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Transcript of remarks by Chairman of Board of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority

The following is issued on behalf of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority:

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chairman of the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (Board Chairman), Mr Henry Tang, at a media session at Central Government Offices today (January 7):

Question:  You have two global searches already. You have come up with two people, both for different reasons resigned.  How would you address......

Board Chairman:  The two departures are entirely different circumstances and the circumstances are unique, so I would not put them together in the same basket.  Secondly, you remember, the recruitment exercise was conducted about a year ago.  A year has elapsed since then and I believe people's personal circumstances do change.  So we will embark on a global search immediately for his successor.

Reporter:  He is not the only person who left the authority. I mean you have people of different levels that have left in the authority, obviously it looks like something's wrong in there, how do you explain that?

Board Chairman:  You are jumping to conclusions. In Hong Kong, because we have a very big demand for talents in all fields, so regular turnover in the organisation is accepted.  We of course regret the departure of Mr Sheffield. In our press statement as agreed with Graham, he has made a few points of his own: he loves Hong Kong, he loves the team, he loves the project. It is for health reasons that he has to leave immediately.

Mr Allan Zeman:  Honestly I can say, it is really really true he did leave for health reasons, no other reason. He does love Hong Kong, he does love his job, he was advised by his doctor, and we only just found out that he has to leave because of health reasons.  So that is really really the factor and there is no other reason, so you don't have to think all the other stories.  Honestly that is the truth.

Reporter:  Secretary, given the whole length of time this project has taken from conception until now, a third search for a director, surely there is some sort of slippage in this whole project in moving forward. Can you prevent that and if so, how?

Board Chairman:  I have said in my statement that the project will go on as scheduled and as planned.

Reporter:  Everyone can see that two people have left after working for seven days and five months. Are you worried that actually no one will be willing to take up the post in the future?

Board Chairman:  All of you who are familiar with the arts and culture industry will know, this is the job of the moment. Everyone would be very keen to take over this position.  Therefore, we are not worried that we would not be able to recruit anybody.

Reporter: You said in your statement that it's not going to slip.  What steps are you going to take concretely to ensure that it won't fall behind?

Board Chairman: Our next major decision is the selection of the master layout plan. It will go on as scheduled. You just wait.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Friday, January 7, 2011
Issued at HKT 17:56


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