Niue Lawn Bowls calls for NISCGA President and VP resignations

Photo: President of Niue Lawn Bowls Desmond Hipa

Niue Lawn Bowls is calling on National Sports Body President Maru Talagi and two senior officials Tony Edwards and Sidney Lui of the NISCGA Executive to resign. 

In a letter obtained by BCN News, Niue Lawn Bowls (NLB) President Des Hipa called for an ‘Official Enquiry of the B2022CG Team Niue Officials’.

Mr Hipa said they are extremely disappointed and deeply concerned at the lack of transparency and accountability and the poor governance of the National sporting body NISCGA. 

“Three months away from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (B2022 CG) our sports code is extremely disappointed and deeply concerned as to the lack of good governance, accountability and transparency provided by the Niue Island Sports Commonwealth Games Association (NISCGA) and its Commonwealth Games (CG) officials: namely the Chef de Mission (CDM) Tony Edwards and the General Manager (GM) Sidney Lui”

“We are calling on the President of NISCGA Maru Talagi, CDM Tony Edwards and GM Sidney Lui to resign immediately from your posts and thereby calling for an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly to fully address all these issues.”

Niue Lawn Bowls raised their concerns at the lack of communication from the NISCGA executive and the poor coordination of Team Niue heading to the Commonwealth games by the chef de mission Tony Edwards and Team Manager Sidney Lui. 

Featured in the letter were concerns over the selection of the teams to the commonwealth games, the appointment of new members to the Executive with Brad Ikinepule and Shield Palahetogia who are not affiliated to any sporting codes on the island and the poor transparency on the organisations budget and expenditure.

The letter raised concerns over the lack of transparency of the $48,500 provided for the development of the sports codes that will be heading to the Commonwealth games. 

The Niue lawn bowls had not received any of this funding, yet they make up the largest sports team for the Games and the only team whose members actually live in Niue. They are now calling on a full financial report of how this money has been spent. 

The four-page letter detailed the Niue Lawn Bowls’ concerns and requests for a formal enquiry into the management of the national sports body making particular requests for several financial reports. 

“It is of urgency that this is acted upon immediately in order to prevent any further negative impacts and loss of integrity for Niue sports, both nationally and internationally. It is also important for these matters to be addressed with urgency to ensure that there will be no impact on Niue’s future association with the Commonwealth Games Federation.”

BCN News reached out to CDM Tony Edwards for comment last week, but he did not respond.

Niue Lawn Bowls is one of several sporting codes that are affiliated members of the Niue Island Sports Commonwealth Games Association.  

Meanwhile, the Archery sports code that nominated the ousted NISCGA Treasurer Christabel Kaukasi Talagi had also written with their concerns to the NISCGA President Maru Talagi last week.

Archery President Losana Sioneholo in a letter dated 21st April delivered it directly to the NISCGA President Maru Talagi at their last Executive Meeting on 22nd of April.

She expresses the concerns of the Niue Archery Association regarding the treatment of Mrs Christabel Kaukasi-Talagi.

“The Niue Archery Association (NAA) is concerned about serious allegations levelled against the NISCGA Treasurer Mrs Christabel Kaukasi-Talagi in your letter dated 18 April 2022. Mrs Kaukasi-Talagi is the NAA Treasurer, was nominated by the NAA and duly elected as NISCGA Treasurer at the General Assembly meeting on 12 April 2019. The NAA has been an affiliated member of NISCGA since 2018.”

The NAA stands ready to support Mrs Kaukasi-Talagi should the allegations levelled against her prove false and she opts to file a defamation case against NISCGA,” said Mrs Sioneholo.

In response, the NISCGA President Maru Talagi explained the process in matters concerning the removal of executive members.

He further added “That is the process and precedence set and adopted by the 2017 Executive Committee in the removal of the then President of NISCGA from office. I leave it to you to determine the role and rights of an Affiliate member of NISCGA to intervene or have any say in the process referred to above.”

The NISCGA President in an authoritarian tone threatened the membership of the Archery Association for questioning NISCGA decisions with this response.

“I am not too enamoured with the way an Affiliate Sports Association questioned the integrity and leadership of the NISCGA Executive Committee without concrete evidential proof. I must also remind that NIAA status as an affiliate sports association of NISCGA is conditional upon satisfying the affiliation requirements.”

Earlier today Niue Lawn Bowls President Des Hipa informed BCN News that they had not received a response to their letter.

The matter is now raised with the Niue government when the NLB Executive met with the Minister of Sports Hon. Sauni Tongatule today.

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