The Department of Public Lands has filed a proposed regulations to amend its 1993 regulations regarding the commercial use of Managaha Islands.
DPL acting Secretary Ramon S. Salas filed the proposed regulations due to a pending lawsuit filed by five marine sports operators against DPL.
Salas filed the public notice of proposed regulations before the Commonwealth Register on Aug. 29, 2012. Acting attorney general Viola Alepuyo reviewed and approved the proposed regulations.
The proposed regulations would become effective 10 days after adoption and publication in the Commonwealth Register. DPL said comments from the public about the proposed regulations are due within 30 days.
Salas stated in the public notice that the amended regulations expressly provide that the pick up of persons for commercial activities from Managaha, regardless of how such persons were initially transported to the island, is limited to a designated concessionaire.
Salas said the proposed regulations state that the purpose for amending Part 100 (Commercial use of the island) is to respond to a lawsuit that questions the applicability of the regulations to marine sports operators.
He said the proposed regulations are eliminating the definitions for commercial activity, commercial concession, and designated concession area, and redefining “corporation” and “designated concessionaire.”
The proposed regulations are substituting new language to state the prohibition on commercial use associated with Managaha for anyone other than the designated concessionaire and its designee(s).
Under the proposed regulations, “no person other than the designated concessionaire shall engage in any commercial activity on Managaha or departing from Managaha with the exception of providing mere transportation from Saipan to Managaha or from Managaha to Saipan.”
“This is regardless of how or by whom the persons engaging in the activity were first transported to Managaha Island,” according to the proposed regulations.
DPL is supporting Tasi Tours & Transportation Inc.'s motion that asks the Superior Court to reconsider its ruling that allowed five marine sports operators to post $60,172.95 in unsecured bond on top of the $1,861.05 cash that they had already posted as bond requirement in connection with their lawsuit against DPL.
Assistant attorney general Michael Wilt, counsel for DPL, asserted that the court's order is internally inconsistent and leaves Tasi Tours, a concessionaire of DPL, effectively unsecured.
“Clarification is necessary to the DPL because the DPL is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the rights of Tasi Tours made pursuant to their concession agreement with the DPL,” Wilt said.
Tasi Tours, through counsel Rexford C. Kosack, earlier requested clarification of court's Aug. 22, 2012 order regarding bond for preliminary injunction.
On the request for clarification, Kosack said what they understand with the injunction order is that it permits the five marine sports operators (and other duly permitted marine sports operators) to drop off and pick up “their customers” at Managaha Island.
“What is unclear, however, is whether they may pick up customers who were brought to Managaha by another tour company and then take them on Managaha to Managaha tours or Managaha to Saipan tours,” he said.
In response to Tasi Tours' motions for reconsideration and clarification, the five marine sports operators, through counsel Mark A. Scoggins, stated that the filing of the motions is part of Tasi Tours' strategy to litigate them to death.
Last Aug. 23, the five marine sports operators resumed their business operations after complying with Camacho's bond requirement order.
The operators-Island Marine Sports Inc., Aquatic Marine Co. Inc., Automarine Inc., Seahorse Inc., and BSEA Inc.-signed an acknowledgment of their responsibility for the unsecured amount.
The preliminary injunction that Camacho issued last July 19 granted the marine sports operators' request to maintain the status quo on Managaha access until their lawsuit against DPL is decided on its merits.
The operators are suing DPL to invalidate the department's “rule” promulgated on Dec. 13, 2011 and June 14, 2012 pertaining to Managaha access.
The subject “rule” prohibits marine sports operators from picking up customers on Managaha Island for their tours unless they are Tasi Tours or its subcontractors.