I just want to contribute to the issue highlighted above.
I am also with those that think the flight to China may not be a good idea, and the reason, as highlighted by others in various forums, is because we cannot afford to have an importation of the Covid-19 virus.
Some say that those coming from Australia and New Zealand present similar risks, but I disagree.
First, most of those that have returned from Australia and New Zealand are Solomon Islanders. Most are from areas where there are zero or minimal cases of Covid-19. We also know that most are not able to move around (mainly because of finance), and risk being exposed.
Also, in both countries, we have been able to follow through the media what both governments are doing to manage these clusters and the level of testing that has been carried out. Their Prime Ministers and Premiers have been updating the public on a daily basis - very transparent and open about the level of cases, where the clusters are and what they are doing about it. So that brings confidence to me that those returning are not at risk – as highlighted above they are not from areas or clusters that have experienced an outbreak of Covid-19.
Compare that to those that we wish to bring in from China. We do not know from which part of China they are from. We do not know for certain the level of Covid-19 cases there are in China because what we hear is from State run media outlets. More recently we have read of a new virus deadlier than Covid-19 being detected in China. So, yes, I am scared and worried. We cannot be complacent, the games, for all its benefits, should not be given priority.
With the Pacific Games this is what I am worried about. First, yes infrastructure is good for the country – but these are all sporting infrastructure. It is for a specific purpose – for sports. Right now, the Olympic games has been cancelled and dates shifted as have other sporting tournaments. True 2023 is a long way away and we need to start and prepare, but this is my second question.
The USD$100 million is a combination of grant and loan – we will need to be able to repay some of the money. But here is the problem – we are in the middle of a health and economic crises. Experts say it will take few more years before there is a vaccine. So, for the next few years we will expect a big contraction in our economy – highly likely we will have negative growth.
So, when we come out of this crisis, we will be in a very weak position economically. How will we service this debt? As stated, these are not economic infrastructures, these are sporting facilities, so it will not generate new economic activity.
Even if we can argue our way around this issue, let’s say we build the stadiums and open up for the games in 2023. Countries in the Pacific region would also be in recovery mode, they are also some of the most vulnerable economies in the World - will they be able, or want to spend millions to send athletes to compete?
It is important to have a sensible debate around this issue, the last thing we want is to play host to another countries flagship project to promote itself – at the cost of unsustainable debt levels.
Flight to China and the Pacific Games
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Glen Tani and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
What do you think? Any Comments?
Comment here or write your own Letter to the Editor.
Disclaimer: Solomon Times Online may edit or delete your comment and cannot guarantee that all submissions will be published or remain online. The comments expressed on these page are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.