The news was announced at press conference today held by Sports Minister, Justin Tkatchenko, CEO of the PNG Sports Foundation, Peter Tsiamalili Jr. and Deputy Chairman of the PNG Games Host Organising (HOC) Committee, Dacca Wagai.
Tkatchenko explained that after deliberations between the HOC and the PNG Games Council last night, a decision was reached to defer the PNG Games.
It was by outlined by Tkatchenko that the PNG National Weather Service in their report to the HOC and PNG Games Council highlighted that wet weather conditions will continue for the next two months in West New Britain.
“The weather is not permitting. I have seen pictures of the whole of West New Britain under water at this point in time and it is quite disturbing to see the amount of rainfall that’s going on there.
“As the weather predictions have made it clear, this rain will go on which will definitely affect all the facilities, it affects the contractor as well to finishing off their work and affects the field of play,” said Tkatchenko.
Tkatchenko also it made it clear that the deferral of the PNG Games has nothing to do with the contractor not being paid to complete the venues which Tkatchenko says are 90% complete.
“The contractor has been paid for work rendered,” said Tkatchenko.
He went on to explain the readiness of some provinces was another factor in the Games being deferred.
“Because of probably the lead up to the elections, a lot of the Governors and Open Members have not confirmed and submitted their teams to participate in this year’s PNG Games which is a concern because it looks like they’ve got other issues more important than the actual sporting teams that they want to send to the PNG Games.
“There’s been a lot of provinces that have still not submitted their team listings. So that’s another concern that is ongoing,” said Tkatchenko.
Tkatchenko added that the other factor is timing.
“One, we have the national elections. The issuing of writs is on April 20. This is close to the PNG Games and that’s why we’re seeing a lot of the provincial teams not coming forward with their listings. So the elections have been an issue in that regard as well.
“Also, we were working with the education department on having the school holidays at the time of the PNG Games to allow for the school buildings to be available for the provincial teams to use.
“With the March timing as well, we were finding it difficult to convince the education department to have the school holidays at the same time as the PNG Games. So that was another issue we had.
“So through the recommendation from the HOC to the Prime Minister and myself and through the Governor of West New Britain, it was decided to defer the PNG Games,” said Tkatchenko.