Mar. 15, 2004
Governor, consumer counsel OK’d as intervenors in PTI-MTC process
Gov. Juan N. Babauta and the Attorney General’s consumer counsel have been recognized by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Commission as “intervenors” in the Pacific Telecom Inc-Verizon purchase deal. The decision was unanimously reached by the commissioners during an executive session Friday evening where they voted on a petition, in effect giving the governor and the consumer counsel rightful standing to argue their concerns over the deal but subject to limitations. “So in effect they (governor and the consumer counsel) are permitted to be part of the process,” said CTC executive director Adam Turner, moments after the voice vote. “The process will go on until the standards of the law are met and the protection of consumers are assured.”
Unified effort sought to tackle ’stateless’ children
The Babauta administration and the House of Representatives have agreed to unify their efforts in assisting CNMI “stateless” children get U.S. citizenship. Gov. Juan N. Babauta, in an interview, said he has discussed the matter with House Speaker Benigno R. Fitial, who he said was amenable to the plan. “I have asked the Speaker and he basically agreed that we would work together on this. The key here is to get an accurate listing of the individuals,” he said. The lower chamber had held public hearings, met with concerned parties and heard issues surrounding their plight with the goal of helping them obtain U.S. citizenship.
Mar. 15, 2005
Poker collection transferred to Commerce
Citing a lack of personnel, the Department of Finance has temporarily relinquished its duty to collect poker and amusement fees, turning over this responsibility to the Department of Commerce. In a memorandum of agreement, Finance Secretary Fermin M. Atalig transferred the enforcement of poker/amusement machines and cash register revenue laws to Commerce, saying his department is acutely understaffed to do the collection. He said he only has two personnel assigned to go after poker operators. This situation, he said, has resulted in the government collecting poker and amusement revenues “below expectations.”
Minority: Part-time initiative ’flawed’
House minority leader Arnold I. Palacios considers the proposed part-time initiative as “flawed,” citing that it lacks provisions addressing the part-time issue. “It says part-time Legislature but it doesn’t tell you how part-time is part-time. It doesn’t tell you how many sessions or meetings to conduct. So what’s part-time for them? This proposal is flawed,” said Palacios in an interview yesterday. As for the initiative’s primary aims to reduce the Legislature’s cost, “there’s no need to amend the Constitution,” he said. Further, Palacios said he is opposed to the proposal “because I don’t work part-time.”
Mar. 15, 2006
’Hopwood move should not cost govt a dime’
Hopwood Junior High School principal Jim Brewer said he would only be amenable to relocate the school to another location if the government would not spend a dime on the project. In an interview yesterday morning with the Saipan Tribune, the principal said investors should be the one to shoulder the expense of relocating the largest junior high school in the CNMI. “I would urge the government not spend for the project. Everything should be paid for by hotel investors. Let them foot the bill,” said Brewer. He added that news last week about an international luxury hotel company wanting to use Hopwood as the location of a new hotel on Saipan was a surprise not only to him but also to the Public School System’s Central Office.
Munson orders arrest of intercepted fishing vessel
The federal court yesterday ordered the arrest of a foreign fishing vessel that was intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard for allegedly engaging in illegal fishing in the CNMI waters. U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Alex R. Munson directed the U.S. Marshal to arrest the FF/V Chuan Fa Sheng No. 128, a 100-foot Taiwanese “long-line” fishing vessel. Munson also commanded the U.S. Marshal to arrest the boat’s engines, machinery, tackle and appurtenances. The judge issued the order after the U.S. government, through assistant U.S. attorney Mikel W. Schwab, filed a complaint for forfeiture of the vessel.