NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS GOVERNOR TENORIO: "WHERE IS OUR COMPACT

admin's picture

MONEY?"

By Benhur C. Saladores

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (Nov. 10, 1999 – Saipan Tribune)---Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio yesterday made another appeal to the federal government to reimburse the CNMI for the expenditures it has incurred by providing essential public services to Freely Associated States (Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau) citizens on the islands.

The Commonwealth so far has yet to receive word about what Washington will do regarding millions of dollars spent by the commonwealth government on FAS nationals residing here.

CNMI has forwarded to federal officials about $28 million in estimated costs for hosting FSM, Palau and Marshalls citizens over the past two years, who have benefited from free housing, education and medical care provided by local departments and agencies.

"We haven't heard from them, (although) we did submit the actual costs that we have provided to Micronesian people," Tenorio told reporters.

"We keep asking (federal officials) to please consider and provide us the money as required by the Compact," added the Governor.

The Compact agreement, forged in 1986, has allowed citizens from neighboring islands to freely enter any U.S. soil.

But the accord, due to expire in 2001 for FSM and the Marshalls, has come under close scrutiny from wealthier Pacific island areas like Guam, Hawai‘i and the CNMI after the federal government reneged on its commitment to defray the costs.

Office of Insular Affairs Director Ferdinand Aranza last month told reporters that while Guam is expected to receive reimbursement from Washington, the Clinton Administration does not have immediate plan to meet it obligations to the CNMI.

The FAS migration into the Northern Marianas has been a major concern of the local government in the wake of financial woes besetting the islands for the last two years.

Meanwhile, Tenorio declined to comment on the plan by President Clinton to veto an appropriations bill for insular areas, saying only that he hopes positive action on the measure that is up for a vote in Congress.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment