CNMI Governor Unhappy With Former Labor Secretary's Criticism

Deleon Guerrero says Chinese tourist workers show 'ongoing corruption' that adminstration is 'trying to cover up'

By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, June 2, 2017) – Governor Ralph D.L.G. Torres on Thursday said he did not appreciate the comments made by former Labor Secretary Edith Deleon Guerrero after he accepted her courtesy resignation.

Deleon Guerrero told Variety last week that there was “ongoing corruption” and the administration was trying to cover it up, referring to Chinese “tourists” who were hired to work at the Saipan casino construction site.

“Cabinet members know that they serve at the pleasure of the administration or the governor,” Torres said in an interview.

“I decided to accept her letter of resignation or courtesy resignation. Unfortunately, she’s now accusing the administration of corruption and hiding issues....

“If she had turned in her letter of resignation and stated ‘I resigned Governor Torres because your administration is corrupt. I resigned because you’re hiding issues and I do not allow that.’ Then maybe there would have been merit to it. But to wait until I accepted her resignation and then come out and say ‘there’s corruption’? I think that shows what type of character she is.”

The governor added, “I’ve never done that,” referring to Deleon Guerrero’s allegation.

“I’ve always had high respect for other individuals, but she is accusing this administration of wrongdoing, and I don’t appreciate that. We’ve done everything we can within the law, working closely with the Office of the Attorney General and all the departments to make sure no one gets sidelined or given short cuts to secure permits. Why do you think Imperial Pacific International has not opened yet? It’s because there are rules and regulations that they need to follow. So regarding [Deleon Guerrero’s] accusations, I’m warning other employers to look out when you employ her. She allowed me to accept her resignation, then she started accusing me. She’s been [with the Department of Labor] for eight years. I am proud of the decision I made in accepting her resignation.”

Torres said other cabinet members are also under evaluation.

“I have been telling them of my requirements and actions. I want them to be more aggressive. In my State of the Commonwealth Address, I asked them to go back and revisit regulations. I asked the AG to go back to the Legislature and look at some regulations that were put in place back in the 70s and 80s. I think it’s time for us to revisit our regulations.”

Marianas Variety
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