Fiji Times Logo

Fiji Time: 2:13 PM on Wednesday 3 September

/ Front page / News

NO casino

Margaret Wise
Saturday, June 28, 2014

IN a region where governments were viewed as a force that routinely ignored them, rural Ra has learnt to survive on the very basic of needs.

And a The Fiji Times survey late May and early June found that people in the hinterlands don't care much about the legality of government or the workings of a democracy.

Mention the September election and one finds them contemplating the "bird in hand is worth two in the bush" dilemma.

As far as development is concerned, little has changed in Ra over the decades.

So based on experience, what they can physically see, and not what they will be promised, may decide how they vote come polling day.

As we are on the cusp of the campaign period, we also noted that the influence of religion and culture was quite strong — like in what people perceived to be right or wrong.

Take for example, the construction of a casino in Nadi.

Villagers expressed an outright resentment of its introduction.

Here is a sample of what some had to say.

"We do not support the idea of having a casino in Fiji because we believe it will have a bad influence on our younger generation," said Ratu Kavekini Natadra of Nubumakita Village.

Former Nasau district representative Meli Tokalau also echoed similar sentiments.

"The construction of the casino will lead to the destruction of our traditional culture and system," he said.

In the Nakorotubu district, The Fiji Times team visited the villages of Saioko and Verevere where they met Tomasi Daunivucu, 58, Mosese Dakai, 55, and Varayami Natuituba, 76.

"All the villagers are against the idea of casino because it will expose our young generation to be involved in this dirty business for the lure of getting easy money," said Mr Natuituba.

"The casino may generate money for the government on the other hand it will lead to exposure of our people to dangerous criminal activities," said Mr Daunivucu.

"We don't want the casino to be built it in Fiji because it is against the teachings of the church and the vanua," said Mr Dakai.

Villagers in the Kavula district of Nabukadra and Nayavutoka also expressed disappointment at the construction of the casino.

"We are happy with the developments made by the government but the major issue we don't like is the construction of the casino in Nadi," said Nabukadra villager Kelevi Saulaca, 57.

Fellow villager Samisoni Rokosuka, 59, added "the business involved with casino is against our religious and traditional beliefs therefore we do not support the idea".

At Nasukamai, Waisea Bainivalu, Usaia Bete, 38, Sivaniolo Namosi, 35, Semi Naqeleca, 17, Kepirieli Caucau,29, Waisea Dausiga, 30, Peni Navaroko, 29, and Apakuki Sevuniyabaki, 36, all raised their opposition to the idea of having casinos in Fiji.

"No one in our village supports the construction of casino," said Mr Bete.

"The government is concerned about the income it will bring but we would like them to consider the impact it will have on our children and those born after," said Mr Bainivalu.

"I believe that casinos will increase the crime rate because it will involve dirty business dealings," said Mr Sevuniyabaki.

In the district of Lawaki, Namara villagers Sikeli Lawa,52, and Isimeli Nuinui, 68, said casinos would have an influence on younger children and give them bad ideas.

"We don't support the construction of the casino in Fiji."

"The introduction of the casino in Fiji will destroy the traditional systems and culture of the iTaukei."

Manasa Luqa, 35, of Nailuva Village, said he hoped "government will re-consider its stand on the issue".


Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Golan crisis
  2. One dead, two in hospital
  3. 45 Fijian soldiers held captive
  4. Prayers of love and hope for blue helmets
  5. Hundreds sign petition opposing park development
  6. Cut in rent stamp duty
  7. Police ink training deal
  8. Candidate to moot for good health
  9. Screening important
  10. Wellness program

Top Stories this Week

  1. Commander confirms captured soldiers 'safe' Friday (29 Aug)
  2. Going Golan Monday (01 Sep)
  3. Show of support Thursday (28 Aug)
  4. Rebels take our soldiers Saturday (30 Aug)
  5. Tough but right Monday (01 Sep)
  6. Police assault claim Thursday (28 Aug)
  7. Military not taking sides Monday (01 Sep)
  8. Teen's ice bucket death Tuesday (02 Sep)
  9. 45 detained Tuesday (02 Sep)
  10. Nusra demands compensation, aid, for release of soldiers Tuesday (02 Sep)