ommission Executive Director Edward Deleon Guerrero, in an interview on Tuesday after an executive session with IPI representatives in the teleconference room of Joeten-Kiyu Public Library, said they will discuss the issue further in their next scheduled meeting set for May 31.
He said they will wait until IPI complies with the other requirements involving fire and building safety.
The commission decided that there’s not enough evidence, not enough information to grant the approval to open on Friday.
“Yesterday, the Office of the Governor called for a meeting with all permitting agencies and went through each regarding the required licenses so the commission is very much concerned, and we want to make sure to ‘dot the i’s and cross the t’s’ before we allow IPI to open its casino.”
He added, “This is an issue which involves large concentrations of people in one location so we are very much concerned about safety, whether safety in reference to traffic movement or safety in reference to the parking area, the debris from the unfinished hotel, or the draining issue outside the perimeter.”
He said their “concern right now…is to look at the totality of the scenario because even if the casino and gaming are ready for operation inside, we want to make sure that the workers, the patrons, the guests and anyone who enters the facility are safe.
This issue will be raised again. We are hoping that between now and next week, the permitting agencies will provide the commission with feedback regarding compliance with respect to this project.”
He said the commission is “not comfortable with the information provided to us so far, so until we hear also from other permitting agencies, as they asked us to work closely with them, we want to make sure that the CNMI is ensuring the safety of everyone.”
Commission Executive Director said they are also conducting inspections at the site to monitor compliance with CNMI laws and regulations.
In a statement, the administration said it “emphasizes that the safety of the public and compliance with requirements is an ongoing priority. The casino commission is performing their due diligence in all matters related to the oversight of the casino facility.”
In a separate statement, Imperial Pacific International said:
“The safety of guests and employees have always been the highest priority for Imperial Pacific. We fully complied with all the requirements of the Department of Public Works and the fire department and have therefore been granted conditional occupancy permits by both departments.
“The requirements of the Commonwealth Casino Commission are much higher, so our company will continue to work closely with CCC. Hopefully we will receive the approval from CCC soon so we can open the casino and further contribute to the CNMI economy.”