PAPUA New Guinea will host the 2015 Pacific Games.
We won the hosting right, 25-22 votes, ahead of the only other bidder, Tonga, in the Cook Islands capital Rarotonga yesterday.
This will be the third Pacific Games that PNG will host – in Port Moresby and Lae – after the 1969 and 1991 Games. Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, who is on his way home from the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, was among the first to congratulate the PNG Bid Team on its success.
“This is indeed excellent news for sports in general and Papua New Guinea as a whole.
“Like I said in my letter to the president of the Pacific Games Council Vidhya Lakhan on March 12, I have committed my Government fully to this bid.
“Now that we have won the bid, the real work must begin in earnest towards 2015.
“I call on all Papua New Guineans to rally behind our sports administrations so we can emulate the ‘best ever games’ that we staged in 1991.
“Congratulations, to all those who were either directly or indirectly involved in ensuring PNG got the nod ahead of Tonga,” Sir Michael said.
The Opposition also congratulated the PNG Bid Team for “a job well done”.
Simbu Governor Fr John Garia, who is the Opposition spokesman on sports, said that they would back the Government all the way to ensure that the Games equalled the ones staged here in 1991.
“The immediate job now is to start sourcing funds to upgrade existing facilities, or build new ones, for the 2015 Pacific Games. In front of a packed Edgewater Hotel conference room on Sunday (yesterday PNG time), Pacific Games Council president Lakhan announced: “It is my pleasure to announce, the Fifteenth Pacific Games will be held in Papua New Guinea.” For the PNG Bid Team, it was sweet victory after eight months of lobbying, from the Cabinet to the Cook Islands.
“Never before has Parliament been united in such a brilliant cause,” the team said.
It was an emotional rollercoaster that brought Syd Yates, a member of the bid committee, to tears in the sombre conference room.
PNG Sports Federation boss, Sir John Dawanincura, said from Rarotonga that it was a fantastic team effort from the Government, Opposition and the bid team, who worked tirelessly to secure the Games.
“We did it for the youth of the nation and just as important to promote national unity.
“At the end of the day, we will leave some very positive legacy for the future,” Sir John said.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop acknowledged the work put in by the bid committee chairperson Mel Donald and committee members Sir John, Yates, Tamzin Wardley and NCD police operations chief Supt Andy Bawa.
“We should take this opportunity to transform Port Moresby and unite through such sporting events, the Pacific Games,” Mr Parkop said.