A handing-over ceremony has been held for a new national stadium in the Solomon Islands, with the 10,000-capacity venue to serve as the hub for the upcoming Pacific Games in the country.
Manasseh Sogavare, Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, on Friday accepted the handing over of the stadium from the Chinese government, which has developed the venue. The Prime Minister accepted the stadium from Li Ming, the Chinese ambassador to the Solomon Islands.
The Prime Minister also used the ceremony to dismiss suggestions that funds invested in Pacific Games projects could have been redirected to other sectors. He clarified that investments brought in by the Games have leveraged other infrastructure projects such as the international airport upgrade and the Kukum Highway Phase construction.
Sogavare said: “It is the 2023 Pacific Games projects that saved Solomon Islands from total economic collapse during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when the global, regional, and our very own economy contracted.”
He added: “Funds provided by donors to the 2023 Pacific Games are for that purpose only and are not available to or cannot be redirected to other priorities – so if we do not use them for the Pacific Games, we lose them.”
Sogavare also said that a process has begun to develop a long-term legacy and business plan for the use and maintenance of each facility that will be used during the Games.
CCECC, the co-stadium contractor alongside CSADI, has agreed to provide maintenance support to the stadium facilities for a period of 24 months from the date the main facility was handed over to the Solomon Islands government.
The stadium project was completed in 26 months. The handing-over ceremony was held ahead of the Games, which are scheduled to take place from November 19 to December 2 in the capital city of Honiara.