Samoa MP Questions Financial Wisdom Of Hosting 2019 Pacific Games

Olo Fiti Vaai says 2007 Pacific Games were a 'huge loss of government money'

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, May 29, 2017) – “The previous [2007] Pacific Games we hosted was a huge loss of government money, taxpayers money for that matter, and it was in fact in millions of dollars...... what’s going to change now?” 

This was the question posed by Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai regarding the Government’s bid to host the 2019 Pacific Games. 

Last week Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi confirmed Samoa has made a bid to host the Pacific Games, to the Pacific Games Council. He said that Samoa is “eager” is grab the opportunity and Samoa has the facility fit to host such an event. 

“I have already spoken to the president of the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee, to reach out to the Pacific Games Council.” 

According to Tuilaepa the most important facilities that need to be up to par are the Swimming Pool facility and the Apia Park Stadium. He said that Samoa has those facilities and “we are the next best country to host the Pacific Games.” 

Olo agreed that Samoa has the “top notch” facilities but that’s not the point, he said.

 There are many questions that should be considered by the government. 

“Can we afford the necessary expense if there are any other required changes to get our facilities up to international standard? 

“Are we ready to host the Pacific Games?” 

According to Olo, Samoa has been down this road before and it wasn’t pretty. 

“We did it before..... and it was a huge loss on the government.” 

Olo also spoke about ‘the ego and pride’ the government has, but at whose expense?

“Don’t let the ego and pride take over, making it seem like Samoa is able to host any international event.... it takes me back to when we hosted the Pacific Games in 2007. 

“Up till this day we have no records of how much was expended by government. And if there were records, they were incomplete.” 

The MP did not go into details but was against the move to host the Pacific Games noting that it’s a waste of money. 

It was put to the MP that his views appear as if he’s always against efforts by government to attract tourists to Samoa. 

However he denied that.

“No, it’s not that..... there’s proof we have been down this road before. 

“It’s evident, the lack of records analyzing the funds allocated here and there of the Games 10 years ago and the funds spent is my main concern as there are no records,” he said. 

According to Olo “for the last Pacific Games, there is hard proof there was a lack of control in expenses and expenditures that caused problems for the government in the past.”

Samoa Observer
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