Secretary of Public Works Ray Yumul wants to send building inspectors into the defunct casino in Garapan to determine what to do next with the behemoth structure.
In a letter to Commonwealth Casino Commission chairman Ralph Demapan, Mr. Yumul wrote, “The Department of Public Works is hereby requesting authorization for our Building Safety Code Inspectors to be allowed entry into the IPI Building Facility for inspection. The building inspection is necessary to assess the existing condition of the electrical, mechanical, and standard components of the equipment and, to verify the integrity of the building and of welding connections.”
The facility is a fitting monument to the memory of the Ralph Torres administration – built to attract the money hungry risk taker, ornamented with lavish finishings, over extended on credit, corrupt at its core, abandoned, and derelict and left for someone else to take care of.
It was built between 2016 and 2017, and closed shop during the pandemic following multi-millions of dollars in owed fees and taxes, labor and safety violations, lawsuits, and judgments against it, not to mention the absence of tourism at the height of the public health emergency.
There is an irony to the letter. Mr. Demapan, the CCC chairman, was the legislator who authored the portion of the casino license statute that purposely removed the bonding requirement for the completion of construction of the building. Because of the absence of that requirement, IPI was allowed to stop construction of its south wing and leave its rusting cranes hanging in the middle of Garapan without consequence.
“DPW will also conduct [a] visual inspection of Tower Cranes Nos. 1 and 5,” Mr. Yumul wrote in his letter to Demapan. “The last inspection IPI conducted was in May 2021, which found rusting components of tower structures and safety rails that will eventually weaken the structural member of the Tower Crane.”
Mr. Yumul wrote that the inactivity of “structural members, mechanical equipment, and electrical component[s]” exposed to the elements “are detrimental to the safety of the building.”
“Those cranes are going to fall and hurt people!” Congressman Ed Propst has exclaimed on a number of occasions.
“The safety inspection is significant to identify the critical areas that may need immediate attention to prevent serious disasters from occurring and to protect life and property,” Mr. Yumul wrote.