CNMI Judiciary conducts strategic planning conference


The Commonwealth Judiciary conducted a two-day conference on strategic planning last week with the goal of creating a roadmap to improve the justice system. More than 90 percent of the court staff from Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, along with many community stakeholders, spent Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the Judiciary and began to plan how to best serve the CNMI over the next decade.

Conference topics included access to justice, language access policies, decision time standards, bench-bar relations, community outreach, public trust and confidence, court leadership, problem solving courts, customer service, and court policies. Participants discussed the strengths and weaknesses of current policies and practices, and considered opportunities for improvement. The results of the discussions will be used to formulate a 10-year strategic plan for the Judiciary.

This is the first time since 2007 that the Judiciary held a strategic planning conference. Members of the judiciary staff served as facilitators for the discussions. Justice Perry B. Inos trained the facilitators to guide discussions on selected topics in order to assess the positives and negatives of current practices and policies, and develop constructive suggestions to improve court practices in the future.

“I am proud of our facilitators’ performance,” said Inos. “Participants in the breakout sessions engaged in focused discussions developing positive plans for the Judiciary’s future.”

Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja explained that “the conference has provided the Judiciary and its stakeholders with an important opportunity to discuss and shape the direction of the Judiciary for years to come.”

Along with members of the court staff, community members and stakeholders joined the discussions, including acting governor Victor B. Hocog, Senate Vice President Arnold I. Palacios, Speaker Ralph S. Demapan, bishop Ryan P. Jimenez, Attorney General Ed Manibusan and deputy attorney general Lillian A. Tenorio, Board of Education chair Herman T. Guerrero, and Office of Management and Budget special assistant Virginia C. Villagomez.

Also participating were representatives from the Northern Marianas Bar Association, Micronesian Legal Services Corp., Northern Marianas College, Public School System, Chamber of Commerce, Department of Public Lands, Division of Youth Services, Ayuda Network, Commonwealth Health Corp., Community Guidance Center, and the Judiciary Historical Society.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro C. Castro emphasized the importance of the information and input of the community.

“As we paddle the Judiciary canoe into the uncharted waters of tomorrow, our government will only make meaningful progress if all three branches of government and our communities work together and paddle the canoe in the same direction,” he said. “This conference sets the course and ensures that every voice is heard as we continue our quest to dispense justice in a timely fashion and deliver high quality judicial services on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, notwithstanding the water that separates our islands.”

For further information contact Jim Stowell at 236-9805. (NMIJudiciary)

Press Release
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