Lawmaker wants accountability, transparency from new casino commissioners

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AFTER the confirmation Tuesday of Edward Deleon Guerrero, Rafael Demapan, and Mario Taitano as the three new Commonwealth casino commissioners, Rep. Joseph Leepan Guerrero encouraged them to serve in that capacity to the best of their abilities.

Although the newly confirmed casino commissioners had already departed the session hall, Guerrero made the following statements, for the record, during the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation session:

“I hope they are ready and prepared to figure out how this giant elephant can operate itself [in the] absence of outside money, meaning not local people, but outsiders.

“I hope that they are ready to answer the gaming committee when the time [comes]. I hope that they have with them their plans set in motion, because if they are only thinking about getting their salary, I will certainly be outspoken.

“I did not waste my vote to vote the three of them in. I voted them in to see if there’s change that can be done, and improvements that can be done, to rectify the problems, the issues, and concerns of the community regarding the community chest benefit fund.

“We need to account for that. We want to know how it was spent. I want them to explain to this body. It was not an easy decision for me to vote them in, but now is the time that we should wake them up.

“You got confirmed. Figure out this issue, and report back to [the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation]. Feed us with information that we want to hear, meaning accountability, because that is what we want to share with the community.”

Guerrero noted that the appointees refrained from providing detailed information to certain questions from lawmakers, emphasizing that it was sensitive or confidential information that they were not at liberty to discuss.

“This pandemic has put everything aside because the welfare of the community is at stake,” Guerrero said. “We need to see new money coming in, especially with this casino. They need to pay their obligation. If they are saying that they paid their obligation, show us. Do not hide because of confidentiality. I hope that these three [commissioners] can figure out these problems.”



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