The plans were vague at best, but stunning - thousands of five-star hotel rooms, 1300 residential units, a golf course, sporting facility, and of course a giant CASINO. An economic windfall of some $200M per year promised for the struggling community.
Immediately after the election, these plans were made public
|NEW ANTIGUAN PRIME MINISTER GASTON BROWNE|
SIGNS resort/CASINO DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT
WITH UNKNOWN CHINESE DEVELOPER AFTER
8 HOUR NEGOTIATION. GUESS WHO GOT ROLLED
ON THIS DEAL??
The Cairns Aquis Resort and CASINO? Nope.
This is the drama that's played out in the last two weeks in the tiny island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, a Commonwealth nation in the eastern Caribbean.
The developer? An unknown Mainland Chinese by the name of Yida Zhang. (A Chinese reader of HBW pointed out that one translation of "Yida" is "big liar").
And it's only one of a dozen or more proposals by Mainland Chinese to build resort casino projects around the world. Many of these projects just announced in the last few weeks!
PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS
The Bahamas were the kick-off location for the Chinese investment in resort and casino projects. The $US3.5Billion Bahamar Resort and Casino, the first one announced early in 2012, is fully under construction with both finance (US$2.4Billion) and construction being provided by Mainland Chinese companies. The money came from the Export-Import Bank of China.
The project guaranteed that 75% of the work would go to
Bahamian workers, however this hasn't eventuated. The Bahamian government issued over 8,150 work visas for Mainland Chinese construction workers - despite over 16% unemployment in the Bahamas and high unemployment in most of the caribbean island nations. Fully $2B in work was done by foreign workers, out of the $2.4B budget.
And with a 10,000 square meter casino floor (1 hectare), it's obvious what the financial plans entail. The resort includes a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, thousands of hotel rooms (including buildings managed by Hyatt and Mélia), and a pristine beachfront location.
The Bahamas government was promised a return of some $5.5Billion over 20 years by the Mainland Chinese developers. And the Chinese developers used the same licence "trick" to run their casino - at the outset they purchased a small local Bahamian casino, the Crystal Palace, and then strong-armed the government to allow them to transfer this licence to Bahamar. The new government, realizing the folly of letting the developer run the casino, forced the Chinese to finally install an experienced gaming partner to run the casinos.
To their credit, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas has been relatively tough on these Chinese investors into their tourism-dependent country.
But this isn't the only Chinese casino project. . .
Despite two voter referendums that have rejected the idea of casino gambling in this United States territory, a new Saipan government has solicited bids for a casino resort.
The bidders, both Mainland Chinese, are promising 2,000 five-star hotel rooms and $US2Billion projects. To even be considered, the Saipan government required a non-refundable payment of $US1Million from each of the proponents - which Saipan is using to engage casino and resort consultants from Las Vegas and Macau to analyze the bids and advise the Saipan government.
Saipan is four hours closer to Mainland China than Cairns.
In fact, over the last couple years the proposals to build resort/CASINOS by Mainland Chinese have skyrocketed.
These have included Taiwan, Malaysia, and a collapsed project in Samoa where widespread corruption became evident in the process. And this doesn't count the resort/CASINO projects already in development by the Koreans, the Japanese, and the Vietnamese - all who have historical reasons for blocking any Chinese participation in their projects.
The Chinese have even announced a Chinese-themed
|CHINESE-OWNED resort/CASINO NOW|
UNDERWAY ON LAS VEGAS STRIP
What are the national security impacts on small countries of these large projects? When a caribbean country like Antigua (population 80,000 - 90% black and creole) or the Bahamas (Population 310,000 - 85% african roots) or a Pacific Island country like Saipan (Population 45,000) - opens their doors to the scourge that is casino tourism, how do any of these places expect to then control the presence of the inevitable thousands of Chinese migrants to their countries?
Indeed, how does Cairns cope? We already have seen the impact of easy Chinese travel to Cairns - dozens of fraudulent colour advertisements in the Cairns Post advertising the organised prostitution that has now flooded into Australia. Been to the Night Markets lately? Have you heard the stories of $5 neck massages turning into $75 shakedowns? Are there any true-blue Aussie stall owners there anymore? What are the impacts on Australia with giant resort projects financed by unregulated Communist-government run banks?
This isn't an argument about Chinese as a racial group - it's an inquiry about the impact of Chinese gambling and the most unwanted of Chinese society on countries that have opened their doors wide to this vice.
Tony Fung is quoted today as saying 'Most people regard gambling as a harmless form of entertainment'.
So all of Cairns is asking why then is gambling strictly illegal in Mainland China? Even the Communist leaders of Mainland China realise that their culture has degenerate gambling in its blood - and they know the social consequences of allowing it. Even with the huge revenues at stake, the Mainland Chinese government has encouraged the revenue to go elsewhere. Why would they do this??
Bahamian residents are barred from gambling in casinos in the Bahamas. As will likely the Antiguans. As are the Singaporeans (with heavy restrictions). As are the South Koreans. As will be the residents of Saipan, as well as the Vietnamese.
And with the LNP Joh Bjelke Newman government showing few signs that they're asking the hard questions, what becomes of Cairns?
|NEW ANTIGUAN PRIME MINISTER CELEBRATES ON HIS ELECTION NIGHT|
WITH . . . . DON'T THEY ADVERTISE IN THE CAIRNS POST??