|CODE BLUE: Bainimarama gowns up for the country. pic Fiji Live|
He's all scrubbed up and ready to do whatever Fiji needs to help it along, it seems.
According to the illegal prime minister the new Denarau casino will take Fiji's tourism industry to another level, generating nearly $300 million alone in the first instance and eventually more than 700 jobs.
Frank Bainimarama last night named the One Hundred Sands Limited company as the successful recipient of the first licence to build and run a casino, saying: “With the investments Government intends to make in providing vocational training to Fijians even out on rural islands, the concurrent developments of casinos and accommodations will introduce Fiji’s tourism sector into a niche market which thus far has only been accessible to developed economies."
Bainimarama says One Hundred Sands Limited was chosen because of its strong affiliation with Native American culture and it was 'pre-condition' that at least 20 percent of ownership be reserved for Native American interests.
He claimed: “Fiji does not wish to imitate Las Vegas in the Pacific. Fiji already has a unique brand, one defined by its uniquely pristine environment, tranquility and world class hospitality.
“This affiliation provides a malleable fusion between the Western ideals of casino gaming with the strong cultural virtues of tribal and community life."
The regime has said locals will not be allowed to gamble in the casino. It remains to be seen how real this is. In New Zealand, Australia and even America, it's the indigenous folk who've been the casualties of casinos built in the name of local development.
54 expressions of interest were received, 12 of them Fijian companies, five from Australia and 17 from the United Kingdom, the US and Asia.