Casino Building Plans Have Been Historically Opposed in Fiji

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) is deeply concerned that the government has invited expressions of interest for the development and operation of a casino in Fiji, despite widespread opposition expressed against that proposal last year.

Historically, there has always been a widespread opposition to the idea of opening a casino in Fiji. Previous elected governments had to shelve proposals for casinos due to the concerns expressed by individuals, civil society, religious organisations and parliamentarians.

CCF and several other civil society groups and individuals, had expressed concern last year, against the building of a casino in Fiji because it is known world over that casinos can have collateral damages. CCF is also concerned that the plans to build a casino is going ahead without any process that would be equivalent to parliamentary debate and public consultation,” CCF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rev Akuila Yabaki said.

If a casino does get built in Fiji, suitable regulations need to be in place to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to:
  • The impact on social welfare and culture;
  • The casino is restricted to tourists or those with a certain income threshold;
  • Measures to reduce possibilities of gambling addictions;
  • Fiji does not become susceptible to new crimes due to the influx of gambling tourists.
An Oxfam 2006 report found that the operation of a foreign-owned casino in Vanuatu since the 1980s, had not generated any increase in tourist numbers and neither had it generated any economic growth. The report further found that all the profits were repatriated overseas and none were reinvested back in Vanuatu. Although initially intended for the wealthy tourists, the report found that in recent times, the casino in Vanuatu was being patronised more by the poorer ni-Vanuatu, including women market vendors, hoping to strike it rich. The casino has created a growing social problem of gambling in Vanuatu.

In June 2010, the Solomon Islands Democratic Party had called for a reform of gambling legislation because of the social problems being caused by casinos in the capital Honiara.

Rev Akuila Yabaki
Chief Executive Officer
CCF Media Release 1 Nov. 2010


NO cASINO said…
Cannot agree more with CCF. Fiji is not ready for such a proposal.
New QUOTE said…
Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing” -- Aristotle (384-322 BCE)

It appears our PM has a different take on this...if being honest he would say something like this

"Criticism is something I've stopped. That why I have a PER and remian in charge of the military."
actru said…
Dear Croz,

The CCF are not pro-coup and pro-military like you and us. They are not taking the country forward. They are the old elite, not the new ones like us. You should censor them out like you have coup four point 5.
Courts are working said…
News : Ratu Saki NOT GUILTY

Let me start with the good news in this verdict. It indicates to me that despite the commentary of some our courts are actually functioning independently. Thats a good thing. No, that's a great thing.

The other positive is I hope the Military and PM now step back from their vendetta program and "move forward" (as they are always saying) rather than continue to seek retribution against anyone associated with the previous government.

The military and PM have effectively taken a capable executive out of the picture for 4 years, restricted his travel and caused hima huge expense bills in legal fees and loss of income. Rule by decree mean he has no way of recouping that or his job which you must now say he like many others had no reason to lose.

And they complain about not being able to attrack talent from Australia ?

And what about FICAC ? It's a great idea and important for the future of Fiji to have a body like FICAC. However using it in the manner the PM and military have done devalue the whole concept.

Ficac can not be a tool of the military no more than it can be a tool of the government of the day. It too must be independant.

This is how FijiLive reported it...

Former AFL boss Tuisolia walks
November 01, 2010 04:09:32 PMA+ A- | | | Former Airports Fiji Limited chief executive Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia has been acquitted by the Suva High Court today.

Ratu Tuisolia was set free of all six charges against him by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) following a unanimous not guilty decision by the three assessors.

High Court judge Justice Sitambarrampillai Thurairaja also acquitted Ratu Tuisolia of the six charges.

Ratu Tuisolia was charged with three counts of fraudulent conversion and three counts of keeping false accounts
in his term as CEO at Airports Fiji Limited.
PM will apologise yes ? said…
Just read that Ratu Tuisolia has been found not guilty. So we can expect a personal apology from the PM now given he ordered Ratu to be nailed on something, anything for being aligned to our former PM and married to a outspoken human rights lawyer ?
Boring Soph said…
Oh God, they're at it again. I thought this kind of nonsense would end after Dallas Swinstead got hold of these idiots at the Fiji Times. Not so.
Fiji Times associate editor Sophie Foster praised the status of media freedom in Samoa as a four-day regional Media for Democracy and Human Rights workshop ended here yesterday.

The workshop, organised by the International Federation of Journalists, brought together journalists from around the region to discuss the status of media freedom.

It also assessed issues regarding freedom of expression in the region.

Foster said she was from a country where rigid censorship laws existed.

“I feel fortunate to be able to come to Samoa and see a vibrant press and broadcasting industry,” she said.

“In Fiji, we have many challenges, not the least of which is censorship.”

