The Pacific Games Council said Guam having the core of the organizing committee that managed their hosting of the 1999 Pacific Games is their advantage in trying to bring the 2019 sporting event for the third time in the Marianas’ southernmost island.
Guam has previously hosted what was then known as the South Pacific Games in 1975 in Tumon, the fifth edition, and the 11th holding of the Games in 1999 in Sta. Rita.
Guam and Samoa are the remaining candidates vying to host the Games after the council reported they won’t evaluate the bid of Tahiti—the third country that also submitted a bid—after its sports officials didn’t assure any support from French Polynesia’s government.
Guam, Samoa, and Tahiti—French Polynesia’s largest island with Papeete as capital—were the original countries that expressed their intention to host the quadrennial games at the last minute after Tonga withdrew earlier this year.
The council delegation completed their three-day visit and inspection of Guam’s facilities where they also met with top officials of the government and business and sports leaders.
“The PGC delegation was impressed with all of the elements of the evaluation visit, including the proposed sporting facilities many of which have been built since Guam last hosted the Pacific Games in 1999, and only require a minimal level of refurbishment to be read to host the Games in 2019,” said council president Vidhya Lakhan in a statement.
“There remains a solid core of experienced personnel in the [Guam National Olympic Committee] who delivered the 1999 Games which will aid Guam’s sports federations to deliver a large scale event like the 2019 Pacific Games in a short space of time,” added Lakhan, who was joined by council chief executive officer Andrew Minogue.
The council also met with Guam Gov. Eddie B. Calvo, his chief of staff Mark Calvo, chief legal counsel Sandra Miller, and Guam Visitors Bureau president and CEO Jon Nathan Denight—who acts as Gov. Calvo’s point person for Guam’s Pacific Games project.
Gov. Calvo has expressed that his administration fully supports Guam’s bid to host the Games for the third time. He assured GNOC to financially support their proposed budget subject for approval of the Guam Legislature that approves all financial allocations.
The Guam Legislature is in the process of studying Gov. Calvo’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018. They need to approve the budget before the start of FY 2018, which is on Oct. 1.
“Guam has presented a professional expression of interest to host the 2019 Pacific Games and has demonstrated during our visit that they have the facilities and capability required to deliver a successful Games in a short space of time,” said Lakhan.
“The governor’s support was welcome and we trust that [we would] receive positive indication from the Legislature that the necessary financial arrangements will be approved in the event Guam is awarded [to host] the Games.”
He added the Guam government’s expression of interest would “ensure the stability and certainty that the [Council] is seeking in the wake of the Tongan government’s withdrawal as Games host.”
The council also requested Guam’s Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson, through Gov. Calvo’s chief legal counsel, to approve the draft of the hosting contract if Guam was awarded the Games. Lakhan, Gov. Calvo, and GNOC president Ricardo Blas would be the signatories of the hosting contract.
The council also met with GNOC’s executive board, Guam Legislature Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz, Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, the presidents and representatives of the proposed sports for the 2019 Games. GNOC would lead the Games’ hosting if ever Guam’s bid is approved by the council.
Lakhan and Minogue also inspected the proposed venues of the sports that are going to be included in the 2019 program and the Leo Palace Resort Hotel & Apartment complex that would house the athletes and other delegates.