The 14th Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council held its first session yesterday at the Memorial Kiusku, with council chair Luis John Castro excited to see several new matters brought to the table.
Among the topic of discussion was the creation of several committees that would work on projects that will touch on destination enhancement, embracing culture, and more.
Councilor Diego Kaipat, who is the council’s vice chair, will head the Entombment of Ancestral Remains Committee, which will find an area to centralize a burial ground.
“Not only will this bring peace to our ancestors, but it can also be used to educate our younger generation and visitors about the past,” Castro said.
Council chair Antonia Tudela would like to create a committee that will take charge of an indigenous medicinal plant community garden. The plan is to appropriate land where medicinal plants can be planted.
“This can benefit local healers and the community and can open avenues to investments in traditional healing,” said Castro.
Tudela would also be steering a committee that would take care of a conference that was supposed to take place last year on Pagan.
The Konferencian Dinania Islas Marianas was unable to take place last year due to infrastructure issues and the event coinciding with the Festival of the Pacific in Guam.
This year, Tudela will work with the Northern Island Mayor’s Office in pursuing the conference.
Castro said this is an important event that not only will highlight the beauty of the island of Pagan, but will also clarify the planned military buildup and strengthen the culture.
Castro himself will be active in the Charter Municipality Committee. The focal point will be to work a council building that has been a topic of past municipal councils.
“Collaboration is key in succeeding. We are working closely with the Department of Public Works, the delegations, and the House speaker on this project,” Castro said.
He will also be working on a Village Identity Project that will come up with a unique symbol for each village, not only from a destination enhancement standpoint, but to also bring pride to every village.
The Chalan Kanoa children’s playground is still in discussion. The council is looking at the Memorial Kiosku’s adjacent lot for the playground. “Right now, the only recreation they have here in Chalan Kanoa is the basketball court. If not there, the kids are just playing on the streets. This will be a good outlet for not only health issues, but also for safety,” Castro said.