October 4, 2005
7 fishermen off the hook
After days of silence, the Department of Lands and Natural Resources declared that it would not press charges against seven persons who were reportedly caught fishing within the Bird Island Sanctuary. In a prepared statement given to the Saipan Tribune, the DLNR acquitted the seven persons, saying that its conservation officers lacked conclusive evidence to positively identify any of the fishermen and their boat at the time when they were fishing within the sanctuary, where the law prohibits the taking of marine life. The alleged failure to identify the culprits and their boat happened even as the DLNR also claimed that Fish and Wildlife conservation officers had observed the fishing activity at the sanctuary for about four hours—from 9pm until 1am the following morning two Sundays ago.
Continental starts layoff of Saipan employees
Some Continental Micronesia employees have already lost their jobs on Saipan in view of the pullout of Japan Airlines from the Marianas route effective today. Continental Micronesia staff vice president for sales and marketing Wally Dias confirmed yesterday that, as earlier announced, Saipan employees would lose their jobs beginning this week due to loss of service contracts with Japan Airlines and Northwest Airlines. He declined to specify, however, the number of employees who have already been let go. Currently, he said, Continental Micronesia has 150 staff on Saipan. By January 2006, the number of personnel will be down to 35.
October 4, 2006
Tinian road mishaps, burglary blamed on lack of streetlights
A Tinian senator has attributed recent road accidents and a burglary on the island to the lack of adequate lighting on public streets as caused by ongoing austerity measures-a claim that the Tinian mayor has dismissed as “nonsense.” In a letter to Tinian Mayor Jose P. San Nicolas yesterday, Sen. Jude U. Hofscneider called on the latter “not to sacrifice safety issues,” saying there have been at least two automobile accidents and one burglary of a commercial business in San Jose village during the evening hours. “It’s my opinion that these incidents may have been prevented if there had been more adequate lighting,” said the senator.
Quitugua, Torres volunteer pay cuts
Two other lawmakers have volunteered to cut their salaries by 10 percent for fiscal year 2007. House Vice Speaker Justo S. Quitugua and Rep. Stanley Torres separately wrote Finance Secretary Eloy Inos, authorizing him to make the necessary pay reduction. “In joining other government employees.and realize some financial savings for the government, I hereby volunteer 10 percent reduction of my legislative salary,” said Quitugua in an Aug. 22, 2006 letter to the secretary.
Quitugua represents Precinct 4 in the House of Representatives.
Torres, who is from Precinct 3, said his pay reduction is “in solidarity [with] the hardworking employees who have been reduced or will be receiving a reduction in their income due to the austerity measures.”
October 4, 2007
Job types for locals only deemed unconstitutional
The law barring alien workers in the CNMI from working in certain job categories has been deemed unconstitutional, after a federal court ruling determined that the CNMI government provided no basis for the statute.
In a ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Court for the NMI chief judge Alex R. Munson said the CNMI government failed to provide any rational basis why nonresident workers should be completely barred from being employed in specific job classifications.
House overrides six vetoed bills
The House of Representatives voted yesterday to override the governor’s veto of six bills, including three relating to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. This marks a departure from the House majority’s previous tendency to go by the administration’s policy, which at some point earned them the label “rubberstamp Legislature.” During a session yesterday, the House voted on one vetoed bill after another, reversing the governor’s decision to thumb them down. “It’s the season of discontent,” said House minority leader Arnold I. Palacios.