Foster said this had become a huge obstacle to fair and accurate reporting.
Freedom in Samoa? Yeah right. Along with self righteous politicians, drugs and guns. Sophie Foster wanders around with her eyes closed. Still harping on, still a monumental bore.
Dealing a bad hand said…
I agree with Akuila Yabaki. The problem with casinos is that you can keep the locals out with special laws, but you're creating a kind of apartheid that hasn't been seen in Fiji since whites-only bars in the 1950s. Very tacky. It says - "we don't trust our people to behave responsibly in such a place".

You're also sending a message to locals that there's something so desirable and worthwhile happening inside that the nanny state has to protect you from yourself. And it's bound to fuel a gambling culture in Fiji anyway because of the glamour that will be associated with a place you can't get into.

Then there's the issue of what sort of problems we're creating when any local with a foreign passport or relatives of locals from overseas will be able to play at the tables while his kai vata are forced to wait outside.

OK, I might be prepared to compromise if the Government insists, as a condition of its licence, that this place is called the Robin Hood casino, the casino Fiji specifically built to rob the rich and gullible to give to the deserving poor. But we can be sure that won't happen. The problem is that these places are always given romantic names to add to their allure, like Stardust or something with "dreams" in it.

Better not to go down this road in the first place. Unfortunately, it'll happen because government is as transfixed by the dollar signs as sure as the guy in front of the poker machine trying to keep up with the revolving lemons.
No to the casino! said…
Yabaki is right. The experience in Australia is that state governments become so dependent on gambling revenue that they become like heroin addicts on a perpetual drip. Because of the vast income flows, It robs them of the incentive to develop industries that are more beneficial for ordinary people and provide them with jobs. What's so uplifting about training a croupier class in Fiji? Casinos also give the gambling barons far more power than is desirable in the public interest. Gaming is as insidious as alcohol in drawing the weak and defenceless into a cycle of addiction. Is this something Fiji wants to exploit? I think the country will be a lot poorer in terms of its own self image for sacrificing its principles with one roll of the dice. Shame on the regime for going down this track.
Justice done said…
To all the Saki cheerleaders who've come here to crow: justice has been done and the man is free. That doesn't mean he didn't have a case to answer. Leave the PM out of it.
Anonymous said…
@ PM will apologise yes?

Why should the PM apologise?

If you have proof that PM ordered the FICAC to lay false charges then please post here or forward to Croz.
Seqa ni dina, seqa ni savasava said…
"Dealing a Bad Hand", you talk about a Robin Hood casino robbing the gullible rich to give to the deserving poor. The problem is that the rich - what casino operators call Whales - are just the tip of the iceberg in these places and the real profits come from The Mugs, average wage and salary earners who keep these places afloat and can often ill afford to be there.

A significant number of people are addicted to gambling in the same way others are addicted to drink. Keeping the locals out of any casino in Fiji doesn't remove the fact that this is a sordid, exploitative business that preys on the weakness of those tempted by a quick buck. Governments also become addicted to the revenue they produce so my guess is that any ban on locals won't be permanent, just as other forms of gambling have steadily taken hold in Fiji in recent years.

Let's join the CCF and other groups in Fiji in fighting this proposal to the hilt. This will be a big test of the regime's willingness to tolerate opposition and it will be judged very harshly if it fails the test on such an important issue. We may not be a democracy but whatever the political situation, the regime has no right to introduce initiatives like this that have such far- reaching social consequences without a proper debate.

Waiting for the Methodist Church to announce its position is pointless. The regime is not in a mood to take any notice of church leaders so other institutions need to take up the fight. What the regime doesn't seem to understand is that a foreigners-only casino will fuel other social problems here like prostitution and glamourise something that is inherently sordid. Anyone who's been inside a casino overseas will know exactly what I mean. Temples to greed that Fiji should say no to, not embrace.

If this government really wants to create a "better Fiji", it should set a better example to our kids than allow the creation of places that promote the message that life is a game of chance and fortunes are altered with a throw of the dice. The money we get "for the poor" will be dirty money and we will all be poorer for going down this track.
Walker Texas Ranger said…
If a Casino is to be established in Fiji it needs to be of the highest quality and regulation. Having taken a good look at the one on offer in The Economist magazine, it is debatable whether this passes muster. Poor construction, poor location: not The Bellagio - that is for sure. Gamblers may not be too fussy about location but they do expect luxury on site (one knows a few, serious gamblers). They expect first class service at every turn. Will this be the case? Will the regulation be fool-proof? What do the neighbours think? Let alone the rest of society. Running a profitable Casino requires experience and savvy. It also requires first class security. Anyone who has visited Las Vegas, Macao, London-Mayfair and Gleneagles is aware of this. Do we want to place ourselves in any other league? Doubtful. An appeal to the Lower Orders will attract just that. Is that snobby? No, it is justified scepticism and some experience.

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