Letters to the Editor
Eulogio Inos is again playing “wolf bearing gifts” politics to get votes from retirees by assuring retirees they will get back their 25 percent. Let’s not be fooled by his politricks “that the checks for the restoration of the retirees’ 25-percent cut are already being prepared.” With two pending lawsuits filed by two taxpayers challenging the legality of the Saipan casino law, how can he be preparing the checks? Let alone promising government employees that he will restore the within-grade increase. These promises are very irritating to our ears because we know that they are just promises meant to broken after the election!
Anyone can immediately figure out that the $15 million per year casino mess can’t permanently restore retirees’ 25-percent cut because there are other CNMI problems that need to be fixed. This amount is just a drop in the bucket because it is a sweetheart deal. At the same time, Eulogio Inos is also trying to fool the casino applicants that one of them will get a totally exclusive casino license.
The numbers just don’t add up. For $15 million per year in license fees, Eulogio Inos wants the people of the CNMI to believe that it will solve the Retirement Fund problems that Eulogio Inos, as governor, created when he agreed to cut the retirees pension by 25 percent. The $15 million is not enough to even pay the Betty Johnson guaranteed commitment of up to $45 million per year!
The Tinian and Rota senators who voted yes to the Saipan casino were tricked. They were enticed and duped into believing that they each have $2 million to appropriate. A closer look at the casino law, however, clearly shows that the $2 million will all go to the Tinian and Rota retirees’ pension and the 25-percent cut, although it is not clear whether the 25-percent cut will be restored retroactively. That means no slush fund for the Tinian and Rota Legislative Delegations.
The Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation, however, will get $1 million slush fund. Smart? Not! Recently, I visited a family member who was admitted to the hospital. I was so disgusted that the air conditioner in the patient rooms are not working, the televisions look so antique, there is no cafeteria, nurses and staff are underpaid, not enough doctors, etc. Despite all these problems, those who voted yes to secret deals with casinos have the audacity to reserve for their wasteful appropriation $1 million slush fund?
Not only are they trying to fool us, but Eulogio Inos and his casino legislators are also trying to fool the two casino applicants. Section 106(a) of Public Law 18-43 says that “An applicant for a license under this Act shall pay a one-time nonrefundable application fee of one million dollars.”
Furthermore, Section 106(e) of Public Law 18-43 says that “The applicant who is granted an exclusive license under this Act shall make an initial investment of at least two billion dollars, to include a casino and a resort with a minimum of 2,000 guest rooms.”
First, the “exclusive casino license” is only exclusive under Public Law 18-43. But, nothing prohibits future legislatures from giving other casino licenses under another Act. Second, the $2 billion initial investment does not require that it be made in the CNMI. Third, the 2,000 guest-room requirement does not specify what the minimum size of the rooms must be. Fourth, neither Public Law 18-38 or Public Law 18-43 specify when the $2 billion initial investment must be made by, and when the 2,000 guest-room must be built by.
In my previous letter to the editor, I challenged the yes-to-casino legislators to sign affidavits to show that he or she did not receive anything over $50 in exchange for a yes vote. As of this writing, none of the yes-to-casino legislators have taken the challenge. I renew that challenge again.
At the end of the day, my prediction is that the exclusive casino license “under this Act” will be given to Best Sunshine, as planned. Just you wait and see.
Jesus I. Taisague