The Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council is asking the local delegation to support and confirm the nomination of Diego Litulumar Kaipat, saying that having a council member from the Northern Islands would open the door to other qualified residents to run for a seat in that office in the future.
Council chair Ramon B. Camacho said that he and councilwoman Antonia M. Tudela adopted Resolution No. 12SMC-03 endorsing Kaipat's nomination during their organizational session after their swearing in on Capital Hill on Jan. 14.
The resolution states that Kaipat worked as a corpsman in Pagan, a flight nurse at Dr. Torres Hospital, a hemodialysis/emergency nurse at the Commonwealth Health Center, CHC Emergency Department clinical coordinator, and CHC nursing supervisor prior to his retirement.
Kaipat was nominated by Northern Islands Mayor Tobias Aldan earlier last month. Reports have surfaced, however, that Saipan Mayor Donald Flores is questioning Kaipat's nomination since he was not consulted by Aldan.
Camacho said he personally knows Kaipat, having worked with him whenever he would bring patients to the hospital when he was still in the police force. He described Kaipat as “very knowledgeable” and “a good citizen.”
According to Camacho, the law requires the council to have three members. In November's mid-term elections, however, only Camacho and Tudela ran for the council member positions.
“There's a nominee from the Northern Islands and I support that nominee. I can see in the future that Northern Islands residents will start running for municipal council position. We're opening the door because since the council was established, there's never ever a Northern Islands resident who became a council member,” he told Saipan Tribune.
Camacho noted that having a council member representing the Northern Islands and occupying the third vacant seat would “fulfill the title of the municipal council.”
“It's always from Saipan,” he added, referring to elected council members.
Camacho added that having a Northern Islander as a council member is timely given the efforts to develop the vast potentials of the CNMI's northern frontier.
“All of us is going to benefit in this thing because we're all looking at the future development of the Northern Islands,” he said. “We can start here at the council and all three of us can work together to start exploring and see what we can come up with.”
Camacho said they gave a copy of the resolution to the Legislature and the local delegation, which has yet to schedule a hearing for Kaipat's confirmation.