole bunch of different fronts.

DATELINE PACIFIC: It’s about 15 months until the start of the Games on December the 4th – when do you anticipate all the venues will be ready, complete and available for testing?

“The plan right now is October – we’ll keep to that date. Having come from working on the 2015 Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea – and we saw that again in Rio – plans need to adjust.

“The venues in the case of Papua New Guinea were handed over to us two weeks before – and we still ran a successful Games.

“We’ll just continue to work with the contractor and we’ll just play it by ear. The key venue of course is the stadium and the track – they’re doing all the ground prep right now.

“When I was there a month ago they were pouring the foundations for the stadium itself so hopefully and good luck with the weather but I’m confident they will be delivered on time.”

- Dateline Pacific