As recent as Tuesday, May 29, 2018, and prior to this date, I have been receiving calls from the general public inquiring about my position on House Local Bill 20-48.
Please be informed that the governor has vetoed H.L.B. 20-48, but on behalf of the many inquirers, I must take this opportunity to explain why I supported the bill.
Please allow me to briefly explain the bill’s intent to rezone certain sections of the public lands along the intersection of Koblerville Road and Chalan Monsignor Martinez Road and Tun Joaquin Dei Drive as “mixed commercial” zoning district. These areas are outside the designated village area.
I supported the bill for reasons I strongly felt are to the best interest of the people of Saipan and the Northern Islands.
First and foremost, I wanted to make sure that all the poker machine businesses are taken out of all villages on Saipan. In order to do that, we must identify areas outside the villages on Saipan that are most fitting for these businesses to operate.
Equally important is the SHEFA scholarship program that is deriving its funds from the poker fees. As an elected official, I will find every way to make sure that the SHEFA scholarship program will continue to receive the necessary funding to allow for the scholarships for qualified residents from Saipan and Northern Islands to be able to avail themselves of the SHEFA scholarship funding. It is critically important that this scholarship program continues to thrive for the benefits of our future leaders—our kids!
Lastly, our residents expect their leaders to provide services to the community. We need funding sources to accomplish these important community services. Until we can identify other sources of funding, we need to continue to support the poker industry.
Alice S. Igitol is a House representative and member of the 20th CNMI Legislature.</em