Flashback – July 2000-July 2002


July 18, 2000

PDO lobbies for more federal funding

In a move to improve the quality of criminal defense for the poor, Chief Public Defender Masood Karimipour has asked U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno for more federal grants for the CNMI to help indigent clients. Mr. Karimipour met with Ms. Reno during a recent trip to Washington D.C. where he attended a National Symposium on Indigent Defense sponsored by the federal government. The meeting, attended by public defenders, judges and policy makers from all 50 states, was designed to attract leaders in the indigent defense area and other decision makers in the criminal justice systems who are committed to improving the system for the poor.

DPS scrambling for funds to meet court order

Faced with dwindling funds for its operation, the Department of Public Safety has started identifying areas where it can further carry out cuts to meet the Superior Court’s deadline for the renovation of the Division of Corrections for mentally-ill inmates and detainees. DPS Commissioner Charles W. Ingram, however, said he could not further reduce the budget for operations just to accommodate the expenses for the improvement of the prison. “We cannot touch the money for operations because we have to make sure that the patrol cars are running 24 hours a day,” he said.

July 18, 2001

CNMI gets $500K in new investments

Two new foreign investors infused $500,000 into the local economy during the first quarter of the year, according to the Department of Commerce. Chinese wholesale firm, Luen Fung Enterprises, and Egyptian construction company, Pyramid Construction, each plunked down at least $250,000 during the first three months of the year. Last year, the CNMI approved only three foreign investment applications, involving $750,000 in capital. The Department assesses a $100,000 security deposit and requires new companies an investment threshold of at least $150,000, which makes any new investor automatically cough up at least $250,000 to do business in the Commonwealth.

Principals told: Keep students’ grades private

It came as a surprise to some public school principals that few of the practices they have employed in handling students’ grades or records are actually against federal laws governing students’ privacy rights. After being briefed on the confidentiality of students’ school records during an Administrator’s Summer Institute session this week, principals admitted they would have to revisit the policies and update their staff on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. For his part, Dandan Elementary School Principal Jonas Barcinas is now torn between giving publicized recognition to his most outstanding students and respecting their right to privacy.

July 18, 2002

Airport to lose 20 percent revenue

Revenue of the airport division is projected to decrease by 20 percent by the end of Fiscal Year 2002, a trend that started in the first six months of the current financial year. Based on the assumptions and footnotes submitted by the Commonwealth Ports Authority on the airport division, passenger traffic and activities are assumed to slide by 20 percent in the last six months ending September 30, 2002. To meet the Debt Service Coverage Ratio, the report said CPA consultant Rex I. Palacios presented a financial projection on budget proposals that would illustrate different results. However, Palacios warned that, despite any budget revisions, the overall conclusion is that six months is too short a time to increase revenues to the level required to achieve the DSCR.

Kiyu open to Citadel if.

Sen. Thomas P. Villagomez yesterday said he remains open to the purchase of Verizon Pacifica by the Citadel Holdings consortium, as long as certain conditions are met and are guaranteed. This includes keeping the rate integration system, which allows the CNMI to make cheap long distance calls to the U.S. mainland, the North American numbering plan that allows it to access 1-800 numbers and, possibly setting up at least one call station in the CNMI. Villagomez, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation and Communication, said he has already communicated this sentiment to committee chairman Sen. Diego M. Songao, who is in Manila right now to meet with Citadel officials.

Jun Dayao Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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