STRAPPED CNMI GOVERNMENT ANTES $60K FOR GAMES

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Micronesian Games in Palau next month

By Roselyn Monroyo SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, July 9, 2010) - The government has finally followed through on its promise of financial assistance to athletes and officials participating in the 7th Micronesian Games after Acting Gov. Eloy Inos signed into law two bills, appropriating US$40,000 for Team CNMI’s trip to Palau next month.

The two bills’ signing brings to US$60,000 the amount appropriated by the government for the Commonwealth’s participation in the quadrennial event.

Inos approved in part, and disapproved in part House Bill 17-88, entitled "To amend Public Law 16-21 Section 2 (c) and for other purposes" and introduced by Rep. Diego Benavente, last Wednesday, appropriating US$75,000 to various projects.

Of the US$75,000, US$20,000 will go to the Micro Games expenses, US$25,000 for the 2010 Liberation Day activities, and US$20,000 to the Obyan Power distribution project. The US$10,000 appropriated for the Saipan Fishing Derby was line-item vetoed by the acting governor.

Inos on the same day approved House Local Bill 17-22, D1, entitled "To re-appropriate US$40,000 from Saipan Local Law No. 15-16, Section 2 (f) and for other purposes. Rep. Ralph Yumul introduced the bill.

The US$40,000 will go to China Town basketball court renovation (US$16,000), construction of two bus shelters in Puerto Rico (US$10,000) and to pay for the entertainment of the 2010 Liberation Day Festivities (US$14,000). An additional re-appropriation of US$20,000 is given to the Micro Games. The money is from the unobligated/lapsed funds from Saipan Local Law 16-5 under BU3313F.

Late last month, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial approved Section 3, A (2) of House Local Bill 17-14 D2, which says US$20,000 is appropriated to fund the upcoming Micronesian Games. The amount is part of the unobligated/lapsed funds from Saipan Local Law 15-33 under BY 3391B.

The US$60,000 will be released to Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association, which is the lead group that requested assistance from the government to help Team CNMI’s campaign in the Micro Games.

The question now is when the funds will be released, as in less than a month more than 100 CNMI athletes/officials are heading to Palau for the quadrennial event. The Micro Games will run from Aug. 1 to 10.

NMASA president Michael White said during the association’s monthly meeting last night that he will coordinate with the Department of Finance for the release of the funds.

In the past, the government released money for projects needing urgent funding. Just like last Wednesday with the CNMI All-Stars’ campaign for the Asia Pacific Regional Tournament in Indonesia in limbo, Inos requested the appropriation of US$10,000 for the Commonwealth youth sluggers’ transportation expenses to Jakarta. The US$10,000 was originally appropriated for the 2010 Saipan International Fishing Tournament.

With the US$60,000 assistance, NMASA required each delegate to pay only US$426 for the Palau trip. NMASA is shouldering US$250 of the more than US$1,000 estimated cost per delegate to the Games.

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