The Malaita Premier Hon. Edwin Suibaea has welcomed the opportunity given to his province to host some activities during the upcoming 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in Solomon Islands in July 2012.

The National Organising Committee of Solomon Islands has identified Malaita and Central Islands Provinces as potential co-hosting venues for some festival activities.

A 3-man delegation from the National Organising Committee has held consultation meetings with Premier Suibaea, members of the Provincial Executive and senior administrative staff on the co-hosting proposal early this week.

During the 2 days consultations, Premier Suibaea told the visiting delegation that Malaita is willing to co-host the event if adequate assistance in terms of financial and technical resources is given to the province as soon as possible.

He added that the Province will certainly make its financial and technical contributions but the magnitude of the festival will certainly need external assistance to speed up preparations in Auki.

Premier Suibaea acknowledged that the country is running against time to host the event and calls on the National Government through the National Organising Committee to move quickly with preparations.

During the meeting, the parties discussed issues ranging from a showground, finances, public infrastructure and facilities such as electricity, water and sanitation, waste management, security, accommodation, catering and unique cultural and artistic activities that Malaita will showcase to its visitors as a host province.

Team leader of the visiting delegation, Charles Matanani informed the Provincial Executive that the National Government through the NOC is keen to help the province prepare for the festival in all areas that are highlighted during discussions.

He said it is encouraging to note that the Province has already identified a Provincial Organizing Committee to spear head planning and ground work during the preparation process.

Malaita Culture and Tourism Officer, Jackson Le'a who is the key liaison officer for the festival said a full Provincial organizing committee is expected to be set up by the end of this week.

Provincial Secretary Malaita Province, Harold Leka has also indicated that his administration is prepared to allocate an Office Space for a Festival Secretariat in Auki to host Festival Administrative matters during the preparation process.

The visiting FOPA delegation also went on field visits to identify potential sites for a Festival Village and Show ground on the West Coast of Auki town.

Auki with its reliable sea, air and land transportation system and lively commercial activities has already successfully hosted previous big events including the MSG meeting in 1997, the 29th Independence Anniversary in 2007 and the recent Solomon Games in 2010.

A second consultation meeting between the NOC and Malaita Province is expected at the end of this month.

Source: Press Release, Festival of Arts Committee