‘I don’t want another Tinian Dynasty’
Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) cautiously said yesterday that a magazine’s allegations about the sole casino in the CNMI and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres might not affect the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker program extension bill he is pushing.
In an interview yesterday with Saipan Tribune, Sablan said “with caution” that, based on his personal conversations with several members of the congressional working group tasked to study the extension of the CW program, the Bloomberg Businessweek article, “A Chinese Casino Has Conquered a Piece of America,” could not affect the decision making on the transitional period extension.
“I would say at this time—with caution—that I don’t think [the Bloomberg article] would affect [the U.S. Congress’ decision on S.2325], but that is just my own personal observation, based on personal conversations I’ve had, not on any official positions,” said Sablan.
S. 2325 is the product of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), leader of the congressional working group and the chairperson for the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Murkowski’s working group includes several key congressmen and senators as well as Sablan and Torres.
Sablan said that some of the members of the working group have some understanding of the issues of the CNMI since they have been involved with the group last summer.
Still, Sablan believes federal and local investigations must be held.
“It’s important I think that federal and [local] authorities look closely into this article and some of the allegations made in there, because the people of the Marianas deserve to know the truth,” he said, reiterating the seriousness of the allegations raised by the article.
The Bloomberg piece alleged that Torres and several of his family members have received money in exchange for favors for casino operator, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC.
IPI is the company that was awarded the sole casino licensee in the CNMI, and, since opening, claims to have raked in over six times more cash than the palatial casinos in Macau.
“There are some serious allegations there, of violations of law, but having said that, the people of the Marianas need to know the truth and it’s also important to give the governor and his family the full opportunity to clear their names,” Sablan said. “I don’t want to have another Tinian Dynasty here in the middle of Saipan.”