He said while the road to the Games was not easy it was a very good decision.
“Last night we thanked the best athletes of our region for their outstanding performances over two weeks of competition,” PM O’Neill said.
“We saw the best of our athletes and Papua New Guinea won our home games.
“People around the nation are filled with pride and a heightened sense of national unity.
“In the fortieth anniversary of our country as a state, the outcome of the Games is a wonderful achievement.
“I congratulate our super-fish, Ryan Pini as the best male athlete of the Games.
“Eighty-eight gold medals and two hundred and seventeen medals overall is outstanding.
“Forever our country will remember these past two weeks for their heroics, for the outpouring of national passion and for the strengthening of bonds with 23 other countries in our region.
“Thank you Papua New Guinea for getting behind our Games.”
The Prime Minister said proceeding with the hosting of the Games was one of the toughest decisions the new Government had to make when it came to office in 2012.
“When we formed Government we were faced with an enormous challenge when it came to the Pacific Games,” he said.
“Papua New Guinea had earlier agreed to host the Pacific Games, but there had been no planning to get us to July 2015.
“There were no usable facilities and no budget identified to build or refurbish existing facilities.
“The months earlier had been lost to political challenges, but with a clear mandate at the election we now had the chance to properly govern and to make plans for our country.
“I was given the options by our officials and there was a simple decision that had to be made.
“We had to either proceed and spend millions of kina on developments in a very short period of time, or to quit and walk away.
“Papua New Guinea is not a nation of quitters so I gave the order to proceed with the Games.
“I appointed Justin Tkatchenko as the Minister responsible as I knew he would get the job done, and for three years everyone worked so hard to deliver.
“Seeing the success of the Games, the infrastructure that we now have and the way the Games were promoted around the world, I know that proceeding with the Games was the right choice.
“Hosting the Pacific Games was a tough decision and it was worth every toea.
“Papua New Guinea has demonstrated that we can host major events and do so in a professional and financially responsible way.
“We have built the required infrastructure that will now be used at major events including the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting, the FIFA Women’s Under 20 Word Cup, APEC in 2018 and I hope the Commonwealth Games in 2026.
“We have a lot to be proud of in Papua New Guinea as we bring the world to our shores.”