Saipan regulator urges IPI to step in

Saipan’s casino regulator is urging Imperial Pacific International to get involved in the recent fiasco involving illegal workers at IPI’s casino construction site, Marianas Variety reports.

During a board meeting on Wednesday at the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library, the commissioners told IPI legal counsel Charles McDonalds that the controversy was tarnishing the company’s reputation.

Commissioner Alvaro Santos told IPI to talk to their contractors who, he added, should be in compliance with the law.

“Talk to your contractors and subcontractors,” he said to McDonalds.

“Even if it’s the contractors that are being negligent, they will always implicate IPI and blame IPI, and that’s not good as it will hurt the reputation of the company and…the government…. Take action, and calm down those people. Tell the contractors to follow the provisions of the contract. You have to be concerned also because this is a tiny community.”

Last week, more than 50 Chinese construction workers gathered in a protest demanding to be paid their wages after MCC International Saipan, their employer, was charged for illegally hiring workers on tourist visas.

Santos said the recent debacle would tarnish the reputation of the island, and its chances at an increase in the CW (CNMI-Only Transitional Worker) cap.

“You should go out of your way to remind the contractors to comply with the law because the Chinese waiver might also be affected by this negative issue,” he said to McDonalds.

McDonalds said they’ve already had a meeting with the contractors who assured IPI that the workers will be paid and repatriated.

“We are very concerned about the actions of our contractors, and have asked them what’s going on with the concerns of the protesters. They assured us that their employees are getting paid and they are working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and [the Department of Labor] to address all the employees’ concerns and send them back home,” he said.

In related news, McDonalds noted the company is still looking to open the casino portion of Imperial Pacific’s resort soon.

When asked about progress, he said: “We don’t know the extent of any delay, but we are working on extending the license agreement and that’s our plan right now.”

He added they will meet the Lottery Commission on April 24 to discuss their request for an extension of their temporary casino facility in DFS Galleria, and they are also waiting for the approval of their permit by Department of Public Works in order to open the casino portion of the resort.

More news from this jurisdiction

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Saipan’s casino regulator is investigating the company contracted to construct baccarat tables for Saipan’s newest casino for illegal labor practices.

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The decision to allow the opening of Saipan’s newest casino operated by Imperial Pacific International will be deferred to next week after the Commonwealth Casino Commission raised concerns of safety.

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A representative from the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands’ legislature has criticized the government over ongoing issues relating to workers at Imperial Pacific’s casino construction site, the Saipan Tribune reports.

Pacific IslandsMonday, Apr 17, 2017

More than 50 Chinese construction workers hired to build the Imperial Pacific Hotel & Resort gathered in a protest on Friday demanding to be paid their wages.

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Imperial Pacific’s new casino is set to feature more than 300 gaming tables and 48 baccarat tables once it gets the go-ahead to open to the public.

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The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, will decide whether the CNMI can continue a visa-waiver program for Chinese and Russian tourists, Marianas Variety reported, citing an interview with a U.S. official.