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Aggie Grey’s backs Samoa PM in casino push

The Aggie Grey’s Reef Resort has thrown its weight behind Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s push for the establishment of casinos in Samoa.

In a rare media interview, Director of the country’s second largest employer, Lupesina Fred Grey tells the Sunday Samoan that criticisms levelled at Prime Minister Tuilaepa are “unfortunate.”

But he says it is time for people to accept the fact that casinos are here to stay.

“The law has been passed by Parliament and the process up until this point in terms of issuing the licenses has been very transparent and accountable,” says Lupesina.

“We’ve got to be able to see the bigger picture. We need to look at the possibility of creating more employment, foreign exchange, tourism development, new activities for tourism and taxes for the government and the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) which will ultimately benefit young people whether its through sport or education.”

Aggie Grey’s Beach Resort is one of two companies that have been issued with licenses by the Gambling Control Authority (GCA). The second license has been given to a China-based tourism group called Exhibition and Tourism Group (ETG).

At a time when the world’s economy is struggling, Lupesina hailed Prime Minister Tuilaepa as a “visionary.” He says the man “deserves a gold medal for his vision”.

“Samoa needs to be innovative and move ahead with the times.I think what the Prime Minister has done is great. He's a visionary in pushing Samoa ahead on all fronts and making it modern. Sure there are negatives with any changebut that is life.

“With everything, there will always be pros and cons. The important thing is that we learn to adapt and adjust so that we move ahead with these developments but we don't lose sight of what and who we are as a people.”

Lupesina points out that many of our social problems, especially theft and robbery, are the result of unemployment.

“There is a real need to create new jobs so that money is generated to stimulate the economy,” Lupesina says.“I’m thinking of not just the major business operators but also the men and women in the villages who are making handicrafts, printing elei materials, the taxi drivers, the fishermen, the restaurant and bar operators and so forth.

“So these casinos will not just benefit a few people but a whole country. The money generated from jobs and the business it will bring will have a flow on effect and it will benefit the country, including the churches.”

Lupesina says“the construction of the facility to host the casino at Mulifanua is making good progress.



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