New company to finish IPI project


A new company would continue the Imperial Pacific Resort project since contractor MCC International is already done with its part in building the multi-million dollar casino.

That’s according to Commonwealth Casino Commission executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero, who said he heard from a representative of Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC that another company would take over the next phase of the project.

“Again, this is all what I’m hearing. I was informed that it would be a different company,” he said. “I’ve heard from an IPI representative that MCC may discontinue [since] most of MCC’s responsibility is done and the next sequence could be handled quickly by another company. The major focus, most of it, would be basically the interior.”

The commission would coordinate its monitoring efforts with other local and federal law enforcement agencies in order to make sure cases of “tourist workers” would cease.

Deleon Guerrero said the commission has always been strict in implementing local and federal laws as well as in regulating casino gaming. “But we don’t control the airport. We don’t control who comes in. …When we licensed you, we let you sign documents that you would comply with federal and local laws and regulations. Whether you do it or not, you have to understand that if you don’t follow, you will face consequences.”

He pointed out that the visa program involving workers who enter the CNMI as tourists is mainly a federal issue. “The CNMI does not run the border; the federal government does. The CNMI highly treasures the visa-free parole program. …We do not appreciate anyone who violates or destroys that special privilege. It is the responsibility of everyone not to abuse the system. The CNMI needs the system that is in place.”
CMC Macau issue

Deleon Guerrero said they would also investigate the new contractor that surfaced and allegedly committed labor violations after several workers also staged protests. “We’re checking on that. We’re looking at some questions whether or not they were involved in some of those labor issues.”

“When they came here, they did not come as employees, they came as representatives of a company from whom [IPI] bought the tables. When we issued the license, whether non-gaming or gaming, we requested that you notify the commission who your representatives are.”

CMC Macau reportedly sent several representatives to oversee the installation of tables to make sure it was done properly and built according to specifications.
Continuing protest

The remaining Chinese laborers that were employed by various contractors that were hired to build the Imperial Pacific Resort continued with their protest yesterday, again demanding they be compensated for the hours of work they have done.

Those who staged a protest worked for MCC International, Beilida Overseas (CNMI) Ltd., Gold Mantis, and CMC Macau, the latest contractor that allegedly did not pay its workers.

CMC Macau is involved in supplying and installation of gaming materials in casinos. They installed and set up the wood base of all baccarat tables.

The workers, in a statement, said they were tricked into coming to Saipan. They said they were made to pay huge amounts of recruitment fees. “While we worked for several different contractors, we all worked 12 or more hours per day, for which, our contractors only promised to pay us $65 (447 yuan).”

“These companies all failed to pay us in accordance with U.S. minimum wage and overtime rules, and some did not pay us at all. These companies also did not take injured workers to get medical attention.”

They are requesting the casino and its contractors to pay their wages or additional compensation as required by U.S. minimum wage and overtime laws, pay back their recruitment fees, compensate all injured workers, provide food and shelter while they are on Saipan, and pay their two months worth of wages since their being laid off.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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