GUALO RAI Saipan — Vicente C. “Ben” Camacho a fixture in the CNMI business community passed away on June 15 following almost a month in comatose condition due to a massive stroke.

Camacho president and owner of Summer Holiday Hotel and former chairman of the CNMI Retirement Fund board of directors started out on Saipan in 1983 after finishing a degree in criminal justice from the University of Nevada.

He had wanted to go back to the United States after six months of futile job hunting but decided to stay upon request of his relatives and negotiated the sale of a parcel of family land in San Roque to the Hotel Nikko. In an interview with Guam Business News in the September 1987 edition Camacho explained his decision to stay saying “He who serves well his mother shall find his fortune.” Camacho was also president and general manager of Camacho Investment Corp. which did business as Metropolitan Builders until the 1990s.

Camacho then started traveling abroad to compile ideas on architectural designs for a small hotel. He came back to Saipan and offered his relatives a proposal to build a small hotel. His mother Rosa gave a parcel of land where the Summer Holiday Hotel is now.

Camacho was also a longstanding member of the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands whose members decided during the June 16 general membership meeting at the Saipan Ocean View Hotel to adopt a resolution honoring him for his vast contributions to the association. Judge David Wiseman a HANMI founding member who made the suggestion offered to draft the resolution. HANMI members took a moment of silence for Camacho during the meeting with those who had been his acquaintance sharing their memories of him.

Camacho had accepted an offer by former CNMI Gov. Froilan C. Tenorio to be his running mate in this year’s gubernatorial race.

Aside from being Retirement Fund board chairman Camacho also chaired the Workman’s Compensation Commission Group Health Life Insurance Program of the Reitrement Fund and the Prior Service Trust Fund. Camacho likewise had been chairman of various community organizations including NMI Crime Stoppers Karidat Social Service and the Protection and Advocacy for the Mentally Ill.

Edward T. Salas is general manager of Niizeki International Saipan and representative for Summer Holiday Hotel and knew Camacho for 14 years. He said of Camacho "He was energetic and very blunt. He would tell you exactly what he was feeling and would fight for what he believed. At the same time he was open to suggestion and would listen to your point of view.”

Judge David A. Wiseman of the Superior Court of the Northern Mariana Islands knew Camacho since the founding of the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands. Wiseman said “He was a unique individual in that he had a vision of how local persons could contribute to the community by engaging in the hospitality business of owning and operating a hotel.”MBJ