Gov. Benigno R. Fitial said yesterday his administration and the House leadership will again push for new legislation allowing casino operations on Saipan and this time they are hoping the Senate will not kill it as it did twice and five years since Saipan voters rejected the idea for the second time.
Fitial said he supports casino industries on the other two islands, and that is why he personally testified on Monday on Tinian in support of a Taiwan-based investor Howarm Goldern Island Holdings Ltd. which is proposing to acquire Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino.
“I even suggested this is an opportunity for Rota and Tinian to benefit from Saipan casinos,” he said in an interview at the announcement of his new attorney general nominee, Joey Patrick San Nicolas.
The governor said there are “at least three” investors still willing to invest in casino operations on Saipan.
The House leadership, aligned with the governor, will revisit the casino bills they passed and defeated in the Senate.
Senate President Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) reiterated that casino operation is the governor's only economic plan, when there are a lot of proposals on the table.
Manglona said Senate legislative initiatives to help the NMI Retirement Fund were ignored, and a sole-source $190.8-million power purchase agreement signed by the governor without a full economic analysis will force CNMI utility users to pay more than what they are paying now.
The governor is also once again calling House and Senate members for another leadership summit, days after a resolution impeaching him failed.
The impeachment resolution listed 16 articles of felony, corruption, and neglect of duty against Fitial, but got only nine of 14 “yes” votes needed to impeach him and move the process to the Senate for trial.