PACIFIC BASIN DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL TO DISSOLVE AND BE REORGANIZED

By Craig DeSilva

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (April 25, 2000 – PIDP/CPIS)---The Pacific Basin Development Council, a Honolulu-based organization that promotes economic development in the Pacific Islands, will be dissolved September 30.

The decision was made by PBDC’s board members - Guam Gov. Carl Gutierrez, CNMI Gov. Pedro Tenorio, and American Samoa Gov. Tauese Sunia - during a meeting in Pago Pago.

The three governors will draft a charter and new by-laws for a reconstituted Pacific regional organization, according to a statement by Gutierrez.

However, it’s unclear how the new organization will be different from PBDC. It is likely that the new organization, which will remain based in Hawai‘i, will continue to carry out the same mandate in promoting Pacific Island development.

"A revitalized PBDC will bring more economic development and political leverage to the territories and commonwealth in the Pacific," Gutierrez said.

Also during the meeting, Gov. Sunia was elected president for the 2000 term. Gov. Tenorio was elected vice-president and Gov. Gutierrez elected secretary-treasurer.

PBDC is a non-profit organization established in 1980 to promote the economies of Hawai‘i, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. Some of its major accomplishments included playing a role in U.S. President Bill Clinton’s 1997 Coral Reef Initiative declaration and opening new commercial air service routes to the Islands in the early 1990s.

But PBDC has been suffering financial problems in recent years, which led to the resignation of former director Jerry Norris last October.

The organization’s current director, Carolyn Imamura, will serve as interim director through the transition.

"Given the global changes, we need to take a different approach," she said. "It’s difficult but necessary for the organization."

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