United States Pacific Command Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield will be joining the 902 talks-led panels that will be visiting Pagan today. Gov. Ralph DLG Torres will be leading the CNMI panel, while Office of Insular Affairs Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Esther Kia’ana will spearhead the U.S. government side.
Senate vice president Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan), Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), Department of Public Lands Secretary Marianne Teregeyo, Northern Islands Mayor Jerome Aldan, Governor’s Office legal counsel Wes Bogdan, and Matt Adams will join Torres.
Crutchfield, who is also the single point of contact for U.S. Department of Defense projects in the CNMI, said that aside from the military providing transportation they would also take the opportunity to show the 902 panels what they are planning to do on Pagan. “I’m one of the two people that will be representing the Pacific Command.”
“We thought it would be a good idea to help the 902 consultations. Gov. Torres asked us to provide transportation and so that’s what the Department of Defense is doing. I will tag along as an extra as part of the 902.
The U.S. Air Force will be lending their V-22 Osprey, a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that was used in providing relief and transporting equipment after Typhoon Soudelor.
Crutchfield was here to attend a meeting with Torres along with other members of the DoD, U.S. military, and the CNMI government yesterday at the CNMI Seaport conference room in Puerto Rico.
Joint Region Marianas Commander Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific representatives Tim Roben and Joe Tablada, U.S. Pacific Air Forces Mark Petersen, Sens. Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) and Francisco Q. Cruz (R-Tinian), Rep. Edwin P. Aldan (Ind-Tinian), and Commonwealth Ports Authority representatives also took part in the meeting.
“It is part of the requirements for training and divert. So it is a 902-led visit. I’ve never been there and so I would like to see it. We do plan to show the 902 delegation what we are thinking when it comes to talking about what we need in Pagan,” added Crutchfield.
He said that although negotiations with the CNMI government are still ongoing they would grab the chance because of the difficulty going to one of the Northern Islands in the Commonwealth. “We still have a long way to go for consultations.”
“But while we are over there, since it is a difficult place to get to, we’re going to show them the type of requirements on what we would be asking for sometime in the future.”
The CNMI will be hosting the 902 talks starting tomorrow. “This trip is a 902 issue, we thank the military for providing transportation to bring us to Pagan with 902 folks from OIA and DoD,” said Torres.
The trip to Pagan along with the CNMI’s immigration and labor issues will be discussed in the closed-door 902 talks.
“We are hoping to wrap up in a month and have our product presented to President Obama. The important thing for us is for the DPL Secretary [Teregeyo] to show where the proposed homestead program is.”
“Gen. Crutchfield would also update us on what’s going on as we continue with the dialogue. And they are going to show us what are the proposed projects they have. But again, at the end of the day we would like our concerns to be addressed.”