CNMI House Wants Details On Casino Hiring Practices

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Best Sunshine required to hire 65% ‘U.S. qualified workers’

By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Nov. 19, 2015) – The House of Representatives has asked the Commonwealth Casino Commission to submit a report regarding Best Sunshine’s compliance with the requirement that it hire U.S. qualified workers.

Speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero asked the commission officials present in the gallery during the House session on Tuesday to disclose the total number of workers, U.S. and foreign, that the casino investor Best Sunshine has hired for its live training facility at T Galleria.

It was House Minority Leader Ramon Tebuteb who raised the subject during the session. He said he wanted to know how many U.S. citizens have been hired by Best Sunshine.

Commission Executive Director Edward Deleon Guerrero said they could not provide a number right away, but added that the casino operator is required to have a workforce that is at least 65 percent U.S. qualified workers.

He said so far Best Sunshine has hired a total of over 500 employees.

He told the speaker that he will provide the Legislature with the exact number.

In an interview, Edward Deleon Guerrero said due to their lack of funding they sought the assistance of the Department of Public Safety in connection with the issuance of badges and identification cards.

"But once we get the funding we can do the finger-printing. Right now we are relying on DPS to help with the finger prints and IDs," he said.

"We need to move on, but are we regulating already? Yes, we are already regulating the industry and we are trying our best to do our job despite the lack of funding. We are not the bad guys, we are simply doing our best to function effectively as regulators of this casino industry."

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted 10 to 9 to pass a bill creating a revolving fund for the commission and raising the salaries of its officials. The measure is now with the governor’s office.

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