I just read about Delegate Madeleine Bordallo leading the effort for Guam to secure two U.S. Department of Defense grants totaling $129,914,022 that will be used for civilian infrastructure projects related to the realignment of Marines to Guam. Kudos to the delegate and to Guam but I’m concerned about what kind of grants DOD is going to provide the CNMI. The need for the grants are clearly justifiable for Guam and the military activities here will not be as instructive as they will be in Guam. However, there will be military activities here that will require additional civilian infrastructure like improvements at the airport(s), new and improved roads, the disposal of waste, the increase in the water supply, possible sound barriers for the firing range, hospital emergency upgrades, extending the power grid and the list can go on but I think the point is made. The CNMI will need some assistance with existing civilian infrastructure, given the military activities that will be conducted.
My question is, has our delegate or our government “planned” to acquire the same type of grants for civilian infrastructure as Guam? While I know the amount for the CNMI will be much lower, given the magnitude of Guam’s challenges compared to the CNMI’s, I also know that the CNMI should be getting something! Seeking these grants may already be part of the governor’s plan and, if it is, please let the people know because many voters are going to be asking and wondering. I just know from living here since 1989 that Guam is usually the “early bird who gets most of the worms” for the Marianas.
But I haven’t seen any other CNMI governor work so closely and get so much support from the President. Our governor appears to be doing a really fantastic job in getting the ear and support of the President and his chief of staff, so getting the grants may not be a problem if we have done the work. But the question is, have we done the work and are we even ready with any kind of estimate to even make the request for the DOD grants? I’m glad for the people of Guam but I would be a lot happier knowing the CNMI is also in line to get some DOD grants for civilian infrastructure.
Ambrose M. Bennett