Tinian Mayor Joey P. San Nicolas is on the mark to suggest that a properly formulated Civilian-Military Advisory Council be established in the Northern Marianas Islands. Here are more reasons to add to the list prepared by Mayor San Nicolas:
1) It empowers and gives more ownership to residents from all inhabited islands within the Marianas chain. There remains a distinct need for islanders to seek more ways to give voice to all concerns that are known and to all concerns that may arise in the future.
2) It demonstrates pro-active thoughtful leadership by the mayor to formulate a council because in many instances the devil is in the details, not in broadly stated language. For example, I view the possible destruction of over 100,000 coral colonies on both Tinian and Pagan to be unreasonable. More discussion is needed on this and a host of other topics.
3) All meetings, whether or not the military makes the decision to provide representation or not, will further illustrate that islanders are engaging, thoughtful and concerned about existing, emerging and distant future challenges tied to the further possible militarization of the Marianas. The notion of “not in my back yard” applies to this situation and it can even be thought of as «not on top of my house» since the islands we are talking about are relatively quite small compared to, say, the Hawaiian Island chain or the Philippines.
4) It can’t hurt. The idea of having a Civilian-Military Advisory Council is sound both conceptually and practically. It can’t hurt the interests of islanders but it can expose the lack of courage and forthrightness that the military may not want Chamorros and residents to see.
5) There is a strand associated to the idea of creating a Civilian-Military Advisory Council that closely parallels Pope Francis› recent statements on Catholicism. These statements, paraphrased, are that, a) time must be given to seek out greater dialogue; b) unity is stronger than conflict; 3) human realities are more important that ideas [strictly speaking]; 4) the whole is greater than just one part [even if that one part happens to the American military].
6) A Civilian-Military Advisory Council is an expression of forward strategic thinking. It is also one appropriate channel to further minimize the likelihood of environmental and Chamorro cultural exploitation of the Marianas Islands. It makes sense and it is hoped that greater unity of effort amongst our people can be achieved that includes support from leaders and employees from all three branches of government at the insular level.
This kind of organization may also prompt new laws to be crafted, introduced and passed by the CNMI government for the short and long term benefit of the people of the Marianas.