People are being swindled


I want to make it clear that I am in full support of the casino/hotel in Garapan, as we need for IPI to be successful as they are significantly contributing to our economy. But the Mariana Resort issue is really not about the casino and what it going on in Garapan but what is about to happen in the north with the Mariana Resort.

I wrote about this when the secret negotiations took place between IPI anxd Kan Pacific. I viewed the secret negotiations as being illegal or at least unethical due to the fact that secret talks on a bid for CNMI government property was being discussed among potential bidders that resulted in only one of the two placing a bid.

Were the people of the CNMI sold out?—which has always been my question—because the people of the CNMI should have been getting a new lease for the Mariana Resort with another new lease from IPI to build the new hotel they pledged to do in their contract—not renovate the Mariana Resort. The CNMI should be getting two new leases in the north, the Mariana Resort and the new IPI hotel, so, for me, people are literally being swindled out of a lease if IPI gets the Mariana Resort. IPI can get the Mariana Resort if they still build their own separate new hotel because their contract requires them to build a new hotel!

I am glad and thankful that DPL Secretary Marianne Concepcion-Teregeyo is not rushing to give the Mariana Resort lease to IPI for good reasons. I do believe expectations have changed and Kan Pacific seemingly doesn’t want to meet those expectations or is Kan Pacific just using that for an excuse? How much did Kan Pacific get paid or a promise to be paid in the secret talks? We the people really can’t trust anything IPI and Kan Pacific are saying about the Mariana Resort, given that they went into secret talks about the people’s land—the epitome of disrespect to the people! Where are the candidates for office and especially the NMD leadership I called for when they first went into secret talks about your land, your tourism industry? Are the NMDs in bed with IPI, given that they are not speaking out on this? These are serious and legitimate questions, which is why I hope that DPL will consider these secret talks and look long and hard at the fact that IPI is literally struggling with the casino hotel in Garapan. Now they are even asking the commission to violate their contract for a new hotel by downgrading the hotel expansion of the Mariana Resort to be less than a five-star hotel! I’m sure most citizens and our elected officials were expecting a new development to complement the Mariana Resort but I guess they think we are all stupid and blind and can’t think or see what’s right in front of us! If DPL and or the commission will downgrade the requirements for IPI, then why not downgrade them for Kan Pacific so they can keep the hotel and we can keep our Japanese market? DPL needs to be flexible and work with Kan Pacific if they really want to keep the resort, given the limited interest as it should be noted that the Mariana Resort is the last predominantly Japanese hotel, contributing to the loss of the Japanese tourist market. It is no secret that we really need to keep the Mariana Resort as a Japanese hotel destination for obvious reasons.

IPI is not meeting expectations in Garapan, so what guarantees are there about them taking over the Mariana Resort, especially when they are already trying to downgrade the expectations of it being a five-star hotel? The Mariana Resort’s lease should be revisited and IPI should not be allowed to bid unless they are willing to conduct the Marianas Resort operation as a “separate” operation from the mandated new hotel in their contract.

Wisdom should also tell DPL that we don’t need to put all of our eggs in IPI’s basket. It’s a fact that IPI is having trouble delivering in Garapan, so what do you think is going to happen in Marpi when they are already trying to decrease the requirement for it to be less than a five-star resort before they even get the lease?

It was enough already to let Kan Pacific sell the remaining time on their lease to IPI and we still don’t know how much Kan Pacific got paid. The CNMI is already bending over for IPI’s casino/hotel in Garapan but the special treatment should stop there. The CNMI should not be helping IPI to violate their contract with the people in the north. I am hopeful many NMDs will now speak up so that DPL will put an end to this attempt by IPI and Kan Pacific to swindle the people out of a lease and even the loss of the Japanese market. I’m not against IPI or Kan Pacific. I just care more about the people and want what is best for the people of the CNMI.

Ambrose M. Bennett
Kagman, Saipan

Contributing Author

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