One of the founding fathers of the Commonwealth Covenant will be laid to rest today after decades of contributions as a public servant.
The late Vicente T. Camacho was one of the pioneers of the CNMI government who displayed unrelenting qualities of a great leader, while exemplifying patience, kindness and putting his community first in his endeavors, earning him much respect in the community.
Camacho was speaker of the Municipal Legislature from 1970 to 1975 and during a time of rapid societal change, he served as acting mayor of Saipan, improving the livelihood of the people of Saipan.
He solidified his political career as a member of the Marianas Political Status Commission from 1972 to 1976.
When the Covenant was ratified on Feb. 15, 1975—with additional work of the Personal Representative of the President of the United States, Ambassador F. Haydn Williams, together with the Marianas Political Status Commission consisting of Edward DLG. Pangelinan, chairman, and Vicente N. Santos as vice chairman, and its members (the late Juan LG. Cabrera, the late Vicente T. Camacho, the late Jose R. Cruz, the late Bernard V. Hofschneider, the late Benjamin T. Manglona, the late Daniel T. Muña, the late Dr. Francisco T. Palacios, the late Joaquin I. Pangelinan, Manuel A. Sablan, the late Joannes B. Taimanao, and Pedro A. Tenorio), he helped defined the political and social course of the CNMI.
The Covenant, which sought to establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in political union with the United States, defines the unique relationship between the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States, recognizing U.S. sovereignty but limited, in some respects.
Camacho also played a major part in the establishment of the Marianas Visitors Bureau, which is now the Marianas Visitors Authority. His fluency in the Japanese language played a key role in the development of the Japanese market.
His work included spearheading the Japan and Northern Marianas friendship through the Ocean University Student Exchange, better known as the Wakai Neko Nekai, where students of Japan and Saipan participated in cultural sharing and fellowship.
His advocacy for tourist safety resulted in the development of fences, ladders, and concrete structures at popular tourist sites.
He later ventured into business with Marianas Printing Services, serving as its vice president and manager until 1985.
With his daughters Lillian and Julie, he later opened a family business in 1998, known as Bencam Enterprises, serving as president until 2014 offering funeral services, wedding, and flower arrangement and apartment rentals.
Camacho was born on Saipan on April 5, 1929, living a full 86 years of life and marriage to his wife Rita Reyes Duenas and the blessing of three children. Today he lays to rest, as the CNMI charts its course through political changes and hopeful empowerment, leaving behind his legacy of fulfillment as a leader, a husband, and a father.