2017: What will it be?


Something has come up as a real challenge for the NMI trumpeted in the Bloomberg story, headlined: “$7 Billion Saipan Casino’s Future May Be At Risk.”

It says there’s disagreement over higher premium being sought by investors that Imperial Pacific refuses to accept.

Thus, “a bond offering that gaming operator Imperial Pacific International Holdings, Ltd. planned to use to fund construction of a new casino on the remote Pacific island of Saipan has been put on hold.”

“With the bond off the table for now, Imperial Pacific loses a key source of financing for its casino project, ultimately envisioned to cost $7 billion and encompasses 20 six-star hotels and 11 casinos,” the story related.

“Last month, Moody’s Investors Service assigned Imperial Pacific a B2 credit rating five levels below investment grade, and put it under review for a possible downgrade because of the delay in selling bonds to help finance the project.

“Moody’s said its review will focus on the company’s ‘ability to secure sufficient long-term funding’ as well as the ‘management of money laundering risk to ensure that its gaming business in Saipan is sustainable.”

The setback of the bond offering being taken off the table is concerning in the sense that it places completion of the $7 billion integrated resort questionable. China has just decided to slow down any further bond loan. What then is the future of the project here?

Moreover, Paul Schmelzing, a PhD candidate at Harvard University and a visiting scholar at the Bank of England, said if the latest bond market bubble bursts, it would be worse than in 1994 when global bonds suffered the biggest annual loss record.

“The current bond market is facing the ‘perfect storm’ of potential steepening of the bond yield curve, monetary policy tightening, and a multi-year period of sustained losses due to a “structural” return of inflation resembling that of 1967, he said. Last quarter was the worst for government bonds since 1987, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

It’s an issue Capital Hill must carefully tread as it amends additional allocation precipitously for certain programs on revenue hailing from the lone gaming industry. This source of fund is highly volatile and hardly sturdy either. A lot has happened recently to Asia’s largest economy that has spooked investors.

Meanwhile, I quiz which source is telling the truth in terms of taxes BSI should be paying the NMI. Isn’t the NMI entitled to a fair share of the income beyond token fees? Whose figure is correct? I would have to trust Bloomberg for the credibility of its intelligence and investigative teams.

Feds intervention: The growing dissatisfaction and distrust in our governmental institutions has gone past the simmering level. The multitude is pleading: can the feds intervene and help us restore our democratic institutions?

The query jolted my senses after seeing shadowy money placed into the deep pockets of politicians here for years. Some had to do time in monkey houses while others take shelter silently collecting their loot for favors rendered business friends with subtlety in recent past. Connect the dots and you’d see exactly the map I’ve seen over the years.

Recently, I was quizzed if I had received any form of payment for a certain public land lease I had revoked when lessee failed to meet various conditions. Yes, I saw a check that was cashed by appointed public officials in the thousands of dollars. And some are still in office. Despicably unbelievable!

Even the world’s top management guru related that though you may be at the pinnacle of your career, the goal is about “others” or the people below you. In other words, whether you’re appointed or elected, you’re not there for yourself but “others.” I’ve never lost sight of this in all 23 years of active government service!

Quitugua claim: The order by the NMI Supreme Court that the lower court institutes payment of the Quitugua land in As Teo is dead wrong! I was secretary of DPL when we reviewed the issue thoroughly.

I had a survey done of the public in the area. It was found that half of the Quitugua house is in public land. I asked that they surrender a portion of the road for public access. In doing so, they keep the family house intact. It’s apparent the family refuses to do so going after money and public land at the expense of indigenous landowners and taxpayers!

Is DPL complicit to this deceitful scheme? If it has decision beyond what I found out as a set of facts, it would be interesting to see the basis of any subsequent change of mind. I will sue if this dual robbery isn’t stopped dead on its track. Judicial decision in this case turns justice on its face. Since when is land grabbing doubled down by enrichment from taxpayers’ contribution legal?

Cynicism: This and next year would be difficult for republicans to justify against a steadily mounting cynical view from the multitude. The costs of family obligations continue to increase as the hill distract employees with a five percent wage increase limited to public sector employees.

But this would easily lose its luster when a new increase in utility bills hits families sometime soon, if not, already. What about employees in private industries? Are their family needs a strange contraption immune from the cost of living? Why are their fate easily overlooked by politicians? Are they not attached to the productive sector? So the productive sector is punished while rewarding drone public sector employees?

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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