Gym, youth center ready for affected ex-Dynasty employees
TINIAN—Donated goods for the over 100 abandoned employees of the defunct Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino are in storage and it is “just a matter of when” for the Tinian government to help affected employees to move into the Tinian Gymnasium and youth center, said Tinian Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas yesterday.
“We are ready,” he told Saipan Tribune in an interview. “We are still waiting whether water will be stopped. Once they pull the plug on the water that will also be a turning point. Right now, it’s a wait-and-see situation. They are still there.”
He also elaborated on the TDHC’s expected new employer Tinian Entertainment Corp’s interest in shouldering the cost of airfare for these affected employees back to their home countries.
The mayor said TEC head investor Tim Chen expressed this during their hearing last Friday when they awarded a conditional casino license by Tinian gaming regulators and that this would include all 200 of the affected workers or “for everyone who’s willing to go back home,” San Nicolas said.
“I think that’s very encouraging. I know [the employees] want to get paid their salaries and they are entitled to that and I hope they will be paid eventually but having funds to pay for their way back home is also a step in the right direction.”
He added the local Department of Labor has jurisdiction over the settlement agreement and in that there are punitive damages that are owed and that he is sure Labor is on top of the back wages issues too.
“I wish that the employers were here to respond to their issues but they are not. Fortunately, TEC is here, with Tim Chen, and it is very pleasing for me to know that he is willing to shoulder the costs for them to go back home.”
Still, he could not give a date for the TEC takeover or opening of business. “I know they have a conditional license…but there are other issues that need to be resolved like Labor and FinCen,” he said.
Meanwhile, because fuel was anticipated to run out last Sunday, the new TDHC employer, TEC, decided to give employees “some more supply of diesel fuel enough to run for at least three hours” a day, said United Filipinos Association on Tinian president Rodney Cabarles yesterday.
“Right now, the employees decided to stay inside the barracks,” he told Saipan Tribune.
He said he doesn’t know how long the fuel will last but the fuel would help keep employees’ food frozen.
“Again, even the food I don’t know how long the supply will really last and if the new management will continue to provide them” with that, he said.
He said non-profit groups like the United Filipino Organization and the Tinian Lions Club are helping accepting donations and UniFil will help organize distribution.
They have not started distributing yet and have so far received assorted items, in-kind donations like detergent powders, shampoos, toiletries, for example.
He said they have just received a $500 donation from the UFO on Saipan.
They also received a $100 check from Sen. Francisco Cruz (R-Tinian) yesterday.
“We are getting the information as to how many employees really need the donations, so we can divide fairly,” he said.
He added they are coordinating for affected Filipino workers through the Philippine Consulate in Guam to help them return home to Philippines but that “there was no exact number yet” of those who are willing to return home.
“But we advise them to coordinate closely with the Philippine consulate in Guam.”
Asked how the sentiment or moods were at the barracks, he said, “It’s really bad. They feel abandoned. They still have claims from the old management.”