August 22, 2005
Homestead moratorium lifted
The Marianas Public Lands Authority lifted Friday the moratorium on the acceptance of applications for villages and agricultural homesteads for the islands of Saipan and Rota. The MPLA board of directors made the decision at the request of Gov. Juan N. Babauta, who wrote the agency regarding the matter earlier this year. The moratorium has been in effect since Oct. 1, 2002 and affected village homestead applications for Saipan and village and agricultural homestead applications for Rota. MPLA imposed the moratorium due to the dwindling inventory of public lands. A statement issued by the MPLA quoted Peter Callaghan, the governor’s press secretary, as saying: “The governor is pleased that the MPLA board has lifted the restrictions on this very vital project for the CNMI and its people.”
CDA opposes debt relief for CUC
The Commonwealth Development Authority expressed strong opposition to a new bill that seeks to grant debt relief to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., calling instead for the implementation of the settlement agreement signed by both parties for the $45-million loan.
House Bill 14-362, authored by Vice Speaker Timothy P. Villagomez, should be summarily rejected, CDA added. In a written comment on H.B. 14-362, CDA noted that the measure is the fourth attempt at the House of Representatives to write off CUC’s $45-million debt to CDA. “We have opposed it each time and submitted written comments. Please forgive us if the following appears repetitive for some members of the Legislature but CDA reiterates its previous opposition with equal fervor,” CDA said before offering its comments.
August 22, 2006
Retirees group wants to see Fund lawyer
A retirees group is exploring the possibility of getting assistance from the NMI Retirement Fund’s in-house legal counsel James Hollman regarding the existing lawsuit by the agency against the government. David Igitol, president of the NMI Association of Retired Persons, said in an interview yesterday that the group is set to hold a meeting by the end of this month. “We can possibly invite the lawyer to that meeting to brief us and see what he can do for the retirees,” said Igitol. As far as he knows, he said that Hollman has not directly assisted retirees for a possible case against the government.
Saipan’s US Attorney’s Office has no chief
The U.S. Attorney’s Office Saipan Branch has no chief at present, the Saipan Tribune learned yesterday. Sources said Craig Moore was recently removed as chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Saipan branch for unknown reasons. Mae Blas, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Guam, confirmed in a telephone interview that Moore is no longer the chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Saipan Branch. But Blas stated that Moore is still working at the Saipan branch as an assistant U.S. attorney. When asked for the reason behind Moore’s removal from the chief position, Blas replied: “We cannot discuss personnel matters.”
August 22, 2007
Prices of goods record high in Q2
The cost of basic consumer goods hit another record high in the second quarter of 2007, according to data from the Department of Commerce. The consumer price index for the period between April and June 2007 increased 13.4 index points, compared with the same period one year ago. From 100.3 in the second quarter of 2006, the CPI for all goods and services climbed to 113.7 in the second quarter of this year. This means that a market basket of goods and services that cost $100 during the 2003 base period cost $113.7 in April-June 2007. The latest CPI is the highest since 2000.
’Sept. will be worst month for tourism’
The Marianas Visitors Authority is bracing itself for September, which is projected to be the worst month this year for the tourism industry in the CNMI. In a presentation to the Rotary Club of Saipan at the Hyatt Regency Saipan yesterday, MVA board chair Jerry Tan said this prediction is based on the scheduled downsizing of aircraft flying in from Japan next month. By Sept. 4, Northwest will be flying in using an Airbus instead of its usual Boeing 747 planes.