Thursday, 27 January 2011 9:52 AM

Preparations For Pacific Arts Festival Delayed

Solomon Islands are eight months behind in its preparations for the 2012 Pacific Arts Festival.

The government won the bid to host the 2012 Pacific Arts Festival in 2004.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter Shanel, says that the government needs to hold talks with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to fast-track some of the work that needs to be done.

Minister Shanel says apart from the current lack of a national budget, the main challenge for Solomon Islands is the lack of infrastructure to host the huge cultural event.

"We are actually eight months behind unlike some of the countries that have in place infrastructures. We do not have this. We need to build the cultural village and other associate infrastructure that go with it like water and sanitation."

Despite the setbacks, the Foreign Affairs Minister says Solomon Islands should still host the 2012 Pacific Arts Festival to allow people to witness and take part in such a regional event of this scale.

He also says the onus is on the government to pass the budget to give the Committee a budget to work with.

"I want our children to see such a big event. Up to now we just heard of such big events. We have never participated in it or never been part of big events in the Pacific."

The Festival of Pacific Arts, or Pacific Arts Festival, is a traveling festival hosted every four years by a different country in Oceania. It was conceived by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community as a means to stem erosion of traditional cultural practices by sharing and exchanging culture at each festival. The major theme of the festival is traditional song and dance.