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    Friday, December 14, 2018-10:57:43A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Babauta offers ‘solutions’ to Marpi pool problem

INDEPENDENT gubernatorial candidate Juan Nekai Babauta said he has come up with possible solutions that he would like to offer to the Torres administration so it can address the Marpi pool issue.

A total of 14,000 people signed online and manual petitions over the last few weeks as the island’s swimmers try to save the Marpi pool following its closure on Sept. 30.

Juan Nekai Babauta

Babauta who filed a lawsuit in an attempt to compel the government to take over and reopen the island’s only Olympic-size swimming pool said there are “several quick and simple remedies” that can prevent further deterioration of the pool and reopen it for public use.

He said the governor can invoke Public Law 15-2, section 105(f)(1), (2), and (4) by having the Department of Public Lands immediately send to the governor a request to have the Marpi pool declared or certified as serving a public service.

 Once the governor signs the declaration/certification, the Marpi pool and land are then immediately placed under the control of the Division of Parks & Recreation, Babauta said.

To pay for pool maintenance,  the CNMI government can use local funds, including those generated from poker/casino operations.

Babauta said the government can also  use funds “from the $20,000,000 community chest money that Imperial Pacific International is obligated to pay to help the community each year.”

He said the governor can also sign and issue an executive order and use his executive power to reprogram funds.

“Torres sought to spin this as a ‘desperation’ political lawsuit,” Babauta said. “Well, there is certainly some desperation evident here: the 14,000 plus community members desperate to save the CNMI’s only public pool.”

 The former governor added, “Torres also claims the lawsuit needlessly clogs up the CNMI judiciary. This also is untrue, as there would have been no need to go to court if the current administration had just obeyed the law, had not violated its fiduciary duties, and not committed waste of public property (Marpi pool). And even if we keep this out of active litigation by not formerly serving the lawsuit and wait for the governor to act, the pool will still be closed and polluted.”

 Babauta said he will “serve the lawsuit and proceed with the court›s assistance. But, honestly, how many barrels of chlorine could the governor or government buy for $18,000 per month?”

Babauta said that “the governor claims I don’t understand the ‘complexities’ of government. But, really, how complex is it to buy and add chlorine to a public swimming pool?  Again, how many barrels of chlorine would $18,000 per month pay for, if IPI paid that much for chlorine?”