House Speaker Rafael S. Demapan (R-Saipan) would be informing Rep. Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan) that proper agencies and department should do the investigation regarding the accident that happened at Imperial Pacific Resort’s construction site last week.
A Chinese national fell to his death on March 22, prompting Propst to urge Demapan for the Legislature to hold an oversight hearing to know if safety measures were followed at Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s multi-million-dollar casino hotel project in Garapan.
Demapan said the accident was tragic and they share the grief of the family of the construction worker who died at the site.
“First, I would like to offer prayers and condolences to the family. It is really an unfortunate incident. I hope we could learn from this by ensuring that we all do our part and due diligence to prevent future accidents of all our workers in the CNMI.”
“The Legislature is not in the business of investigation but rest assured that we’re going to continue communicating with departments and agencies that are involved in this issue,” said Demapan.
For now, the House won’t do any oversight hearing on the accident. “I’ve talked to the acting [Judiciary and Governmental Operations] chairman to initiate communications with other departments and check the regulations regarding incidents like these, see how we can come in and support them.”
Demapan said it is important that the House continue to communicate with proper agencies to make sure safety measures are always followed and are in place in every workplace. “We must respect the role and the protocols, the procedures in place to respond to and prevent such incidents from happening again.”
He added the case is still under investigation and the whole process should be respected without jeopardizing the job being done by agencies like the Department of Public Safety and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“We can’t just jump into conclusions and have the Legislature come in. We have to let these agencies do their job. From there, we will have the [JGO] chair come in and talk to these agencies,” said Demapan, who added that the local Department of Labor might also talk to some IPI officials regarding the incident.
House Gaming Committee chair Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan) share Demapan’s sentiments. “If this were any other construction project, will a member of the Legislature be requesting for us to do an oversight? It seems to be safety issues, OSHA is a federal agency that deals with these things. None of us are experts in this issue.”
“There’s OSHA on the island and they would investigate it. Leave it to the qualified people and experts to investigate. Let’s see what the results are,” said Deleon Guerrero, who added that IPI would again postpone the planned March 31 soft opening of its casino floor.
“I think that they’re going to postpone it. They would request to push it back but there will be a soft opening.”