July 15, 2005
JNB backs Verizon sale-finally
After putting up a strong opposition to the sale of Verizon, Gov. Juan N. Babauta finally changed his stance and threw his support behind the multi-million-dollar telecom deal. Babauta said yesterday that he would not contest the Commonwealth Telecommunications Commission’s final order, which removed all obstacles to Pacific Telecom Inc.’s purchase of Verizon from Micronesian Telecommunications Corp. Babauta has until Monday to elevate the matter to the Superior Court, his lawyer, assistant attorney general James Livingstone, said. “Our objections resulted in many concessions from MTC and PTI for the benefit of our people. I believe the public interest has been served,” the governor said.
Tobacco funds reprogrammed for CUC
Gov. Juan N. Babauta has reprogrammed Tobacco Control Funds totaling some $95,000 for the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. amid the current power crisis. In a letter disapproving a bill that sought to tap into the funds, Gov. Juan N. Babauta said the bill does not meet the requirement on the use of Tobacco Control Funds set forth in Public Law 13-38. He also cited the lack of funds owing to the reprogramming for CUC.
“I cannot approve this measure due to the fact that the funds identified are not available for appropriation. The funds have been reprogrammed to the CUC Emergency Fuel Contingency Account,” said Babauta.
July 15, 2006
Judiciary 2 months behind in loan payment
The Judicial Branch has been two months behind in paying its loan with the NMI Retirement Fund, with arrears amounting to $236,000. The Judiciary, which took out a $13-million loan with the Fund several years ago to construct its complex in Susupe, is obliged to pay the Fund $118,245 a month. Fund administrator Karl T. Reyes said Thursday that the payments for May and June this year have not been remitted.
Reyes followed up on the outstanding debt in a letter to Finance Secretary Eloy Inos.
Tank repair work to affect water supply to Kagman
Some areas in Kagman will experience less water supply or no water at all for a few weeks as contractors start repair work on the one-million gallon water tank in Kagman on Tuesday. Commonwealth Utilities Corp. spokesperson Pamela Mathis said yesterday that residents who experience water shortages are encouraged to contact the Saipan Mayor’s Office for water deliveries. Mathis said the contractors-Ericco Enterprises and Maeda Corp.-would repair the leaks on the water tank pursuant to the original warranty in the contracts.
July 15, 2007
’Low-cost carriers could save NMI’
The Northern Marianas may significantly benefit from having low-cost carriers fly to the CNMI as they tend to be more flexible in their flight operations to meet the changing travelers’ needs. In his presentation Friday during the Marianas Visitors Authority’s general membership meeting at Hyatt Regency Saipan, route development consultant John Woolf said low-cost carriers predominantly focus on leisure traffic for shorter routes, usually four- to five-hour flights. As such, low-cost carriers may easily link Saipan to nearby routes such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and other Asian countries. Woolf’s team is in discussions with different airlines, including low-cost carriers, to promote the CNMI route. He said the CNMI’s tropical setting “is an attractive destination route for low-cost carriers.”
Avast, me hearties! Saipan to talk like a pirate
The CNMI will once again mark a first by joining the rest of the world in celebrating “Talk Like a Pirate Day” in September, to be organized by the American Memorial Park. AMP site manager and park manager Nancy Kelchner said the event would be held on Sept. 19 at the American Memorial Park Visitor Center. She said the venue would be transformed to evoke an atmosphere that would transport people to a time when pirates rules the oceans. Kelchner said the center would provide visitors with pirate hats, eye patches and swords made out of paper and cardboards to add to the merriment. The venue will also be adorned with papier-mâché parrots. She said the Visitor Center would be showing pirate-themed films before the International Talk Like A Pirate Day.