Palacios seeks DOI’s Cantor’s aid


Stating that they have discovered that the CNMI government’s finances are in considerable disarray, Gov. Arnold I. Palacios has sought the help of Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor to identify any measures of support and technical assistance her office and the U.S. Department of the Interior may be able to provide the CNMI.

In a letter Friday to Cantor, Palacios said they are assessing the government’s financial situation with a commitment and dedication to restore best practices in the budget execution and financial management system.

“It appears, however, that we may lack the immediate audit and accountability capacities to put our fiscal house in order in as timely a manner as would serve and protect the best interests of our people,” he said.

As this developed, Harry C. Blanco, Office of Insular Affairs field representative in the CNMI, hand-carried yesterday afternoon Cantor’s response letter to Palacios, who at the time was holding a press conference with Lt. Gov. David M. Apatang in the Office of the Governor conference room.

Blanco said that Cantor will be coming to Saipan on Jan. 23 to, among other things, congratulate Palacios and Apatang.

Arnold I. Palacios and Carmen G. Cantor

Palacios told Cantor in his letter that consistent with the historic relationship between the government and people of the CNMI and DOI, he urgently requests consultations to disclose the extent and scope of the challenges they face.

To begin efforts to mitigate any fiscal management deficiencies that might impact the economic well-being of the CNMI government and people, Palacios is requesting that plans for Cantor’s return on a second visit to the CNMI—if not prevented by other pressing demands—be finalized and confirmed.

He said this is important so they can have the earliest possible face-to-face discussion on the CNMI government’s financial conditions.

“Respectfully, we are deeply grateful that you have expressed an interest in coming back for an official visit to address federal and local matters with our government and spend time in our community,” Palacios told Cantor.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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