Van2017 and the Department of Youth Development and Sports held a meeting last Friday March 03 with all Director Generals and Directors of each of the Government Departments to provide an update

on the Games, and provide a clearer understanding of the Government structure for the Games delivery needs to be organized.

Simeon Seule, the Minister of Youth Development and Sport, opened the meeting in front of 55 Officials clearly stating that these are the Games of Vanuatu for which the Government of Vanuatu signed a Host agreement with the Pacific Games Council in 2011, and that agreement specifies clearly the responsibilities of the Government and other parties. He stated it is up to every department in the Government to mobilize and support the planning and delivery of the Games. The Minister noted that no real progress on the Games took place until this year with a new government in place, and a strong commitment by the Government to fund the Games was established. In December 2016 the Pacific Games Authority, was legislated into place, clearly providing the mandate to organize the Games. He stressed that there is no more time to be lost with further delays due to funding problems or coordination issues with the Government departments.

George Maeltoka, Acting Director General for MYDS, was clear in his talk that the number one thing to be achieved out of hosting the Games is a positive legacy. This includes maintenance and use/marketing plans for the Venues, increased Sport Tourism, and a strong plan on future events/games to be brought to Vanuatu. The Acting DG noted that he is working on supplementary budget now to support the formation and support of Team Vanuatu to ensure that they have the financial support needed to compete at their best.

Clint Flood, CEO of Van2017 and Ben Tofor Executive Director Partnerships for Van2017 provided a detailed presentation on the planning of the Games to date, the Government Committee terms of reference, an update on the supplemental budget, and the primary risks facing the Games organizers. The primary risk the CEO pointed out was not obtaining the Government money in line with the cash flow needs of the organization. Tenders and RFP’s worth hundreds of millions of vatu are being committed in the next 60 days in order for these services/equipment to be in place well before the Games begin. If the funds are not available, then Van2017 cannot commit to goods and services.

The CEO also pointed out that Van2017 is looking for good staff to help deliver the Games, and encouraged departments to determine if there are qualified staff who wish to apply for a secondment to work with Van2017,

The officials agreed overwhelmingly that the Games must go ahead as currently planned and that all Government departments need to be aware of how the Games may affect them and their departments.

With less than 270 days now to go before the Games begin on December 4th 2017, the Government officials committed to working at full speed to ensure successful delivery of the Games.

Raymond Nasse

Sports Editor

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