Hundreds of supporters showed up at Minachom Atdao on Saturday to rally for Mariana Resort & Spa’s lease renewal.
Supporters set up a roadside waving for hours until passersby began to flood the area to sign petitions and letters to the government in support of Kan Pacific.
A wall of signatures was also posted during the event to preserve and mark what the crowd described as a historic event.
Mariana Resort & Spa’s lease is due to expire in 2018. The Department of Public Lands plans to put up the lease for bidding. Kan Pacific, which operates the resort, wants the lease renewed, promising additional investments.
Mariana Resort & Spa president Yoshihiro Kitami told Saipan Tribune: “We want the people of the CNMI to know that Saipan is our home and it is our intention to continue doing business in Saipan and for it to be passed down to our children. I hope the government can see and understand what we are doing. We are here. I only hope,” he says, in response to the rally’s turnout.
Junichi Kitagawa, president of the Japanese Society of the CNMI, took to the stage to express the importance of the lease renewal.
“I just want to say to all of you that I take pride in the great contribution that the Japanese investors have made for more than 30 years…the service of JAL invited more than 50,000 Japanese tourists to Saipan. …We must not forget this fact. We play second fiddle to other countries economically but I am convinced that the Japanese will make rapid progress again by all means in the future now,” he said.
Wayne Pangelinan, a major supporter of Kan Pacific, expressed hope that local legislators will acknowledge that the lease renewal has to happen.
Gloria Cavanagh, general manager of Mariana Resort & Spa, said that Kan Pacific stands behind continued integrity and growth. “The CNMI economy needs diversity and Kan Pacific is providing opportunities right now. It is not a plan, it is a reality. Current businesses and new ones need to work side by side,” she said.
Among the many supporters at the rally were Reps. Vinnie Sablan, and Tony Benavente, House Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero, Power 99, Stanley Torres, Manny Borja, Rep. Ed Propst, former representative Andrew Salas, former governor Juan Babauta, and Hyatt Regency Saipan supporters.