According to a news brief from the East West Center's Pacific Island Report and Fijilive.com, ground was broken on Fiji's first casino yesterday. The U.S.-owned $162.7M project is slated for completion in 2013.
Government officials announced with fanfare that the luxury casino, hotel and convention center project will provide 1600 jobs. The new casino and convention center complex will create 900 construction jobs and another 700 more permanent positions once the entire complex which consists of a casino, convention center, and hotel are constructed.
No doubt Fijians will gain employment from entertainment and other peripheral industries associated with gambling once the juggernaut starts rolling in earnest. Fiji is counting on bringing in Chinese visitors to fill the gaming tables and the hotel rooms.
Bainimarama said the government’s priority is to provide for the prosperity for the nation and build livelihoods. He said the project will be completed with the principles of transparency, compliance and professionalism.
He also said the United States Company known as One Hundred Sands Limited that was granted the license will bring professionalism and high standards. It's a FJ$290 million [US$162.7 million] investment that is expected to be completed by September 2013.
That remains to be seen.
In an earlier press release Commodore Bainimarama cited in lofty terms that the casino represents a blending of Western know how combined with age-old Fijian culture.
Think of it as Vegas meets Taukei.
Said the Prime Minister:
"This project provides a malleable fusion between the Western ideals of casino gaming with the strong cultural virtues of tribal and community life. This fusion is what we seek... considering our own national pride in, and respect for the value of the unique, yet united cultures present among all Fijians," he added.
I can't think of anything more wholesome than gambling as the foundation for building strong cultural values.
Stay tuned for further developments.
Top photo features Chief Carl D. Sampson associated with One Hundred Sands Limited (left) and Commodore Bainimarama (right).