CNMI MARKS 45TH COVENANT DAY TODAY
The CNMI marks today the 45th anniversary of the signing of the Covenant agreement that made the CNMI part of the American political family—an occasion that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios describes as an occasion to celebrate the creation of the Commonwealth and the progress it has made as a young democracy.
In a statement yesterday, Torres and Palacios said: “Forty-five years ago, a group of 14 beautiful islands in the Western Pacific successfully negotiated on equal terms with the most powerful country in the world in an act of self-determination.”
That negotiation led to the creation of the Covenant agreement and Torres and Palacios said it was the framework created by the Covenant through which constructive conversations were held with the federal government to promote the best interest of all CNMI residents. That includes the most recent 902 consultations in 2016 and 2019, which allowed the CNMI to develop its workforce, protect long-term foreign workers, rebuild homes and infrastructure, develop the CNMI economy, and fund the earned income tax credit.
“The Covenant is a sacred agreement, an honorable accord, and the foundation of our government, and we will continue to use it as a guide in our work of overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuilding our economy, continuing our recovery, providing public safety in our villages, achieving our healthcare goals, expanding educational opportunities for our students, and ensuring economic prosperity for our Commonwealth,” said Torres and Palacios.
Separately, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang said in a statement that the signing of the Covenant allowed the people of the Northern Marianas to become part of the American family.
“The Covenant paved the way for many residents in the Northern Marianas to become U.S. citizens and contributing members of its strong economy and political system. We honor our forefathers who worked meticulously to make our political relationship with the United States of America mutually beneficial for the people of the Northern Marianas and the U.S.,” he said.
The Covenant was negotiated over the course of 27 months—more than two years—from December 1972 to February 1975 by the Marianas Political Status Commission (an organization representing the Northern Marianas Islands) and a delegation representing the United States. The resulting document—the Covenant agreement—was signed by negotiators on Feb. 15, 1975, on Saipan and was subsequently signed by President Gerald Ford on March 24, 1976.
In celebration of today’s occasion, the American Memorial Park is holding a beach cleanup at Micro Beach from 8am to 10am this morning. COVID-19 social distancing directives will be followed during the cleanup.