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SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, April 2) – The Fiji Methodist Church has rejected a proposal by an Australian company to set up business in a hotel in Nadi.

The church's general secretary, Reverend Ame Tugaue, said the church would always maintain its stand against gambling.

"The church has decided that it will not support the proposal and we would like to reiterate our stand that we are against gambling in any form because of the negative social impact it can have on a small country such as ours," Tugaue said. "If a person loses his life to gambling it cannot be replaced by any amount of money that the country could stand to benefit from such ventures."

The Australian casino company, in its proposal, promised to donate money from the casino profits to the church if it approved a casino to be set up in a 200-room hotel on Denarau Island.

The company took two Methodist ministers to view their operation in Australia and a report was submitted to the church committee which deliberated on it.

"The decision to allow the company to operate in Fiji lies with the Government but the church maintains its opposition to gambling.

The Fiji Council of Social Services also opposed the proposal.

FCOSS director Hassan Khan said they urged all social welfare organisations in Fiji to maintain their stand against gambling.

April 3, 2006

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