By ANDREW FANASIA
POLITICAL pressure has forced the chairman of the National Sports Council (NSC) Gabriel Suri to resign on Friday.
In his resignation letter, Suri said he found it amusing that politicians and administrative officers in the current government have politicised the position of NSC chairman.
“This is to score political points and not for advancement of sports and youth in the country,” Suri, a lawyer by profession, said.
Suri has been providing his personal service to this country to the best of his ability and there is very little for him to benefit from by continuing to serve in that position to the end of his term in April 2020.
“I have not been judged by any measure of my ability but by inherent political dislikes.
“And I suspect there may be individuals within the sports circle who may have felt intimidated daily by my presence in NSC and so for their self-preservation it would be good that I exited fast.
“For their greed and self-glory, that will occur that 4pm today (yesterday), “Suri stated.
Recently, he has been sending out emails contending that the National Hosting Authority (“NHA”) has been operating illegally by doing things outside its authorised statutory mandate.
By dealing with sport facilities the NHA is usurping the function of the Facilities Committee (“FC”), the NHA seemed to have the illusion that the FC has not been established.
He further stated that the FC as a body has been established by Parliament in the PG203 Act 2017. All that remains is for NHA to advise the Prime Minister of the names of the persons to be appointed as members of the FC.
The NHA and the Secretariat have been delaying the process of advising the PM of the names of members of FC for no justifiable reason at all.
“It seems that the NHA and the Secretariat are delaying the names to give NHA and the Secretariat time and space to perform the functions of FC themselves.
“This is a deliberate and manufactured contravention of the law. It strikes at the heart of sports governance and ethics,” Suri said.
Suri in his letter stated that the Secretariat at Town Ground, there is a Consultant called Clint Flood.
“When the Taskforce was undertaking consultations and preparation of reports for the Government, this Clint Flood unashamedly expressed his view to the Taskforce that there was no need for the Facilities Committee.
“He made those remarks although the FC had already been established by the Parliament. This consultant from Canada had shown contempt to the National Parliament of Solomon Islands.
“Thus, there is high possibility that the delay in naming the members of FC is a tactical delay instilled by Clint Flood in the brains of the Secretariat and the NHA,” he further added.
Suri said that there is only one reason why Clint Flood would want to do that. He wants to control the whole PG2023 and monopolise the whole games.
“It is my candid view that Clint Flood must be sent back to Canada. I would not be surprised he became the CEO of the Games Organising Committee as well.
“The persons who should be named to be in the FC should include the PS/MID, Clerk Honiara City Council, Director Environment, Principal KG VI School, NSC Representative,” Suri said.
Suri pointed out that the reason why the PG2023 Act 2017 has the provision that the Minister for PG2023 will appointment members of FC upon the advice (not recommendation) was to prevent the Minster from appointing political cronies.”
He added that they were not clever then to visualize that what we feared would germinate in NHA itself.
“The FC has failed in its reporting obligations because the NHA and the Secretariat caused the FC to default.
“The NHA and the Secretariat have missed the targets in the Addendum to the Host Agreement. The Cabinet and the PGC should be properly informed of this. The preparation would fast if Clint Flood is deported and the FC is established,” he added.
Suri said the PG2023 was conceptualised and promoted as NSC programme for development of sport facilities in and around Honiara.
“And I will be proud man if the PG2023 is hosted successfully because the concept was my personal innovation which was quickly accepted by NOCSI (PGA), NSC and MHA.
“The NSC still has its perpetual function to develop sports in the country. Sadly, the grant it receives is so meager that it can hardly assist NSC to develop sports in the country.
“Upon realizing the difficulty in increasing the NSC Budget, it was strategically planed that PG203 for 2019 be impregnated so that there would be development funds for High Performance and Sports Development which NSC can tap on.
“NSC badly needs funds to develop sports in the country,” Suri explained.
Suri also disclosed that NHA and Secretariat have given substantial monies to Royals football academy.
“I have the opinion that such expenditure is illegal and is not within the intention of the PG2023 Act. Those involved should be terminated immediately.
“I am shattered to see all these illegalities being carried out in NHA and the Secretariat when the Attorney General is a member of NHA, the SPM is the chairman of NHA and the PGC has a representative on the NHA in the body of the Chairman of the PGC itself.
“Hence, the inclusion of the CEO of PGC in this email.
“The effective time for his resignation was delayed to 4pm, Friday to allow NSC make necessary changes and handovers,” he stated in his letter obtained by this paper.
Suri said he will be away from Honiara as of tomorrow.