NMI biz alliance to tap lobby group


Local business leaders formed the non-profit corporation Northern Marianas Business Alliance to tap the services of D.C. Consultants, which in return would help the CNMI push the provisions that they want Congress to change.

Saipan Chamber of Commerce secretary Alex Sablan said the NMBA is an organization that was set up to explain to the businesses and companies that employ workers under the CW-1 program that they need D.C. Consultants’ help.

“It is going to cost us a bit of money and we’re soliciting for support. We need D.C. Consultants so that the provisional changes that [the CNMI government and businesses] worked on would push forward,” said Sablan.

NMBA is different from the Chamber and the Strategic Economic Development Council. “The basic goal of [NMBA] is to take what the SEDC gives and pursue legislation in the U.S. Congress,” added Sablan.

Bob Jones is the NMBA chair with Gloria Cavanagh as secretary-treasurer, and Chamber president Velma Palacios and Society for Human Resources Management-NMI Chapter head Josephine Mesta as representatives. Richard Pierce is the executive director.

Having the CNMI part of the CW-1 process, increasing the cap to 18,000, and an extension of the transition program from 2019 to 2029 are some of the provisions that the CNMI government and businesses are pushing for Congress to amend.

Sablan said the main focus is transitioning the local workforce to other U.S. worker visa types. He said the CNMI is just recovering from a 12-year recession and had been working with limited resources since 2014.

D.C. Consultants would help the CNMI convince Congress to have some of the provisions in place. “We just want to reinstate what was taken from us since we weren’t prepared before. That’s why the U.S. Congress made the decision for us.”

“We will be needing financial support to get this done. In order to maintain our position and keep pressuring Congress on the changes that we need. We will be needing a significant amount of money,” added Sablan.

He said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres had laid out the same provisions during their 902 talks with the federally-appointed group led by Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Esther Kia’ana.

“One thing is very clear, many of the provisions that we suggested, probably about 12, all have an impact on the 11 to 12 million illegals in the U.S. So action in those provisions would give us some relief.”

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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