The Ministry of Education, Sport and Training said this week it made the difficult decision to delay the date of the Micronesian Games. The decision was based heavily on recommendations from the Ministry of Works, Infrastructure and Utilities and the Micronesian Games Organizing Committee/Facilities Sub-Committee’s assessment of facility readiness for the July dates. This was discussed with President David Kabua and his Cabinet last month and the decision to delay was made following extensive discussion.
The statement issued to the Journal this week via the Marshall Islands National Olympic Committee is the first official statement from the government about the postponement of the Micronesian Games to 2024. The statement said:
“The international nature of the Micronesian Games requires that procurement of specialized materials and equipment and qualified experts be transported from countries around the world. Prolonged worldwide travel restrictions and freight and supply chain disruptions and delays, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and now the inability to receive air cargo due to APA’s cancelled services, presented a crippling challenge to our ability to complete facilities, develop critical infrastructure at these facilities and provide assurances to our Micronesian Games Associations that the facilities will be complete at this critical time. For this reason, it would be negligent to continue with this large-scale public event under the current circumstances.
“Dates are being discussed to reschedule the Games here in Majuro to a later date after communications with the Micronesian Games Council, the 10 Micronesian Games Associations and other sports leadership in our region.
“With our border restrictions finally lifted fully in November, we felt there was a possibility that we could successfully deliver the Games. However, after four months and ongoing consultations with key stakeholders, including the Micronesian Games Council Executives, the Micronesian Games Associations and the Micronesian Games Organizing Committee, we have made the difficult decision to delay.
“The quality of the Games and the safety of our guests were at the heart of this decision. “For the MGAs, athletes, officials, entourage and spectators, what could have been a significant loss of investment into the logistics of airline travel, delegation uniforms, athlete participation fees, accommodations and many other additional expenses were mitigated by this timely announcement. Locally, we understand and regret the gravity of the situation to our business community, service industry staff, and other partners who rely on the increased business that the Micronesian Games would have generated this summer.
“Following a visit by delegates from nine Micronesian Games Associations to Majuro for the Micronesian Games Council meeting earlier this year, MGC Secretary General Joey Miranda stated: ‘As we’ve witnessed during our venue tour in January, they made great progress towards the ongoing projects intended for the successful hosting of the Games. Unfortunately, with all the progress, we will not be able to experience the settings of the Games as was prepared for during the scheduled dates.’
“It is difficult to accept that this greatly-anticipated event cannot continue as planned for the scheduled dates. We understand that this is disappointing and inconvenient for our citizens and guests, and we extend our sincere apologies for these circumstances which are beyond our control. We look forward to the day when we can all come together once again and celebrate the Games that make Micronesia such a wonderful and connected community.”