Vila Times

Guam to host Pacific Games 2019 for US$8.5 million

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The Pacific Games in 2019, which the Kingdom of Tonga declined to host, could become Guam’s financial responsibility at a cost of US$8.5 million.

Governor Eddie Calvo announced that he supports the Guam National Olympic Committee’s bid to host the 16th Pacific Games in 2019, The Guam Daily reports.

The governor wrote to the Pacific Games Council, based in Fiji, on Aug. 21 that Guam’s “executive branch, with the cooperation of the Guam Legislature, will work to provide the necessary support and legislation to fund the cost of hosting the 2019 Pacific Games.”

The Guam National Olympic Committee, which is making the bid to host the Pacific Games, formerly known as the South Pacific Games, has estimated the cost for Guam to host the games is about US$8.5 million over two fiscal years.

The potential cost of hosting the games in Guam will have to be weighed as part of ongoing budget talks. On Monday, those talks included discussions that the Guam Department of Education has been unable to pay US$7 million in obligations because of a cash-flow problem.

Legislative Speaker Benjamin Cruz, who is chairman of the budget-writing appropriations committee, had a few words on the proposed cost of the Pacific Games: The local government and its taxpayers can’t afford it.

“There isn’t enough to go around as it is,” the speaker said. “How can there be enough for games? This is math, not politics.”

The government of Guam may have to budget US$1.1 million in the coming fiscal year and US$7.4 million next year, the governor wrote, if the council were to choose Guam.