Gov. Benigno R. Fitial called on lawmakers to be “collaborative,” days after a letter to the Senate and House asking for another joint leadership summit has yet to receive a response.
The House leadership aligned with the governor looks forward to the meeting, but Senate President Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) has reservations about the governor's request.
Manglona said if the governor is serious about moving the CNMI forward, for example, he should look at other proposals besides casinos and invalidate the sole-source $190.8-million power purchase agreement for a 50-megawatt diesel power plant, among other things.
Fitial said that since he became governor, he made “NMD my priority.” He said NMD refers to “no more delay.”
“The attitude must be collaborative instead of. not wiling to cooperate,” Fitial told reporters.
He said he's still waiting for a date and time from the Senate.
“Well election is coming up so, we have to answer to the people. I'm not playing games. We are in dire straits now. We need to work together,” he said.
The Fitial administration is pushing for a new 5 percent “fat” tax to help the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and combat obesity, and revisit Saipan casino proposals.
Senate floor leader Pete Reyes (R-Saipan), meanwhile, wrote the Senate president an Oct. 22 letter, hoping that Manglona would meet with House Speaker Eli Cabrera (R-Saipan) and agree on a convenient time for a meeting with the governor.
“I assume the governor welcomes participation of every member in the Legislature as I feel that elected leaders should meet and address a solution for many of the problems that can be resolved in the short period of time remaining in the 17th Legislature. The governor made it clear that he wanted both houses to set the date of the meeting,” Reyes told Manglona.
The governor's call for another joint leadership meeting came after the defeat of a House resolution impeaching him for 16 allegations of corruption, neglect of duty, and felony.