Shameful rule change

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Posted on Jul 20 2012

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Tasi Tours’ claim to work with 11 companies in yesterday’s article on Managaha Island is just another smokescreen to paint a pretty picture of local contribution for community support. It is once again a “spin” on the issue at hand; in fact their spin on the rules that govern Managaha marine sports is why we’re in this mess in the first place.

The commissions Tasi Tours receives from 11 companies (like a tattoo vendor, a photography vendor, a massage vendor, a food and beverage vendor, a gift shop vendor, etc.) have nothing to do with the issue of changing the rules that govern marine sports. The “11 companies” on Managaha are not the issue.

The “wonderful” benefits Tasi Tours brings to the CNMI-I am sure-are in line with other companies of its size on Saipan, but that is not the issue here.

Saipan marine sports operators are not violating any of Tasi Tours exclusive rights ON Managaha Island, which include the exclusive right to conduct tours from Managaha. Saipan marine sports operators do not want to violate any of Tasi Tours’ exclusive rights on and from Managaha nor are we asking to be able to. It is crystal clear what is prohibited. So the misconception that Saipan operators are violating Tasi Managaha-based-exclusivity is not the issue here.

The issue is that for the first time in the history of tourism on Saipan, Tasi Tours has persuaded DPL to use the language of their 18-year-old contract and have them interpret it in the opposite way that it has been interpreted since its inception. What is NOW being enforced, is that when Saipan operators drop their marine sport package-tour tourists at Managaha and return to pick them up and resume their tours later in the day, our customers are now considered “from Managaha” marine sports, therefore “violating” their exclusivity. It is THAT simple and this rule change occurred out of the blue, pulling the carpet right out from under the decades of infrastructure we have built to service these tours. It is deplorable that this has gone on for as long as it has.

The enforced rules that we have followed have been in place for 18 years. If a businessman cannot look to the rules that govern its industry as basis for investment, then where can he look?! The shameful end result of this rule-change is lost local jobs and folding local companies.

Bill Owens
President, BSEA Inc.

Bill Owens 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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