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Paraguay – Fishermen dispute holds up construction of mega resort in Paraguay

By - 16 September 2019

Construction of a new mega resort and casino on San Francisco Island, near the city of Limpio has now suspended due to a dispute with local fishermen.

350 fishermen in the area are demanding up to US$1,500,000 each in compensation because of the work being carried out on the banks of the Paraguay River.

Electrical installations on the island were burned and were made unusable in what might have been an act of vandalism a week after fishermen announced that if they were not granted compensation they would take “drastic measures.” However the fishermen have denied any wrong doing.

Days afterwards the Paraguayan-American firm announced that work on the project has been suspended until they felt it was sufficiently safe to work.

As reported by the company Vimérica S.A, the company remains firm in its commitment to the project and trusts that an agreement can be reached between all parties, in compliance with national laws and via the proper authorities.
The company emphasised that it had made itself available to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Paraguay (MADES) which gave the project the green light. MADES is carrying out discussions regarding the fishermen’s requests, so that a beneficial agreement can be reached by all those involved.

Construction of a new mega resort and casino began in June with the hydraulic filling on San Francisco Island, where the company in charge of the project plans to establish a tourist and entertainment mega complex that will feature a casino and luxury hotel. The investment envisaged for the new complex stands at around US$150 million and includes the construction of a five-star hotel, including a convention centre for 2,000 people, restaurants, a casino, luxury shops and an amusement park.

American company Vimerica Development LLC will invest in the project via its subsidiary Vimerica SA along with local and foreign investors. Along with its local partner the company will invest in the integrated resort with Paul Steelman, majority shareholder and CEO of Las Vegas, Nevada-based Steelman Partners.

Construction involves the extraction of sediment from the river bed which will then be transported in order to elevate the island above sea level. The island of San Francisco is located in the centre of the South American country and is an ecological reserve that measures 15 kilometres long by 5 meters wide and constitutes a part of the city of Limpio located in the north of the Central Department.

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