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Thursday, April 24, 2014

FIRST LADY TO FIRST LADY
Josie appeals to Laura not to push marine monument

CNMI first lady Josie Fitial has urged U.S. first lady Laura Bush to appeal to the U.S. government—and to her husband, President Bush—not to designate a national marine environment in the Northern Marianas.

In a Nov. 12 letter to Mrs. Bush, Mrs. Fitial urged her federal counterpart to “let the stewardship success of the NMI, in union with the U.S., be the praiseworthy blue legacy.”

At the same time, Mrs. Fitial extended again an invitation to Mrs. Bush to visit the islands.

“Your presence would complement the passion you expressed to me in wanting to gain a better understanding of NMI culture and its people,” Mrs. Fitial’s letter said.

The two first ladies have met previously.

Mrs. Fitial reminded Mrs. Bush that she was touched by her enthusiasm to learn more about the CNMI during their first meeting.

“A visit would satisfy that interest and could influence another of your interests, which is to designate a Marianas national marine monument and thereby redefine the destiny of our islands,” Mrs. Fitial told Mrs. Bush.

President Bush is pushing for the creation of a national marine monument in the three northernmost islands of the Marianas chain, igniting strong opposition from not only the community but from the administration of Gov. Benigno R. Fitial.

The Carolinian Affairs Advisory Committee has also opposed to the plan. This week, the Guam Legislature adopted a resolution expressing its opposition to Bush’s proposal.

“We are simple Americans, a globally responsible Commonwealth of the U.S. We honor and uphold a long tradition of coexistence with Mother Ocean. Island heritage passed down from our elders teaches us that we and nature are one,” Mrs. Fitial said.

She said this is the insight that motivates the CNMI people to follow time-tested cultural conservation practices.

She said heritage also maps out the wise strategies that have resulted in the pristine condition of CNMI’s marine ecosystems—“a unique condition which brings awe to your staff.”

Mrs. Fitial told Mrs. Bush that when she visits the islands “your heart will recognize that the success we have in ocean conservation is an excellent example of the international image that you want the U.S. to portray to the world in regard to exemplary ocean management.”

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