The wait is finally over as Gov. Juan N. Babauta officially created the executive committee for planning, organizing, and hosting the 2006 Micronesian Games.
This according to Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Juan L. Babauta, who said his namesake signed the executive order 4pm yesterday at his office.
“The governor signed the executive order…setting up the official framework for the 2006 Micronesian Games,” he said. “The order included the names of those who will make up the executive committee, advisory committee, as well as several sub-committees, so we’re officially organized and we’re empowered to look for money for the Games.”
Secretary Babauta chairs the executive committee while Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association president Michael White would serve as vice chair. Secretary Babauta did not identify the other members, however, he will provide a copy of the order today.
“[The governor’s] legal counsel is gone for two weeks, but it has already been reviewed so the governor signed it and I’ll be forwarding copies to the Legislature [today],” Secretary Babauta said.
Committees include publicity, marketing, sports, housing, transportation, and infrastructure, among others.
With the order in place, Secretary Babauta said the committee would look into many avenues of getting funds for the various projects. Requesting for appropriations as well as possibly taking up the $2.9 million loan offered by the Commonwealth Development Authority.
“We’re ready to loan but we need to work out a repayment plan, and also with the governor’s and the Legislature’s commitment, we can get the projects going,” he said. “First and foremost is getting additional money to renovate if not build new facilities.”
Also pending is House Bill 14-378, which is currently with the House after being amended by the Senate. The bill now states that $500,000 will be appropriated for the construction of the grandstands at the Francisco M. Palacios Baseball Field and the Miguel Basa Softball Field. The House aimed to tap $550,000 from Managaha Landing fees to construct the grandstands.
About $300,000 will be used for the Palacios field and the remaining $200,000 for the softball field.
Other projects include grandstand for the track and field area, a new Olympic size swimming pool, a canoe house, and renovation of tennis courts and gymnasiums, to name a few.
Babauta reiterated his confidence that the CNMI will be ready to host the Games, which will be held on Saipan from June 23 to July 7. The NMI first hosted the regional sports event in 1969 and later in 1990.
“We’ll be ready for the Games,” he said. “The grandstands can be finished in six months. If we can’t finish the Olympic-size pool, at least we’ve started it, but it can be done. We’ve hosted the Games before and so we have the facilities. We’re going to be ready.”