The CNMI reaffirmed its commitment to host the 2021 Pacific Games, as Gov. Ralph DLD Torres has agreed to the Pacific Games Council’s proposed plan for the disbursement of funds for the quadrennial event.
“As you understand, this was a very challenging deliberation process as our islands continue its recovery from the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Yutu. The loss of economic activity within our tourism industry and our businesses as a result of the storm has crippled our revenue stream during this fiscal year and put us in a precarious financial position as a government overall,” Torres said in letter sent to PGC president Vidhya Lakhan last Friday.
“However, after reviewing the proposal and verifying revenue projections with our Department of Finance, I believe the CNMI can reasonably host the Mini Games under the conditions set forth in the proposal,” the governor added.
Under the PGC proposal, the Pacific Mini Games’ budget was lowered from $8 million to $3 million and the vast majority of the expenditure (over 60 percent) is deferred until 2021, while a little is to be settled later this year.
The CNMI government had to come up with a decision whether to honor its commitment to host the Mini Games or not, as issues surrounding the event will be discussed during the PGC general assembly in Apia, Samoa on July 14.
With the Mini Games hosting still a go, the governor has been asked to send a representative to Samoa to meet with PGC executive director Andrew Minogue and Lakhan. They will then hold further discussions and once a consensus has been made, the CNMI’s hosting of the Mini Games must get the blessing of the assembly.
Once the order of business in Samoa is settled, the PGC officials will schedule a visit to Saipan for the signing of the revised contract, according to Minogue.
Meanwhile, Torres said the CNMI’s hosting of the Mini Games is for the best interest of our athletes and the Pacific.
“As our islands continue to recover, we believe this event will bring our community together. Sports unifies different cultures and backgrounds around a shared sense of human achievement, and we know that the Mini Games will bring our athletes and everyone in the Pacific closer together. We look forward to further discussions with the Pacific Games Council as we prepare for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games,” the governor said.