Let us be open minded about casino


My dear people of Saipan: Please allow me to share with you some very critical reasons why I made a dramatic change in my position on the issue of casino for Saipan.

First and foremost, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., the Commonwealth Health Center, the Public School System, and the Retirement Fund are all in financial crisis that our governor has placed most of them under a “state of emergency” at one point or another.

Next, all businesses, our government departments and agencies, and all the people of the CNMI are greatly affected by the most expensive power rate being assessed on us. Most recently, CHCC even went to court to prevent CUC from disconnecting their power. Also, the Public School System and the cental government were never able to settle the government’s share in paying CUC. In the case of our hospital, both Medicare and the medical referral exceeded their alloted budget by the millions. I even predicted that in spite of the recently approved food stamp program (NAP) and SNAP, many of our citizens are still struggling to make ends meet.

In the case of the NMI Retirement Fund, thank God the Betty Johnson case saved all of us retirees from the bankruptcy case that the Fund filed some three years ago or else all our many years of investing into the Retirement Fund will be gone.

All the above requires immediate revenue generation and that is where casino comes into place. Casino is only one of the many components of the integrated resort that is being proposed. Presently, the CNMI is in dire need of more hotel rooms in order for us to accomodate the demand of our tourism industry. More rooms means more revenues.

Let me now bring up a few concerns to the Lottery Commission to seriously consider when selecting between Mega Stars and Best Sunshine Inc. First, why was Mega Stars allowed to file after the May 5, 2014, deadline? The Lottery Comission must take into consideration the fact that Mega Starts is presently in trouble with the Tinian Gaming Casino Commission. By the way, has Mega Stars cleared Dynasty’s arrears with the Division of Revenue and Taxation for the millions of dollars they owe our government?

The Lottery Commission has a very delicate and critical challenge ahead of it and I hope that whatever decision it will decide will be in the best interest of the CNMI.

Lastly, I’m also confused regarding the Marianas Economic Research and Development Foundation’s position regarding the integrated resort, or IR. In the beginning, they were actually promoting the concept of IR and stated that IR is the only solution to revive the economy. So why the sudden change of position? Further, since they are set on getting the IR law repealed, what other options do they have to offer to resolve our economic crisis?

In closing, I urge all the over 3,000 retirees and our people to be open minded about the integrated resort and move forward for the economic recovery of the CNMI.

Thank you very much, sen dankulu na si yuus ma’ase, olomwaay and maraming salamat po.

Herbert S. Del Rosario
San Antonio, Saipan

Herbert S. Del Rosario Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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