The Saipan Garment Manufacturers Association issued a warning to all its members to be careful where they allow their employees to purchase fruits, vegetables and other items that may be sold by persons not allowed to legally conduct business in the CNMI.
In response to reports that some farmers and merchants, those usually seen selling items from the back of pickup trucks near factories’ dormitories, may not only be conducting business without the necessary business and health permits, but also may be selling alcohol and tobacco, SGMA issued a strong warning to companies that may be turning their heads to this activity.
In a memorandum, Executive Director Richard A. Pierce said “SGMA believes that our members should be doing business only with legitimate business operators. As far as what they allow their employees to do, at a minimum, companies must educate and warn their employees of the rules and regulations here in the CNMI.”
Pierce said, “we insist that the government is responsible for enforcing their own rules and regulations, however, we have requested that our members warn their employees of the circumstances surrounding these roadside vendors.”
“You can hardly blame the girls from after a hard day’s work coming home, and being without their own transportation, finding it appealing to just walk across the street to buy a banana or an orange. So we strongly recommend to the local merchants that they insist that the government do a better job in eliminating any illegal activity.”
Pierce suggested to the local merchants, “these stores on wheels are not just any other roadside attraction. If the merchants actually believe these people to be profiting from these girls at the factory dormitories, why don’t they get their own trucks and take their business to them?”
“The garment factories are certainly emphatic with the loss of business to competitors not compliant with the same laws we follow, and although SGMA supports the purchase of local commodities and products from local stores and merchants as much as possible, we honestly see the solution to this enigma as proper enforcement of the law. We follow the laws, we don’t enforce them.”