Voreqe Bainimarama announces Government would roll out a hotline soon where Fijians could report any environment abuse.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last night issued a stern warning to prospective developers that any breach of environmental protections would be met with the full force of the law.
Mr Bainimarama sent the message out during the ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Gala Awards Dinner at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Denarau, Nadi.
“I have been alarmed by recent cases of apparent breaches of environmental protections here in Fiji, and I want to repeat that such breaches should be met with the full force of the law. No exceptions,” the PM said.
“If you break our laws, you will be punished.”
He then announced that Government would roll out an environmental hotline soon – a hotline where Fijians could report abuses of the environment, wherever they saw it happening.
“So, to any developer, from anywhere in the world, let me say this. If you intend to destroy or forever degrade our environment, you are not welcome in Fiji,” the PM said.
“I assure you our hospitality has hard and fast limits and we don’t take kindly to anyone who violates our laws. No matter the size of your development, no matter how grand the promises you carry with you may be.
“Last year, I spoke about how the number of tourists nearly matched the number of people living in Fiji – and this year, we came even closer to passing that threshold.
“But as our resorts continue to develop, as we attract more visitors, and a higher paying selection of travellers, and as this industry continues to grow, we need to think more seriously about how to make that growth, and this industry, more inclusive.
“I’ve had more than a few Fijians come to me personally saying that they’ve not felt welcome when going on a weekend “staycation”, taking a day trip, or grabbing dinner at some of our fancier resorts.
“Given that it’s Valentine’s Day weekend, I suspect we have plenty of Fijian couples looking to do exactly that this weekend.
“When they do arrive at your doors, they ought to be treated exactly the same way as anyone else who you welcome on your premises. Because, as businesses in our country, you must be open to all of our people, all the time.
“They deserve the same level of service, they deserve the same level of attention and they deserve to feel welcome at resorts in their own country. Full stop.
“Only by sharing this hospitality with each other and by spreading the economic impact of the sector far and wide, we will truly cultivate a tourism industry that benefits all Fijians.
“With that, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for offering me your hospitality tonight.
“I extend my warm congratulations to tonight’s award winners and nominees. I thank ANZ and other sponsors for their continued commitment to this vital industry.
“Let’s celebrate our successes, and continue our remarkable progress in the year ahead.”
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