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By Gemma Q. Casas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 28) - Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Governor Benigno R. Fitial and Tinian officials are hoping that the U.S. military will include Tinian in its expansion plans.

[PIR editor’s note: Tinian is the small island south of Saipan, the capital hub of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.]

Fitial, who met with the commander of the U.S. Naval Forces in the Marianas, Rear Admiral Charles Leidig Jr., on Guam Saturday said more talks will be held between the Northern Marianas and the military regarding the planned increased military presence in the islands.

Fitial expressed hope that Tinian would soon have a military economy in the not so distant future.

He added that he was just "joking" when he said the adult industry should be relocated to Tinian because the "poor troops need some form of entertainment."

[PIR editor’s note: Tinian Senator Henry San Nicolas said that Tinian residents were hoping that the establishment of military facilities would help boost the island's economy. However, Tinian does not welcome the idea of transferring adult entertainment businesses from Garapan village on Saipan to Tinian (read the story).]

Senator Jude Hofschneider, R-Tinian, and Senator Henry San Nicolas, Covenant-Tinian, said they welcome an increased military presence on their island.

Hofschneider said their island needs it very much to generate economic activity.

He said the more troops brought to Tinian, the more businesses would generate employment opportunities for residents.

"My expectations are that there would be employment opportunities. There’s always going to be services needed by the military – it would create employment opportunities," he said.

But like San Nicolas, Hofschneider said he doesn’t like the idea of bringing Saipan’s adult entertainment industry to their island as was suggested by the governor during his press conference on Friday.

The governor’s press secretary, Charles Reyes Jr., said the governor might have just been joking when he made that statement.

March 1, 2006

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