In a meeting yesterday with Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and Lt. Gov. David M. Apatang, Carmen G. Cantor, Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, confirmed $1.65 million in Compact Impact grant funding for the CNMI.
“Pursuant to Public Law 108-188 and calculated based on the corrected 2018 Estimates of Compact of Free Association Migrants conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is allotted $1,652,879 in Compact Impact mandatory funding…,” said Cantor in a letter she personally handed to Palacios.
“I am pleased to award $1,652,879 for a general operations offset for the reimbursement of costs associated with providing education, health, and safety-related services to [Freely Associated States] citizens,” Cantor’s letter added.
In addition to the announcement of the Compact Impact funding, they discussed different topics such as the CNMI’s economic challenges, need for technical assistance, funding opportunities, and other matters.
“The U.S Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs will be playing a pivotal role in the economic recovery and growth of the CNMI,” said Palacios. “The meeting with Assistant Secretary Cantor was very productive and spurred other future collaborative discussions that focused on expanding assistance to the Commonwealth.”
The federal government is mandated to offset the costs that other territories and states spend arising from the U.S. government’s Compact of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, and Republic of the Marshall Islands. That Compact agreement has resulted in many citizens of those countries migrating and working in U.S. territories and states. The Compact Impact payments attempts to offset the costs for health, education, social services, among other services, that territories and states spend in order to host these citizens. (PR/Saipan Tribune)