As you are all aware much has been said about Cloud 9 in the media over the last week.
On 1/1/13 I received a phone call at 6.30 pm from the Nadi police advising me they had instructions to shut down the operations of Cloud 9. They were unable to advise me on what grounds these instructions were received and from which government department. Later that evening (on Diwali Friday) the police visited Cloud 9 to close the premises without any formal notice and/or document pertaining to any closure and left. I was also made aware of the closure on Fiji TV news whereby the Attorney General had released a public statement stating that he had given explicit directions to the acting Commissioner of Police to shut us down on the purported grounds that we were operating illegally.
I have through my legal counsel been trying to get an audience with the Attorney General for the last week, but have not been able to secure the same as yet. Neither have I made any statements to the press as yet during the last week as we are still trying to establish the reasons for the directive given by the Attorney General in the hope that we can resolve this matter amicably. Nor do we have any desire to resolve this issue via the media as the same is of a purely legal nature.
However, it seems our silence has been taken advantage of by other interested individuals and parties, following their own agendas, to make adverse and misleading statements which can potentially damage our business interests permanently but also put into disrepute the credibility of tourism and investing in Fiji in general.
From the onset I would like to emphasis that in the absence of any proper notice to halt operations, we could have continued trading. However, out of respect for the Attorney General as per his media statement we have not re-opened. And as good corporate citizens we also are waiting for the Government to establish how we were purportedly acting illegally as this has never been our intention.
I would like to make clear Cloud 9 has all necessary permits to operate the pontoon as a day time overwater appreciation facility which as a natural extension of course provides a food menu, beverages and day time water sports facilities which according to our Government authorities is fully approved.
- Mooring Permits – APPROVED
- Business License – APPROVED
- Company registration – APPROVED
- Investment Fiji – APPROVED
- Liquor License – APPROVED
- Health License – APPROVED
- Tobacco License – APPROVED
- NFA – APPROVED
- Ministry of Labour – APPROVED
- OHS – APPROVED
- Insurance (Marine Liability) – APPROVED
All Permits and Licenses as stated above are subject to inspection by anybody should they wish.
Cloud 9 denies any allegation that that it is polluting the environment, as has been reported in the media. The entire success of our business is depended on the fact that we are located in a pristine environment, which is what our guests come to enjoy. As a surfer and sailor myself I would be last person who would want to disrespect the ocean or attempt to damage the same. For anyone who has actually taken the time to visit Cloud 9 it is abundantly clear that the pontoon is moored in a sandy bottom lagoon at Navula reef. As such any allegations that it is causing any damage to the nearby reefs as a result of its location are preposterous.
Cloud 9 has attracted great publicity for tourism as a whole in Fiji and is a great attraction for destination Fiji. In the short period it has been in operation (launched 3rd June) we have had visitors such as the top executives from Google (search engine) and Zane Lamprey (popular travel show host from the U.S) amongst many others who have visited the platform and are fans of it.
We believe that the authorities have been misinformed and we sincerely hope that we will be afforded the opportunity to change their opinion once they meet with us.
It also appears that there might have been some misinformation in regard to our business, as before investing the large sum of money involved, in order to make Cloud 9 a reality we did our due diligence which included ensuring every legal avenue had been pursued and approved by every Government Department as outlined above.
Cloud 9’s media coverage domestically and internationally has been marketed as one of the most favorable day trips available for local and international visitors. Media representation includes Fiji Airways In-flight magazine, Talk Business, Mai Travel, Tracks Magazine, social media and many more.
Tony Philips, Director of Alizes Limited trading as Cloud 9