It is the monsoon season, with the weather bureau predicting unstable weather – perhaps into and during the Pacific Games. Some say it is not the government's fault since the Pacific Games Council determined the dates for the games. But, if the weekend's wild weather is anything to go by, authorities need to step up.
Another cloud is also looming over the games – this is, many say, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s signature event, a showcase to the region, and perhaps the wider World, of the fruits of the friendship he established with China. The Prime Minister has made these games his own, in defiance of the many critics, and is now ready to reap the rewards with the opening of the games.
But dark clouds are looming - figurative clouds - which could lead to poor decisions being made, all in the name of the Pacific Games.
The Prime Minister is openly worried that there are certain elements seeking to disturb the games and has gone to great lengths to ensure the games are safe for visiting contingents.
“As part of the preparation for the Pacific Games 2023, People's Republic of China's Ministry of Public Security increased the personnel input of the China Police Liaison Team as well as conducted comprehensive security training for the RSIPF police officers,” Mr Sogavare's office said in a statement.
Mr. Ding Yonghua, Charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Solomon Island, openly stated during the recent opening of the SINU dormitory that the China Police Liaison Team (CPLT) will support with the security arrangements for the games.
Such an arrangement is worrying, given the fact that the Prime Minister signed a policing pact with China, the content of which remains a secret.
Will the CPLT build its presence in the country under the pretext of protecting infrastructures funded by their government? Such security arrangements will only serve to heighten geopolitics in the region and could distract our visitors during the games.
Governments in the Pacific have spent millions to send their athletes to participate in the games – playing geopolitics under the guise of the Pacific Games is not the Pacific Way. There are some countries that do not adhere to the one-China policy, so some consideration should be given to how their governments will interpret such actions.
Already Australia has sent 100 federal police officers last Wednesday, with Papua New Guinea (PNG) sending in 45 police officers last Friday. Is this arrangement not enough? The games should be a showcase of sporting prowess within the region – not a showcase of how clumsy our foreign relations are being managed.