Between 51 and 55 leaders from Micronesia and other jurisdictions will be coming to Saipan for the June 20 to 23 Association of Pacific Island Legislatures' 31st General Assembly to foster regional cooperation on a host of issues such as tourism, airlines, environmental protection, and economic development.
Overall, the four-day event is expected to draw some 200 participants, the bulk of which will be from the CNMI led by the 29 members of the 17th Legislature and Gov. Benigno R. Fitial.
The visiting dignitaries will include lawmakers and businessmen from Guam, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia's Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae and Yap, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, and Hawaii.
Ana Teregeyo, chairperson of the APIL event's hospitality subcommittee, said that 51 off-island dignitaries have confirmed attendance as of yesterday but this could go up to 55 shortly.
Senate floor leader Pete Reyes (R-Saipan) said during yesterday's meeting of the planning committee that U.S. Department of the Interior's Nik Pula confirmed attendance at the APIL meet. Teregeyo said that Pula will be the keynote speaker.
House Vice Speaker Felicidad Ogumoro (Cov-Saipan), Sen. Jovita Taimanao (Ind-Rota), House minority leader Joseph Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan), Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Cov-Saipan), and Rep. Tony Sablan (R-Saipan) were among those helping in the planning of the event, along with representatives from the Legislative Bureau and the Department of Commerce.
The opening ceremonies will be on June 20 in the House of Representatives chamber on Capital Hill, Teregeyo said.
This year's theme is, “Economic Development: Strengthening Local Economies throughout the Blue Continent.”
Last year's APIL General Assembly was held in Palau, where the CNMI sent 12 individuals-two senators, six House members, and four LB staffers.