Casino licensee says it won’t make August deadline


With a month to go before the deadline to complete the Imperial Pacific casino and resort hotel, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLV vice president for construction Eric Pool, second from left, said, “We are still finalizing a lot of documentation in the extension package during a presentation at the Commonwealth Casino Commission regular meeting held yesterday at Joeten-Kiyu Public Library conference room in Susupe. (Bea Cabrera)

Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC will not be able to comply with the August 2018 target date of completion for its Imperial Pacific Resort in Garapan.

IPI is now looking to move the original date from August to end of December this year.

“The development of the resort hotel experienced a big jump and we are trying to [do] everything and get ready for the inspection by the end of the year,” said IPI vice president for construction Eric Poon during the regular meeting of the Commonwealth Casino Commission held yesterday at the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library conference room in Susupe.

He said construction at the Imperial Pacific Resort site experienced a big leap from 45 percent to 68 percent complete during the last couple of months.

“Overall, our focus is on the three areas—resort hotel, hotel tower that includes the building facade and roof, and the external works which is in front of the hotel lobby,” he said.

Non-completion of construction would necessitate an amendment of the casino license agreement and the officers of the CCC cannot overemphasize the urgency of the matter.

According to CCC executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero, talks of submitting request for extension have been discussed many times and IPI is aware of this.

“Every meeting that we have, we impress upon the need for IPI to identify how much more time they need because August is right around the corner. I don’t think we should be putting this pressure upon IPI so you understand what needed to be done, but I think we need to know who is going to make the decision so we can direct our inquiry to that person to say what are you waiting for,” he said.

“CCC regulations adopted the casino license agreement so any changes into the agreement requires us to go back and change our own regulation to be compatible with the agreement as we absorb the agreement as part of the regulatory functions ” he added.

Joseph Reyes, vice chairman of CCC, echoed Deleon Guerrero’s concern.

“We are the regulators and I’m sure you understand our role. We regulate your activities and we don’t want to hit you with another sanction for failure to prepare ahead of time to resolve this,” he said.

Reyes added, “to change regulations to accommodate your extension requires time… we are already in the month of July so we got about a month and government process takes a long time. There may be some factors for delay that could create another setback.”

Poon said they have been working with the Development Planning Advisory Council in coming up with their extension package.

“We are still finalizing a lot of documentation and it’s not a 10-20-page extension package… we still have a lot of information that we have to prepare and consult with our general contractor to once again get the construction and manpower schedule. It’s been taking a very long time but we are almost there.”

Poon also assured CCC that the extension request would come from IPI’s upper management. “We also have a legal team working with our DPAC team… many people in different departments are involved to get the information together… and these are highly confidential matters and we cannot release anything until we have everyone to agree… all I can tell you is we are working on it.”

The request for extension will be the sixth amendment to the casino license agreement and CCC chair Juan Sablan said that IPI should come up with a realistic deadline in the request for extension.

“Since Pacific Rim came into the picture and did preliminary assessment, you should’ve already known what needed to be done, what resources are lacking. Before it was manpower, then issue with the materials, but now you have materials here on Saipan… ask for a date that’s realistic…because if you pick a date that is unrealistic that would require another extension… violations in the agreement require sanctions,” he said.

Bea Cabrera | Correspondent
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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