Casino official: Too late to require bond

THE chairman of the Commonwealth Casino Commission said a construction bond requirement can no longer apply to the Imperial Pacific International’s hotel-casino project because it has been going on for a couple of years now.

In an interview on Friday, Juan Sablan said a construction bond is a requirement for a new project.

He said the commission earlier drafted a bill to amend the casino law to require a construction bond but the Legislature did not act on it.

A bond “is a good idea, but at this stage it’s a little bit late already…. I guess the bond is good for a first or new project but not for IPI as its project is already ongoing,” Sablan said.

Gov. Ralph Torres, in a separate interview on Friday, said a construction bond should be a requirement for all projects and not just IPI’s.

 “That was recommended in the past. We also have to consider what kind of bonds are we going to require. It’s important that we sit down and discuss that with [IPI]. They have a U.S. contractor on board now and we are more confident that the project will move forward in the right direction. I also want to say this for the record: when IPI asked for an extension last year, there were discussions, and it’s important to acknowledge that there’s a $20 million contribution which was supposed to be paid a year after the second phase is open or is done, but we included that into the negotiation for the extension so we got the first $10 million in January. So now the question is, should we give them another extension? It’s for everybody’s benefit that we give them an extension but with more restrictions — they must, for example, let us know the progress they are making and the challenges they are facing too.”

According to the governor, “I am not saying that it is not necessary to require IPI to have a bond, but it’s important to treat them and others the same.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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