Decision on IPI requests out today

The CNMI Lottery Commission has until today to come out with a decision whether it would grant the request of Imperial Pacific International (CNM) LLC for a new deadline to finish building its casino-resort in Garapan.

If approved, this will be amendment No. 6 to the casino license agreement.

The commission would reconvene at the conference room of the Office of the Governor on Capital Hill at 10am today.

IPI, as stated in amendment No. 5, should have completed the initial gaming facility with the opening of the Imperial Pacific Resort in Garapan today, Aug. 31. They are asking the commission to extend the completion date by another two years to Aug. 31, 2020.

They are also asking the commission to waive a requirement in the casino license agreement that mandates them to operate only 5-star quality hotels when they take over the Mariana Resort & Spa in Marpi.

They are also asking the commission to allow them to operate the completed portions of their development project in Garapan such as the food and beverage outlets, and gaming area once all the facilities have been done and all necessary licenses and permits are obtained.

Aside from the casino gaming floor area, the still-to-be finished Imperial Pacific Resort also has the Chairman M restaurant, the Noodle House, and the Tapochau Bar.

Commission chair Mark Rabauliman, who was designated by the commission to negotiate with IPI representatives, said that they are still in the process of negotiating the terms of IPI’s request. “The CNMI has presented our conditions and positions to the folks from IPI and they brought [it] back to their team under consideration. For the time being, we’re still under negotiations… The negotiations, as far as presenting the CNMI’s position, were done late [yesterday] afternoon. We both need some time so that we can go back to the people and present it accordingly. In that way, everybody has time to consider the CNMI’s position.”

In an earlier interview, Rabauliman said he would consult the Attorney General Edward Manibusan if it would be possible to grant an extension even if the contract is not yet amended or finalized.

“That [Aug. 31 deadline] is something that I was going to pose it to the AG. Will it be something that would be allowed?” said Rabauliman, who added that their decision would be based on the report given by the Development Planning Advisory Committee.

After the commission’s Wednesday meeting, Rabauliman said they have enough time to review IPI’s 191-page amendment No. 6 package as they would base their decision on the report that was also given by the Development Planning Advisory Committee—composed of Pacific Century Inc. and N15 Architects.

“They [DPAC] are the technical people as you’ve heard them [Wednesday]. They provided the [commission] with the summary of the technical stuff. We have to rely on the professionals. I’m no architect or engineer. They provided recommendations and timelines. Based on the discussions, I don’t see why not?”

Commonwealth Casino Commission executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero, in a separate interview, said they would step in and impose possible sanctions but not in reference to the Aug. 31 deadline not being met by IPI.

He said that the CCC could sanctions IPI or not, slap them with monetary sanctions or totally revoke the exclusive license that was awarded to the casino investor based on violations of the CLA.

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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