Sept. 19, 2000
House appeals to feds on crop insurance
The House of Representatives has formally requested the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend a federal crop insurance program to the CNMI, citing the need to assist local farmers and ranchers. In endorsing the move, the Committee on Health and Welfare said a mechanism to protect local crops and investment by farmers must be in place in order to encourage development of agriculture industry on the islands. HR 12-63, sponsored by Rep. William S. Torres, called on the USDA through August Schumacher, undersecretary of farm and foreign service, to implement the program here, which is similar to the assistance provided to all farmers across the nation.
NMC: Regulate entry of postsecondary schools
The Northern Marianas College has opposed a House proposal seeking to promote the establishment of more postsecondary institutions, saying it lacks a mechanisms that would regulate their entry into the CNMI. Acting NMC President Alvaro A. Santos said such policy would be dangerous since this will allow any school organization to set up a college here without the benefit of a scrutiny. “The wisdom of allowing anybody, person or organization, to establish a postsecondary educational institution in the Commonwealth without regulation by any agency of the government is questionable and even dangerous,” warned Mr. Santos.
Sept. 19, 2001
'Fund's overseas investments safe'
Despite the reported drop in stock market indices worldwide in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the US mainland, the Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund assured that its international investments remain safe and sound and have not been adversely affected. “The Fund's investments are doing just fine and are perfectly safe. The Fund was very lucky in that none of its money managers nor the Fund's consultants had offices in any of the buildings that were damaged or destroyed,” assured Kathleen Troy-Rucker, the Fund's legal counsel. She also stressed that the Fund has no immediate plans of liquidating or withdrawing its international investments, saying that this action is still a remote possibility.
'No need to declare state of emergency yet'
Panicking government officials almost jumped the gun on US President George W. Bush on Monday when they reportedly urged Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio to declare a state of emergency in the CNMI. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed. Believing that Bush has already declared war, some government officials in the CNMI allegedly tried to prevail on Tenorio to declare a state of emergency during a meeting Monday afternoon. “They were already panicking, saying it was urgent that the Governor declare the state of emergency. I don't think that Bush has already declared a state of war. What I know is that Bush called on the US military to be prepared for war,” said House Speaker Benigno R. Fitial.
Sept. 19, 2002
'Plan to release govt money will hurt private depositors'
The proposal allowing government agencies to get the equivalent amount of their deposits in the bank of Saipan through the Commonwealth Development Authority, which in turn would acquire collectible loan assets from the bank, would prejudice private depositors, the lawyer of the Calvo shareholders said. Robert O'Connor, counsel for Thomas, Paul and Edward Calvo, rebutted the statement of BoS receiver Randall Fennell's counsel, Richard W. Pierce, that the proposal is sound because it would put the bank in a stronger financial position to pay depositors, saying that small depositors would be at risk of not getting their money at all. “The proposal put together by the receiver would sell all the private depositors down the river,” O'Connor said. “The government is working with the receiver to harm the private depositors.”
NMIRF is not alone in its investment losses
With the entire American retirement system itself losing $630 billion in 2000 and 2001, the losses sustained by the Northern Marianas Islands Retirement Fund's investment portfolio merely reflect the general malaise that is plaguing the pension industry. This was stressed by Fund administrator Karl T. Reyes, in reaction to statements in the media that had questioned the Board of Trustees' capabilities in carrying out its fiduciary duties and responsibilities over these funds. He pointed out a Cerulli Associates Inc. financial report that came out in the newspaper Pensions & Investments, which said the retirement market throughout the United States lost $630 billion, or 11 percent, in the two years ending December 31, 2001.