‘CPA board seen to adopt draft accord on divert airfield’


The Commonwealth Ports Authority board expects to adopt in today’s special meeting a draft purchase agreement relating to the U.S. Department of Defense’s proposal to put an alternative landing site—or divert airfield—for the U.S. Air Force on Tinian.

That’s according to airport operations committee chair Barrie C. Toves, who said yesterday that they anticipate the draft purchase agreement will lead to the consummation of the military’s lease of the northern part of the Tinian International Airport.

“Once we adopt that, then there will be signing of it. Representatives [of] the U.S. Department of Defense and CPA chairman will sign the purchase agreement. And that will kick the ball rolling toward the finalization of the lease agreement,” he said.

The CPA board of directors will hold the special meeting today, Friday, at 10:30am in the Office of the Mayor of Tinian and Aguiguan. The only item on the agenda is the divert airfield lease.

The CPA board was supposed to hold a joint committee meeting to discuss the purchase agreement last Oct. 29, then hold a board meeting the following day, Oct. 30, during which directors were planning to disclose their decision on the divert airfield’s plan. The two scheduled meetings were canceled due to Super Typhoon Yutu.

Toves said yesterday that what they are going to discuss today, Friday, is how they are going to proceed because the purchase agreement must be signed first before they act on the lease agreement.

Toves said the Department of Defense must commit to the figures that they agreed upon.

“And there’s some clause on the purchase agreement whereby how to transmit the funding, just to secure the commitment for the purchase of the leased property,” he said.

Toves said they have already reviewed the draft purchase agreement.

“There is no schedule yet for the signing of the lease because the purchase agreement must follow first,” he said. “We want to secure first the agreement for the DOD to commit the funds and then DOD will have to pay certain requirements.”

Toves disclosed that they are offering DOD a 40-year lease.

“We can’t go beyond the 40 years because of the statute that limits the lease to only 40 years,” he said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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