‘Tinian people should be given priority in creating workforce’


Equipment Operator Constructionman Charles Ciosek, deployed as the Seabee expeditionary construction and engineering capability of Task Force 75, stockpiles excavation spoils in support of the Marpo Heights Road G construction on Tinian. The Marpo Heights road improvement project is a U.S. Department of Defense project. (U.S. NAVY/MCS2 COLE C. PIELOP)

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has underscored the importance of giving the people of Tinian the opportunity to provide the workforce for the many projects associated with the U.S. Air Force’s divert airfield project on the island.

Speaking at a radio news briefing last Friday, Torres said the CNMI wants to grow and that primarily means giving the Tinian community the opportunities arising from the buildup over the island from the divert airfield and other military projects.

“That’s our priority…to make sure that our community, our people are getting that opportunity,” he said when asked to provide a heads-up on the divert airfield and other military projects on Tinian.

In line with this, a lot of conferences and seminars will be taking place on Tinian, Torres disclosed.

He said they did a conference with the U.S Department of Defense last week in which the administration emphasized giving the people of Tinian first priority in creating a workforce that will tackle the many projects associated with the military projects. “This is opportunity from farming, fishing skills and other opportunities,” Torres said.

He said the development on Tinian is important not just for the people of Tinian but for the whole Commonwealth and for CNMI residents to be given that opportunity to grow with DoD’s needs.

In May 2019, DoD, the Commonwealth Ports Authority, and the CNMI government signed off on a historic 40-year lease agreement worth $21.9 million for certain airport and seaport properties on Tinian for the divert airfield.

The deal will allow the Air Force to use Tinian as an alternative landing site for its planes—a divert airfield—in case Anderson Air Force Base in Guam is inaccessible due to war or calamities.

The lease agreement is expected to spur economic activities on the island through infrastructure improvement of the Tinian International Airport, public roads, and community facilities around the island.

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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