Work Starts At Delayed Fiji Casino Site On Denarau

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Company paying fines of $100,000 a month for not completing project

By Repeka Nasiko

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 26, 2014) – Casino developers, One Hundred Sands Limited, will soon respond to public speculation about the construction of the multi-million dollar casino that is yet to take shape near Denarau Island in Nadi.

This was confirmed by company chairman Larry Claunch who told this newspaper in an electronic message he would be giving a press statement on April 1 at the casino site.

The response from the company comes in light of signs of activity now evident at the construction site.

A team from this newspaper travelled to the site yesterday and witnessed large trucks carrying gravel to the area while diggers were clearing out land.

Mr Claunch has maintained the company's intention to construct the $290 million [US$156 million] casino despite a fine of more than $185,000 to be paid each month to the government.

One Hundred Sands was granted an exclusive licence to construct and manage Fiji's first casino on Denarau Island in December 2011.

Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony in April that year and construction of the $290m casino was expected to be completed by October last year.

The government had revealed that under the terms of the licence, One Hundred Sands would be required to pay the government $US100,000 ($185,668) in penalty each month the project remained incomplete, beginning October 1, 2013.

Last month, Attorney-General and Minister for Tourism Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed the company had been paying their fines. He said the government would have further talks with the company to discuss the proposed construction of the casino.

The company had said earlier about 1600 locals were expected to be employed during the construction and operation of the casino.

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