2 Jul 2013

US tribe's involvement in Fiji casino unclear

1:35 pm on 2 July 2013

There is uncertainty over whether a Native American tribe is still associated with the development of Fiji's first ever casino.

The government announced in December 2011 its decision to grant an exclusive casino licence to the American corporation, One Hundred Sands, in partnership with the Snoqualmie Tribe.

At the time, the relationship was described as a strategic one, with the tribe, which runs its own casino in Washington, to act in an advisory role.

It was also said to be promoting strong cultural ties between indigienous communities.

But the partnership has been challenged by a Chief who sent a letter to the Fiji government and the developer last year describing the deal as unauthorised as the tribe was embroiled in a leadership dispute.

The recently elected chairperson of the tribe, Carolyn Lubenau, told Radio New Zealand International that its involvement in the project is unclear and they are trying to get more information.

Attempts to contact the developer Larry Claunch for comment have not been successful.

Two weeks ago he announced that construction of the multi-million dollar project on Denarau Island had started.