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Exclusive: Fiji casino resort in doubt

By James Wilkinson on Denarau Island, Fiji

Fiji’s integrated casino project on Denarau Island remains in doubt, with developers now paying a USD$100,000 fine each month until the project opens.

And the situation on Denarau Island is the land where the casino, hotel and convention centre is proposed to be located has barely been cleared, meaning realistically the project is at least 24 months away from completion should it start this week.

Speaking exclusively to HM on camera at the opening of stage three at the Wyndham Resort Fiji Denarau Island this week (Oct 22), Fiji’s Attorney General and Tourism Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said he is hopeful the project is completed to give Fiji a much-needed large scale events facility.

“I hope it happens,” he said. “We have given them a significant amount of time and we wrote to them a few weeks back and said they needed to show cause [as] to why we should not revoke the license.

“There is a condition under the license that was issued to them that they need to pay USD$100,000 per month should they not open the doors by October 1, 2013, which they have for the month of October, but we’d rather they open the casino.

“But if they do show cause and its palatable then we’ll continue with it, but if it’s not acceptable by us, then we’ll need to go back to the drawing board, revoke the license and we’ll have to call for fresh tenders,” he said.

Fiji Casino

In early October, project owners One Hundred Sands Limited told the Fiji Times they planned to proceed with the FJD$290 million development and were in “no rush” because they “want to do it right”, according to Chairman Larry Claunch.

“There are many works involved like the architecture planning and many other documentation works as well. But, yes, we are definitely still interested in the project,” he told the Fiji Times.

In the interview, Sayed-Khaiyum also revealed the Momi Bay development, a resort that has remained almost built and never completed for several years on the Coral Coast, should re-start construction in the first quarter of 2014.

He also spoke about employment in Fiji and much more.

To view the exclusive interview, click on the YouTube image above.

Fiji Airways A330 EDITED HM

HM flew to Nadi with Fiji Airways. The former Air Pacific has a new name and a new fleet of Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which operate to Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the United States from Fiji. The airline also operates flights across the Pacific –primarily on next-generation Boeing 737s – and on each flight you can expect friendly Fijian hospitality, good-quality meals and beverages. For bookings, visit www.fijiairways.com

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