Despite the fact that Saipan is getting a bit congested, Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog believes there are issues and some CNMI policies that have prevented potential investors from doing business on Tinian and Rota.
“We are aspiring to invite potential investors to diversify our business climate, but there are policies that prevent them from doing so. Saipan is getting congested so we need to move [out]. We also like to see Rota and Tinian prosper and contribute to the CNMI,” Hocog said.
“[We need to] send a message that there are two other islands that are also conducive for business, in order for us to include the entire Marianas chain of islands and to also engage in helping the economy,” he added.
Economic activity on Tinian is expected to pick up in the coming months with separate projects being developed by Alter City Group and Bridge Investment Group, and the divert airfield project of the U.S. Air Force.
There are also two investors that are looking to develop hotel resorts on Rota, according to floor leader Glenn L. Maratita in an earlier interview.
Although both Tinian and Rota’s airports can accommodate direct international flights, transportation remains a problem.
BIG plans to revive the Tinian ferry but Hocog said this is still a long process.
“We support it [Tinian ferry] but there’s too many agencies that are involved. First, [the Commonwealth Ports Authority] must return the land to [Department of Public Lands]. DPL will then have to lease it to BIG,” said Hocog.
“It is still a long process to go. It may take some time to work out. Even with the condition of the lease, we asked them but they have not received anything yet. We’re going to work on that. They should reach a solution soon for the economic revival of Tinian and Rota.”
He said the administration and Legislature could work together in order to address the problems that block economic development on the two other islands. “We are very hopeful that the Legislature would seriously address these issues and at least relax some of the policies.”
CPA board director Kimberly K. King-Hinds, in last week’s signing of Public Law 19-76 that empowered the CPA to grant concessions, said she is glad that Senate President Arnold I. Palacios and Rep. Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero were present during the event. Guerrero, who chairs the House committees on Commerce and Tourism, was the author of House Bill 19-189 SS1 that became PL 19-76.
“CPA is almost done drafting a piece of legislation that hopes to address the issue regarding DPL’s concerns on port-related activities. We would like to ask, if you see the bill coming your way [Legislature], for your support. The bill is not only for Tinian but for port-related activities in CNMI,” she said.