CNMI News Briefs

November 8, 2010

The Saipan Tribune reports that Governor Fitial met DOI Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs Tony Babauta at the airport. Assistant Secretary Babauta is on Saipan for an invitation-only forum on labor and economic development to be held today on Saipan. I am not sure why it is “invitation-only” and who was responsible for the guest list. I do know that there are some foreign business owners who were seeking to go, but apparently are not “invited.”

The Saipan Tribune reported:
The forum, among other things, will tackle the challenges for the CNMI and federal agencies working with the local government in identifying and implementing policies or programs that would enable the CNMI to make the federal transition as smooth as possible.
That will be a challenge since the DHS has not yet released the CNMI-only guest worker program regulations.

Governor Fitial has not met with Mr. Babauta since the DOI released the Congressional DOI report on the status of foreign workers, which the governor criticized. In fact, Fitial untruthfully claimed that he had not been consulted on the report prior to its disclosure, when, in fact, there is evidence to the contrary. (See The Lie for a list of dates that Assistant Secretary Babauta met with the governor and/or other CNMI officials prior to the report’s release.)

Money Woes
The Tribune reports that the governor wants to ask DOI for more funding for technical assistance grants.  Before more funding is given the federal government may want to set some strict guidelines and measures for accountability. It has been reported that federal funds have been abused or misspent.

Recently, the CNMI Legislature has come up with a couple of controversial income-making schemes including legalization of marijuana and internet gambling. Maybe next week lawmakers will suggest legalizing prostitution? They may want to explore some alternative revenue if they want the tourism industry to grow. Unless they are trying to attract criminal types rather than families.

It was reported that the tax rebate account is $2 million short. How does that happen? Guest workers have been emailing and calling me since July asking how they can collect their tax rebates.


It's not your money! said...

Tony Babauta should have his head examined if he agrees to give one red cent to the racist crooks who run this place. Hey, Tony! Just say "No!"

Anonymous said...

I attended and the day was broken up in two areas. The first part asked ways that DOI could provide technical assistance to get the islands economy working. The second part was how to attact and keep US eligible workers.
At the beginning of the labor section, the question was asked before the brainstorming was started should the contract workers be taken into account. Mr. Babuata said only to consider US elgible workers.
Now, this is not a bad thing for this exercise because it does not exlude that some (or all) of the contract workers will become US eligible. When they do the ideas would involve them. In fairness, this was not an immigration meeting, but a DOI meeting on how they provide assistance.
Some of the ideas pointed out the uncertainity of the future of the CW's.
Alot of people there (and you were required to pre-register ( did), but they said that everyone that wanted to get in got in).It was not a waste of time, but it will take months and years for some of the ideas ,if any, actually do get implemented.