SOLOMON ISLANDS and the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) yesterday signed a historic agreement, which paves the way for the construction of facilities for the Pacific Games in 2023.
These will consist of the Main Stadium, with 10, 000 seating capacity, including 1, 000 VIP seats as well as six other facilities which include a double-story food court and office space for the Games Organizing Committee.
The Chairman of the National Hosting Authority (NHA) and Secretary to the Prime (SPM), Jimmy Rodgers, and his Chinese counterpart, Ms. Gong Rui, Counsellor (Economic and Commercial Affairs) in the Chinese Embassy in Honiara signed the agreement in a brief ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister in Honiara yesterday.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, China’s Ambassador to the Solomon Islands, His Excellency Li Ming witnessed the signing ceremony.
Senior government officials, members of the National Sports Council, and representatives of the various committees involved in organizing the Games attended.
A 17-member of the Chinese Technical Team, which worked on the Project site also attended. The team spent 45 days on the site, from 5 am to 8 pm every single day, according to Ambassador Li.
Mr. Sogavare said the combined economic benefit to Solomon Islands of the 2023 Games Project, along with other infrastructure projects would inject some $8 billion in new investments into the country over the next four years.
Ambassador Li said the Games Project “is a symbol of friendship” between Solomon Islands and China.
The Stadium will have the most modern facilities ever seen in the Pacific. It will be a national pride for Solomon Islands and China is proud to be part of it,” Ambassador Li said.
Meanwhile, Sogavare believed the project which comprised seven separate infrastructure facilities “is one of the largest infrastructure projects, funded and built by the People’s Republic of China in any of PRC’s partner Pacific Island countries.
“For this gift, I convey my sincere gratitude to the President, the government and the people of the People’s Republic of China,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.
He further added that the 2023 Pacific Games ‘Friendship project’ bears testimony to the strengthening and consolidation of the relationship between the two countries.
While few individuals and government critics’ cast’ doubts over the preparation for the 2023 Pacific Games.
Sogavare said he is very encouraged by the proposed construction schedule and timelines for the project, with the aim to complete all the facilities before the 2023 Pacific Games.
Construction is expected to begin in May next year. The Chinese have set themselves a 24-month deadline for completing the project.
The 2023 Games, described by Prime Minister Sogavare as the “Pacific sports extravaganza” is tentatively scheduled to officially open in Honiara on 14 July 2023.