SINIS Will Not Close: Nieng
An unresolved salary issue and expiring work contracts has prompted the Solomon Islands National Institute of Sports (SINIS) High Performance centre to close its doors starting tomorrow.
The High-Performance centre says its staff contracts will expire tomorrow the 2nd of February 2024.
But speaking to SIBC news in an exclusive interview today, Executive Director of the National Hosting Authority (NHA), Christian Nieng confirms that they are working on extending staff contracts until March this year.
He emphasized that there is no intention to permanently close SINIS, stating that payments will be made tomorrow.
“There is no intention to close SINIS, but I do understand there is an outstanding salary issue that needs to be paid. Everything has been sorted out already and they will all receive their payments tomorrow.”
“The National Hosting Authority and the National Sports Council are now working on extending their contracts until the 31st of March 2024, which a notice will be issued to them in the next twenty-four hours regarding this. We will then discus how the institution will be managed after the month of March,” Mr. Nieng said.
SINIS Executive Director Aaron Alsop made a statement earlier today saying it would be devastating to see all those years of work lost.
He said they had made attempts to discuss the matter with responsible authorities but to no avail.
“I can confirm that SINIS staff contracts ends on 2nd February (tomorrow). To date, NHA, MHA or NSC have not met with SINIS to discuss the future of the High-Performance program or the SINIS staff contracts despite our best efforts.”
“We have proven that every program and service at SINIS has made a significant impact on high performance sport in the country and now the provinces want us to help duplicate this model in their region. Other countries are now copying what we have done as a blueprint for success.”
“Remembering what the sport system looked like only a few years, to where we are today, it would be devastating to see all those years of work lost, the statement reads.
The news of the closure has stirred mixed emotions among athletes and coaches.
An emotional Jovita Ambrose, one of the top female sprinters in the country in a press conference this morning expressed her dissatisfaction to the News.
She emphasized that athletes really need SINIS to help them improve in their sporting careers.
‘We need this place. SINIS is a home for the athletes in the country, we really need this place in order to improve in our respective sporting careers.”
“It is very sad if the authorities close it, this is what we need, it is our home, our future,” Ms. Ambrose stressed.
SIBC News understands, the Solomon Islands National Institute of Sport is an initiative of the Solomon Islands Government, to support athletes, coaches and National Federations of Solomon Islands who compete at international competitions, including sports that represent Team Solomons at the major multi-sport events .
It is funded by the Solomon Islands Government.
By Simon Tavake