This letter is to clarify and give light to statements printed in your newspaper on Jan. 23, 2023. The article was based on a statement issued by Sen. Karl King-Nabors (R-Tinian) disavowing or having any knowledge of a tour that my company was to host this week. The term “FAM Tour’ is short for “familiarization tour.” This is a common service provided mainly in the tourism and hospitality industry for tour agents and tour advisors to familiarize themselves with a new destination wherein they will investigate and deliberate whether to do business in a new location.
My company, Sherman Consulting, has been involved with advising and consulting numerous regional and international firms as well as local and federal government entities specifically to introduce them to the island of Tinian and its potential. The familiarization tour that we have been planning was intended to introduce companies to local and federal leaders, civic organizations, and businesses in the construction/logistics/supply industries in the hopes that they will open branches in the CNMI, in the hopes that they will partner with local companies, and in the hopes that more jobs and opportunities will be granted to our people.
Further, the purpose of these tours is to encourage more Guam firms to investigate investment and partnership opportunities in the CNMI and specifically on Tinian where $1.5 billion worth of development will take place in the next few years. This will help our failing economy and encourage partnerships so that Guam and CNMI companies can benefit from the economic impact the military buildup will bring to Tinian.
The first tour of 2023, which was scheduled for this week, was cancelled due to guests contracting COVID. Although Sen. Nabors disavows any knowledge of such a tour being set up to meet the Tinian delegation, our office had spoken to the mayor’s chief of staff and former Tinian Delegation chair/Senate president Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider of the upcoming visits, and both confirmed their participation. Sherman Pacific apologizes for not speaking directly to Sen. Nabors, but we had assumed that the former delegation chair would’ve passed on this message to his members.
On the issue of “pay to play,” the fee that we have set for guests covers our company costs of 15-hour days with three consultants for five days straight as well as ground transportation costs and other costs. This is not pay to play. In fact, U.S. mainland or Guam businesspeople usually don’t need or request to meet with elected officials. We offered this as part of the agenda as a courtesy call so that leadership understands what we are trying to do as a team. This is introducing serious-minded professionals and their teams to like-minded government and private sector organizations, and as stated previously, in the hopes that new opportunities for all parties can be realized by shaking hands and discussing needs.
I am unfamiliar with how the senator interprets this as an attempt to pay to play, when the focus of the group coming to Tinian is obviously only federal related.
We hope in the future, being a small island, that if Sen. Nabors had questions, he will kindly send an e-mail, call, or meet in person. However, to set up this article to be published the day that guests were to land on Saipan seemed personal to us and an obvious form of political retaliation for not supporting his candidate for governor.
Tinian is small. Our people are families and friends. This type of ugly politics only harms our attempts to work together to better the future for all Tinian residents, not just the connected.
Our Sherman Consulting “Familiarization Tours” will still resume in several months and guests that have already pre-booked, local private sector companies seeking investment and partnerships, and dignitaries in the CNMI that await them all look forward to the beginning of new friendships and cooperative efforts to take care of hard-working people looking for honest work.
Phillip T. Mendiola Long
President, Sherman Consulting