Flosse personally benefitting from casino plans - Temaru
The former president of French Polynesia and says the current president, Gaston Flosse, could be personally benefitting from a proposed new casino in Tahiti.
The former president of French Polynesia and mayor of Faa'a, Oscar Temaru, says the president, Gaston Flosse, could be personally benefitting from a proposed new casino in Tahiti.
The US$3billion resort and casino has been proposed by the government to boost employment and tourist numbers.
But Oscar Temaru told Christopher Gilbert the only thing it will help is the president's bank account.
OSCAR TEMARU: This country's known throughout the world as a beautiful country without a casino. Since 2004 Mr Gaston Flosse has got the right to give the authorisation to those foreign investors who would like to build a casino in our country. We are strongly opposed to that project. We don't need a casino in this country. A casino means to us laundering of money, mafia, prostitution, and all that. We don't need that in this beautiful country.
CHRISTOPHER GILBERT: Considering the country's languishing economy and also the falling, consistently falling, tourism numbers would not some foreign investment be welcome at the moment?
OT: You know we have different ways to development the economy of a country. It's not really the development of the economy that of our country that Mr Flosse is interested in, in this project of having a casino. While I was the president of this country I was approached by some investors from foreign countries. They wanted to buy all of the hotels in this country. But there was one condition: they need the authorisation from the president to have a casino in this country. And I told them I will never give them the authorisation, never and never. And they told me 'well, you know sir, we can give you a huge amount of money. You go to the Bahamas, have a bank account, and you will have 10 million US dollars in your bank account.' Gaston Flosse knows that. That's why he wants a casino in this country. He wants to go to his retirement with a golden purse.
CG: So you're saying that the president is doing it out of personal interest?
OT: That's it! That's always the way of Gaston Flosse used to deal or develop anything in this country. You can be sure there's always corruption behind eveything.
CG: Will a casino attract tourists and have them stay longer?
OT: No, no, no I don't think so. You have 7 million visitors in Hawaii, they don't have a casino and we don't need a casino in this country.
CG: So what will the social impact of a casino be on the Tahitian people?
OT: Oh boy, all of those poor people, those poor families, they will get their payment on Friday and all of that money will go to the casino. Who will suffer? The poor kids in those families and the wives. So that's why we're strongly opposed to that project.
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