Members of the Marianas Working Group recently met in Guam and talked of matters that affect the region.
House Federal and Foreign Affairs Committee chair Rep. Luis Joh DLG Castro (R-Saipan) said the meeting covered different issues in education, public safety, health care, and food security
“There’s a whole lot of topics and it encompasses a lot of issues from both jurisdictions that would affect us a whole,” said Castro, who added that their discussions with their Guam counterparts would continue.
Castro said food security is a huge issue for both U.S. territories. “One of the things that we’ve been talking about seems to be a topic that our counterparts down in Guam seem to bring up a lot is food security and having a way of providing sustainable resources for our communities…in times of disasters when there’s shortage of sustenance.”
Super Typhoon Yutu caused significant damage to crops including fruit trees being uprooted. Supplies of some locally-grown vegetables became scarce for a few weeks, but normalized as the islands began to recover from the devastation.
Saipan Tribune tried to get information and other statistics on the damage and other losses in local crops but representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Guam has yet to respond as of press time.
Castro added that there was also a call for more open dialogue within both legislatures of the CNMI and Guam.
“Sen. Will Castro and us at the Legislature have been working hard in addressing these issues through collaboration and continued dialogue. It is our hope [to] see some fruitful results that would benefit the CNMI and Guam.”
Castro said that Castro, the minority leader in the 35th Guam Legislature, wants continued talks. “We’re going to hold continued dialogues on matters pertaining to [MWG] as well as other business that we can put together with our Guam counterparts.”
The group initially met on Saipan after the memorandum of agreement signing in December 2017 at the Saipan World Resort to create the group.