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By Gemma Q. Casas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, June 17) – United States Attorney General John Ashcroft says the federal government gave nearly $8 million to the CNMI to assist its counter-terrorism and other security activities last year and assures that more funding will be given to the islands in the future.

Ascroft told Gov. Juan N. Babauta the U.S. Department of Justice has already finalized its list of all Office of Justice Programs and Community Oriented Policing Services grants to different states and areas for fiscal year 2003.

Ashcroft said CNMI’s grants were split into six functional areas— community-based, counter-terrorism, juvenile justice, law enforcement, substance abuse and crime victims.

"For FY 2003, the Department of Justice has awarded $7.89 million to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The report includes a listing of specific grantees in your state within each functional area, summary information for each city and a separate listing of all grants to the state," said the attorney general in a letter dated April 22.

"It is my hope that this information will be helpful to you in your efforts to enhance public safety at the local, state, tribal and federal levels. I look forward to building upon the Department of Justice’s partnership with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands," he added.

Based on the report, the grants to CNMI were part of the more than $6.9 billion the department awarded nationwide after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

June 18, 2004

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