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By Moneth G. Deposa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 30) – The brother of garment magnate and Saipan Tribune owner Willie Tan will replace a Tan executive on the board of the Marianas Visitors Authority.

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, himself a former Tan executive, said on Friday that he is appointing Jerry Tan of Tan Holdings Corp. as David M. Sablan’s replacement.

"I am appointing him today to replace the position to be vacated by Sablan," Fitial said during Friday’s press conference.

Fitial said Jerry Tan is the "right man for the job."

"He has a hotel and that means motivation to help bring in more tourists to the islands," Fitial said when asked why he chose Jerry Tan to replace Sablan.

The Tans own three hotels on Saipan — Century, Fiesta Resort & Spa and the Saipan Grand Hotel.

Sablan, president of the Tan-owned Century Insurance Co. Ltd., submitted his courtesy resignation as Marianas Visitors Authority chairman on January 9.

Fitial said with Jerry Tan on the Visitors Authority board, there will be "more development" in the agency and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

"They will vote for the board’s chairman once he assumes the position and will also select the new managing director," the governor said.

Marianas Visitors Authority’s former managing director, Vicky Benavente, was "terminated" on January 13 by the board which also "bought out" her contract.

Benavente will continue to receive her salary until her contract expires in June.

The board has named Tess Castro, the agency’s general manager, as the acting managing director until a replacement is named.

Fitial, in an earlier interview, described the Marianas Visitors Authority board’s contract buyout decision as "wrong and highly inappropriate."

January 30, 2006

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