THE National Government yesterday honoured its commitment, through the National Gaming Control Board (NGCB), to support the PNG team to the Mini Pacific Games currently under way in Raratonga, Cook Islands.
NGCB chairman Leonard Louma presented a cheque for K 1.5 million to ranking PNG Sports Federation officials Mel Donald and Tamzin Wardley in the presence of his deputy, Graham Osborne.
Louma said the NGCB treated sports as a development issue and as such did not hesitate to provide funding for the Mini Pacific Games.
“The last thing we want to see happening is the reduction of the number of sports that PNG could contest or the non-attendance at the regional sporting event by the PNG team.
“This can be a very embarrassing situation for a leading nation in the South Pacific,” he said.
He said NGCB’s support also strengthened PNG’s bid for the 2015 Pacific Games.
“We want to show our neighbours that as the biggest island country in the region, PNG is more than capable and ready to host the 2015 Pacific Games on our home soil,” Louma said.
“NGCB stands ready to assist wherever possible, if PNG wins the bid to host the Pacific Games here,” he said. Mrs Donald said NGCB’s support was a huge investment in sports.
“It is a shot in the arm for Team PNG, who would be able to show this through their performances at the Cook Islands games,” she said.
The NGCB and the PNG Sports Federation have a long-standing relationship dating back to 1997.
Deputy chairman Osborne said NGCB had a social responsibility to educate gamblers to look after their family, pay their bills, save money and enjoy life so it wanted to ensure sportsmen and women enjoyed their life too. The NGCB is using funds earmarked for community development to assist sports on behalf of the government. The Mini Games kicked off yesterday.