Torres: Casino issues ‘must be worked on’


Both the incumbent governor and Senate president believe that both the casino industry and the tourism industry are co-related and essential to the future of the CNMI economy.

In an interview last Monday, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan) said that issues besetting the casino industry must be worked on, while the tourism industry should not be forgotten.

Responding to a question about the completion of the sole casino in the CNMI, Torres replied that “issues must be resolved.”

“As long as we see that there is progress moving forward and our people are being taken cared of, that is our priority,” he said. “I mean if we were to say [we disagree and] clog them up because they are behind in certain things, is that business partnership? Do we do that to everybody?”

Torres reiterated that the casino industry has greatly benefitted the CNMI, even in its current state of incompletion.

“They have brought revenue from…businesses across the CNMI and so we are here and we continue to work with them and continue to work with other companies that want to come in and have issues. I am happy that their workforce continues to come in,” he added. “If they do have issues, let’s work with them as we have worked with every other company.”

Torres did state that he remains “concerned” that the casino has yet to be completed.

Palacios pointed out that the gaming industry ultimately revived the tourism industry in the CNMI, and noted that efforts to take care of the tourism industry should be sustained.

“…I am happy to hear that the governor has made a lot of effort to make sure that airlines from Japan, which has been an issue, [is in the works],” he said.

Palacios cited the memorandum of understanding between Japan’s third largest carrier, Skymark Airlines.

“[Torres] is putting every effort with the Marianas Visitors Authority, the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands, and those in the industry to make sure that we continue to do this,” said Palacios.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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