THE Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has finally settled the questionable outfit for the country’s contingent to the Commonwealth Games, through its Ministry Tender Board (MTB), last Friday.
This came after the Solomon Star published an article Monday last week about a minor stand off between the Commonwealth Games Association Solomon Islands (CGASI) and the ministry over the discrepancies of the number of athletes on an invoice provided by a supplier and the actual number of athletes and officials actually attending the Games.
It was also reported that CGASI, through the office of the National Olympic Committee Solomon Islands (NOCSI) has allegedly failed to follow the government’s tender process when requesting sets of outfits from supplier DJ Graphics Limited, worth SBD$679,925.00.
Responding to an inquiry into this matter, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary (PS) George Palua said, they had to reduce the number of outfits according to the confirmed number of the contingent, which is from 50 to 33.
Mr Palua also clarified that, it was the Ministry that gave the number (50) to NOCSI to indicate to potential suppliers the maximum quantity to be indicated in their quote.
This will then be considered by the Ministry Tender Board if it falls below $500,000.00, otherwise it will need to be reduced. That was what happened in the recent case, Mr Palua said.
However, DJ Graphics was selected, due to the fact that there is no sufficient time to go out on public tender through the Central Tender Board (CTB).
“DJ Graphics is one of the suppliers that have expressed interest in providing uniforms for our athletes. And why not? They were the suppliers of competition uniforms and official wear dressing Team Solomon to the Mini Games in Vanuatu in December 2017.
“They already have the specifications of the required uniforms and official wears given to them when bidding for the Vanuatu 2017 Mini Games,” he explained.
He further clarified that, it is fair to say that everybody, including Government and the Ministry of Home Affairs would like to see the country’s Athletes to the Commonwealth Games provided with the required uniforms and outfits that can make everybody be proud of.
“It is vitally important that our Athletes have the best competition uniforms and official wears as they leave to represent our country in the upcoming Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.
After working closely with the CGASI, they have finally agreed through the MTB in full compliance with the procurement processes in the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act last week.
Meanwhile, after collecting their uniforms on Saturday, the athletes already left the country yesterday, to settle down and prepare for at least a week before the games proper, which was set for April 4th – 15th, 2018.
This is the biggest number of athletes that will be sent to represent the country in the Commonwealth Games – fifteen all together, with three (3) qualifying on merit.
It was understood, Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela and his PMO delegation will also be attending the closing of the Games.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA