04 Apr 2018
REPRESENTATIVE Edwin Propst is not opposed to giving Imperial Pacific International another extension to complete its hotel-casino project in Garapan but he said the CNMI government must require a construction bond this time to ensure the building’s safe completion.
In an interview on Tuesday, Propst said this is the second time that the casino operator has asked for an extension but it was never fined for failing to meet the deadline.
“There should be some fine and that’s what I’m saying. We need to ensure that we enforce it because we cannot forget that last time, they asked for six months extension and we gave them 16 months extension,” Propst said.
“What we should do is to make sure the hotel-casino is completed…. Let us not forget that [Guam-based contractor] Pacific Rim was brought in last minute to replace illegal workers or ‘tourist workers,’ ” referring to the construction workers hired by IPI’s original contractors.
“So what we would like to see is to have a construction bond or a guarantee to ensure that the project is completed. We should ensure that IPI will complete the hotel project…so they will not be able to abandon or walk away…without completing it. It will be a massive eyesore if it were not to be completed,” Propst said.
“We urge the Commonwealth Casino Commission to do due diligence and to ensure that because [the hotel-casino] was [initially] built by illegal workers or non-certified workers, we have an independent engineering firm that will come in and assess and do a complete and safe inspection of the facility to check the guidelines and everything to ensure that it is safe.”
Propst said a “reputable, independent firm commissioned by the Commonwealth Casino Commission should examine the current structural integrity of the hotel-casino and ensure that it is built to code and that it is deemed structurally safe and secure so that it can withstand earthquakes or super typhoons. Let us not forget that the casino hotel was built primarily by ‘tourists’ instead of bona fide construction workers, so we must know if they were building it up to code. I also ask that this independent firm will give us the truth as to how far along this project is. IPI claims it is 63 percent complete but if you speak to independent engineers and architects they will tell you it is nowhere close to that claim.”
Variety was unable to get comments from IPI or the casino commission.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/103422-propst-ipi-should-post-construction-bond-to-ensure-hotel-casino-completion