The Micronesian Games may still be held this year, however, a confirmation has yet to be received.
Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association president Michael White said he has heard two different stories as to the status of the Games, including one that Palau might grab hosting responsibilities.
“I’ve heard two different stories,” White said. “First, that the Games are cancelled because neither Guam nor Palau has sufficient time to organize them; and second, that Palau decided [yesterday] morning that they want to host the Games in late summer. I have no official word either way.”
White said he has yet to receive any response from Micronesian Games Council president Bill Kildermans regarding the CNMI’s letter that informed the MGC of the government’s decision to pull out from hosting the Games.
If Palau does confirm hosting of the Games, the next challenge for the CNMI is to raise enough funds to be able to send a delegation to compete.
He said NMASA would meet as soon as possible after confirmation of any hosting to discuss fundraising, among other important issues.
Meanwhile, a couple of lawmakers voiced their disappointment on the government’s decision to pull out from hosting the Games.
Rep. Ray A. Tebuteb said he was upset with the decision to scrap the Games because of “poor leadership and bad timing.”
“Citing poor leadership is close to admitting that you are incompetent,” Tebuteb said during an interview yesterday as he referred to Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Daisy Villagomez-Bier’s comments on an earlier article.
“My focus is with the youth…I think that money should not dictate us to do the cancellation because our human resources is the best resource and we can do this.”
Tebuteb further explained that the move shuts the door for youth athletes to shine by representing the CNMI at home.
“Programs have come a long way to develop the youth and [the Micro Games] are some of the things that will allow them to even participate, volunteer, or even help out. That would be very beneficial and if you are impeded by the economic factor and lack of money, I think that is a poor decision when we know we can do it,” he said.
“We preach about youth programs…this is exactly the opposite. It’s like shoving the youths aside because of the economic situation,” he added, citing that many youth athletes, such as the swimmers, tennis players, and runners have put in countless numbers of hours before and after school or work to prepare themselves to represent as athletes and serve as ambassadors. “The next time we get a chance at hosting the Games, our young athletes might not be able to compete.”
Also sharing similar thoughts was Sen. Luis Crisostimo, who questioned why the decision to scrap the Games was not discussed in the Legislature.
“The elected officials should work together with the Governor’s Office and the business community. Instead of canceling it, we should bring it back this year,” he said as he cited that the CNMI “owes it to the kids.”
Crisostimo pointed out that despite the economic situation, the Games will boost the economy as between 1,500-1,700 athletes and coaches, plus families, supporters, and fans are expected to be on island for two weeks.
“Everybody will benefit,” he said. “Restaurants, hotels, rental car [companies]. To have it in four months…I think we can. We have the sports facilities that we didn’t have in 1969 and 1990, so I’m disappointed that the governor didn’t consult with the Legislature on this and I think this is a mistake on his part that he failed to consult us about it before making the decision.”
Both Crisostimo and Tebuteb explained that the decision to give up on the hosting places a “bad image” on the CNMI.
“Our reputation in our region to host another event of this magnitude…this decision has pushed us at the backburner because we failed. “It’s basically telling our region that we cannot do it because of poor timing, poor leadership…and those are only excuses for them to cancel it and I think it’s a slap in the face to our athletes in the CNMI and most especially to all our athletes and sports family in our region and sub-region.”
“It’s very, very bad for the CNMI. Visitors are coming…it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see competition between the neighboring islands. It is publicity in itself and something that will bring tourist to see the Games,” Crisostimo said. “We have to spend money to make money.”