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OPINION | Epitaph 122: Casino Commission Follies             

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AS for the Casino Commission, I guess they finally got the memo.

I have been writing about OUR Community Chess funds for over a year and more recently stated that it may be time to revoke their license and find another investor. Then Senator Manglona took up the banner, followed by Rep. Tina Sablan and now PEOPLE in the villages are talking about it too. I’m glad to see the Casino Commission finally doing their job by holding IPI fully responsible with NO MORE FAVORS but like the Editor said about our leaders “all talk and no actions.”  I just hope their actions will be louder and more definitive than the words of threat to take the license as they must be willing to follow through and find us ANOTHER Investor(s) who IS or ARE NOT Chinese. The Casino and the Casino Commission have become an absolute FOLLY (foolishness) given all the bad things and mistakes that have transpired with this casino. IPI’s Future is definitely looking gloomy after this pandemic and the Feds haven’t even started dealing with them yet which is why I warned months ago that it may be time to re-think the casino and get another investor — I Told You So! 

But it seems that every opportunity the GOP got and still gets to sell-out locals is being taken advantage of instead of doing the work to empower locals which is all the more reason voters need to do you-know-what!  The reason I have my doubts about the Casino Commission is because they let SOOOO MUCH go wrong and didn’t do a darn thing. IRS even came in and found SEVEN THOUSAND problems with IPI and yet the Commission never mentioned ONE of these problems — HELLER! But I do want to offer KUDOS to Rep. Tina Sablan for asking IPI about OUR Community Chest Money. HOWEVER, should she really have needed to ask when we have a Casino Commission who is “responsible for monitoring ALL of IPI’s activities and the accountability of OUR Money”. The Casino Commission is now putting on the appearance of getting tough with IPI after failing us miserably but only time will tell if their “bite (action) is worse than their bark (talk)” as we say in my culture.

But the Law that made the Commonwealth Casino Commission and the Department of Commerce-Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco Control Division law enforcement agencies like the Department of Public Safety was absolutely ridiculous. First, none of the Casino Commissioners and no one in Commerce need a weapon as their job is REGULATORY. The Enforcement of ALL Laws fall under DPS unless otherwise prescribed differently by Law.  The GOP continues to get it BACKWARDS because they should have made all the “Marijuana Regulatory Rules & Policies” fall under a “Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Cannabis Commission” like Colorado and other states which I put in the Draft Bill, not DPS.  The Casino Commission only REGULATES and SUPPOSEDLY to MONITOR All the Casino activities as Revenue & Tax, Public Lands, Fire Department and other Agencies ALL have the necessary ENFORCEMENT capabilities over the casino. This is just a bunch of Political Hog-slop being fed to the People and it even STINKS of Political Manipulation of POWER to be expanded Government unnecessarily.

I can understand the need for Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco Control Division to be an enforcement division which what they are in the states but they should be under DPS anyway, especially if they are going to carry a weapon. Commerce only creates rules and regulations for the rest of the Government Agencies to follow through with enforcement be it agriculture or the sale of liquor in stores. They should be transferring Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco Control Division (which is really an Enforcement Division) to DPS and not creating an additional enforcement entity within Commerce for what has been traditional business activity EVER-SINCE as Locals might say. Marijuana & Hemp are the only two Industries that actually need their own enforcement as the businesses and activities within the community are considered “non-criminal” and legal. Marijuana and Hemp Enforcement officers don’t really even need to carry a weapon — similar to the Parking Meter Police we see on the mainland who will call for “back-up” if they need an armed officer.

I can tell that none of the changes and the recent activities to make new Laws was NOT well throughout or they are just out-right scheming to expand Policing Power at a time when the entire world is trying to reel-in Policing Powers. They didn’t get their great Casino idea right from the very start and it just continues to get worse with no real plan to rebound our economy. They keep talking and making Laws for their Political benefit that we don’t really need without even conducting a Public Hearing under the cover of this Pandemic when they should be doing the WORK to really make life better for the average citizen in the CNMI.

Personally, I don’t trust the Torres Administration and this Legislature to do anything RIGHT anymore and I know I’m not alone as there are many voters already talking about voting in ALL Democrats to get rid of this GOP Legislature and so the Governor can also be impeached —

 to heck with waiting on the FBI. To be continued:  One People One Direction

PS: In response to my nemesis tarklejr on the Cannabis Commission who said, “We're in the midst of the greatest crisis this country has seen in 100 years and all you can think about is getting your precious marijuana? Shame on you.”  Well it seems his ignorance can be “bliss” for whatever reason, as I was talking about the work our Cannabis Commission and Legislature did wrong and what could be done WHILE we are in the midst of this pandemic, duh! Obvious ignorance combined with prejudice hate can be blinding —  prayers for you tarkleir.

The writer is a retired teacher, former CNMI Board of Education Member, James Madison Fellow (U.S. Constitutional Scholar) and a Fulbright-Hays Foreign Scholar who resides in Kagman

 

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