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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Samoa Opposition Leader Decries Casino Plans
Faapo worries about social problems, crime

By Unumoe Esera

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 23, 2013) – The leader of the Opposition, Palusalue Faapo II, says he is totally against the government's plans to build a casino on 500 acres of land at his territorial constituency of Safata.

However, he admit that the relevant "law has been passed so there is nothing I can do about it, "he says in an interview with the Sunday Samoan yesterday.

Palusalue says the Government is focusing only on the benefits to be made from this venture but is not considering the consequences that will follow.

"The employment opportunities and money that Safata will receive from this is nothing compared to the welfare of the people," he says.

"The villages and the public will be affected by social problems and crimes once casinos are introduced. The Government has prioritized money instead of the wellbeing of our people and we are a Christian nation as Samoa is founded on God.

It is not a Christian principle to accept casinos to be built in our country," he said.

He added that the Alii and Faipule of Safata would be vigilant in their observations when the casino does operate and come into effect so that no illegal activities or other problems will arise from it.

"The issue of the casino saddens me and it is something that I worry about when it comes to mind. It happens in overseas countries, you see the poverty that it creates when people become addicted to gambling," he said.

Asked when these plans will be implemented, "I don’t know, nothing is certain yet. The Government is always making promises that they do not fulfill," he said.

He was also uncertain of where the casino will be built but said it may be the acres of land owned by the Catholic Church where the Hideaway Hotel was once situated.

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