Casino commission needs female members, say resident and lawmaker

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 A MEMBER of the local community and a lawmaker on Monday noted that the Casino Commonwealth Commission has no female board members.

“I have no quarrel with the nominees, but I want to see diversity on our commission,” Peter Reyes Muna said during the public hearing conducted by the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation’s Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations on the governor’s three nominees to the casino commission: former commission executive director Edward C. Deleon Guerrero, former Speaker Rafael S. Demapan, and former Rep. Mario Taitano.

Rep. Joseph Leepan T.  Guerrero said the commission is the only one whose members are all men.

“I am a true believer that…it’s important to have a female [member on any government board or commission] so it can be cohesive when making…decisions.”

He asked the three nominees, “Wouldn’t you agree that…we [should] amend [the law,] P.L.18-56, to include females as commissioners in the future? In all due fairness, we have females who are qualified and capable to make sound, justified decisions for the best interests of the CNMI.”

A portion of P.L. 18-56 states that the “gender and ethnicity requirements of 1 CMC § 2901 shall not apply to the Commission,” meaning that the commission is not required to cater to gender and ethnic representation.

Edward C. Deleon Guerrero said, “Whenever possible, we should always get females on the boards and on commissions.”

He noted that P.L. 18-56 was enacted before the casino commission was created.

“Looking at the composition of similar regulatory bodies, neither the Tinian gaming commission board, nor the one on Rota have gender or ethnicity requirements. If you look at every state, they also do not have [those requirements].”

Taitano said he was not aware that gender and ethnicity were specifically excluded from the requirements of the regulatory commission.

“I prepared my opening statement believing that I am representing my [Refaluwasch] people. I was quite surprised when [Edward C. Deleon Guerrero] told me that there is a specific provision that does not require that, but yes, I believe that women should be represented, similarly with the Refaluwasch community as well. I have no opposition to it,” Taitano said.

Demapan said legislators should pass a measure to require the appointment of female gaming commissioners.


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