By Liberty Dones

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Dec. 23) - The Babauta administration said it has spent some $150,000 for the design and construction of the CNMI entry float called Harmony in the Pacific for the 2004 Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California.

Galvin Guerrero, the governor's special assistant in-charge of the float preparation, said the amount is actually way below the original contract price of $250,000.

"We've actually received a very big discount from this contractor. They agreed to accommodate us at such a price," said Guerrero in a recent interview.

Guerrero, who flew to Pasadena over the weekend, identified the name of the U.S.-based contractor but asked that it be kept confidential for now to avoid potential conflict with its other clients. The contractor is considered an authority in float design and construction for the annual Pasadena parade.

Guerrero said the $150,000 came primarily from "several offices" within the Governor's Office. Other contributions came from the Lt. Governor's Office, the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, and the Arts Council. No funding was received from the private sector.

Guerrero said this was understandable because private businesses may have considered that there is not much incentive for them to join the project.

The CNMI float highlights the Northern Marianas' culture, people, and history. Logos of private businesses could not be placed anywhere on the float.

The CNMI is joining the annual Rose Parade, believed to be the most watched event on New Year's Day, to promote the Northern Marianas as a tourist destination. It also aims to promote awareness of the Commonwealth as part of the U.S. political family.

Around 60 floats are reportedly allowed in the parade each year.

The Rose Parade is the single national event that is aired by all major U.S. networks with an audience of about 50 million viewers in the U.S. It is also aired in 18 countries around the world, including Japan, Taiwan, China, and Korea.

December 23, 2003

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