With 422 days remaining until the opening ceremony, work has started at only five venues and one facility – the Taurama Aquatic Centre, Sir John Guise Stadium and Indoor Complex, Sir Hubert Murray Stadium, National Football Stadium and Games Village.
The Aquatic Centre and Games Village are the only projects that seem to be taking shape at a good rate, with the structures already up.
The National Football Stadium, formerly the Lloyd Robson Oval, and the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium have only had their surfaces levelled.
Port Moresby’s Bisini Parade, which caters for the city’s main soccer, softball and netball competitions, has not had any work done on it at all.
Rugby union’s Bava Park grounds and cricket’s Amini and Colts ovals, all adjacent to the Bisini Parade, are in a similar state.
Neither of these grounds have had Pacific Games-oriented development on their facilities. With a little under 14 months left to the opening ceremony on July 4, 2015, the Venue Infrastructure and Equipment Committee is not saying anything.
The main concern is with netball as its major redevelopment plan for the Rita Flynn courts that will cost K40 million.
PNG Netball president Julienne Leka-Maliaki said her federation had not received any word from the venues committee on when construction would start there.
She said all they were aware of was that tenders for work had been put out.
The Pacific Games Organising Committee, headed by chief executive officer Peter Stewart, has been unable to comment on progress.
Stewart’s secretary said yesterday he was booked out for meetings all afternoon (until 5pm) with “two minutes of free time between meetings”.
Efforts to get an explanation or an update were met with referrals to the venues committee, which in turn said, through their front desk, that queries on the venues were to be forwarded to the Sports Minister’s office.
Attempts to speak to Venues Infrastructure and Equipment Committee deputy chairman Mel Donald met with similar response. She was not available.
Sports and Pacific Games Minister Justin Tkatchenko went out of his way to call this paper and answer questions regarding the venues and the time frame for their completion.
He responded to the queries stating emphatically that all venues including those in the Bisini area would be ready on time.
“Everything is on schedule. Tenders for work on the Bisini Parade venues are with the Central Supplies and Tenders Board and companies will be engaged to start work within the month,” Tkatchenko said.
“I am personally micro-managing this. I will see to it that the okay is given by the NEC (National Executive Council) so work can start immediately.
“The venues at Bisini should be completed in 12 to 13 months, which will mean they will be ready for the Games. It’s all good.
“By December everyone will physically see and know that all major projects for the games are nearing completion.
“I’m not worried at this stage. In fact, I’m very happy with progress, I sleep well at night knowing things are moving along.”
Tkatchenko said it was the responsibilty of organisations tasked with delivering the Pacific Games to update the media on the progress and not keep silent on important issues.