Thursday, January 13, 2005

Burke Declares Six Flags Iraq Opening Date Will Not Be Postponed

Six Flags CEO Kieran Burke announced to the press yesterday that rumors of Six Flags Iraq's opening day being pushed back are false.

"Last year, I stood with President Bush, and we vowed together that by the beginning of next year, Iraq would hold a reasonably free and fair election, and that Iraq would have a Six Flags amusement park. Well, he's not backing down, and neither am I."

The opening date for the park, which is to replace the failed Six Flags Over Shiite-Controlled Iraq, is set for February 5th, the first Saturday after elections. Many feel the security concerns are so great that the park should never have been built, let alone opened.

The project, financed by federal money that the park is to pay back through future profits, has already spiraled to over 1 billion dollars. Overages have included replacing the Vekoma Boomerang, which has been destroyed or partially destroyed by bombs five times, replacing the Vekoma SLC, which has been damaged under similar circumstances twice, and, of course, the very costly siege of Frontiertown.

"Yes, taking Frontiertown back from the rebels was very costly, very bloody, and a very long proocess but one that was absolutely necessary," Burke stated when asked about the incident, "The two months Frontiertown was occupied was two months too long. Worse, we had heard rumors the rebels were gearing up to take Loony Tunes Square as well. We realized if we lost Loony Tunes Square, we were likely to lose Superhero Circle, and from Superhero Circle they could take the whole park. We needed to act aggressively."

Other cost overruns concern staff. Ever since the kidnapping and beheading of three seasonal Polish employees 3 days after their arrival, the park has been staffed by a South African company called "Warwick International," whose last freelance staffing assignment concerned the bloody crushing of the Nigerian rebellion in 2001. As opposed to typical Six Flags staff throughout the world, who make an average of $6 an hour, the Warlock staff make an average of $100 an hour.

Maybe more problematically, none of the staff, who patrol the park in short sleeve desert camouflage shirts sporting AK47s, have been trained to operate rides and refuse to clean the outhouses, saying only cryptically that "such labor is for the eastern Majors." Six Flags insiders point out, however, that this makes the Six Flags Iraq employees no different than the employees at the SF properties of Magic Mountain, Darien Lake, and Kentucky Kingdom.

The parks woes have not been limited to security. Last month, the Hurricane Harbor water park was shelved indefinitely when it was realized there would be no water in the region by opening day. Attempts to use a luminous jelly normally used for explosives as a water replacement on the log flume and water slides have had mixed, but largely disastrous, results.

None of this, however, has deterred Burke or the current administration, who has called the opening SFI "an important step forward in Iraqi freedom." Burke said that "he himself" would be on hand at the park's opening day "to show my confidence in how safe the park would be," and further declared that SFI's planning for SFoI would prove "every bit as successful as our massive debt-laden efforts domestically."

ARN&R promises to keep you up to date on this developing story.

--MOS