|Governor Inos and Lt. Governor Hofschneider at|
the inauguration ceremony. Photo from Facebook
The new CNMI Governor, Eloy Inos and the new Lieutenant Governor, Jude Hofschneider, were sworn into office just hours after former Governor Benigno Fitial resigned at 10:00am yesterday. The ceremony took place at 2:00pm at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center.
Governor Inos is the CNMI's first governor to hail from Rota, while Lt. Governor Hofschneider will serve as the CNMI's first lt. governor from Tinian.
Governor Benigno Fitial has been caught in a web of scandals since taking office. Every one of the 18 articles of impeachment were adopted last week and he faced a trial in the Senate on March 7, 2013. He submitted his resignation letter a day after he was served the summons for the Senate trial.
The Saipan Tribune quoted Governor Inos:
“He came to my office. In a very humble manner, he presented me a letter. And I asked him, what was that for? What's the letter about. I looked at it and the first time I saw it, I almost fell off my chair,” said Inos.
Inos and Fitial have decades of friendship. That relationship had been strained in recent years over personal and political issues. Inos is currently the titular head of the Covenant Party, which Fitial formed for his first gubernatorial bid. Fitial rejoined the Republican Party and is again its president.Governor Inos, like former Governor Fitial, was employed by Willy Tan. Inos also served as a former CNMI Secretary of Finance.
There has been no word if Fitial resigned as the head of the Republican Party, but I assume he will because it was reported that he will be leaving to the states.
Now that there is no need for a Senate trial the new administration and CNMI Legislature and can focus on cleaning up the mess that Fitial left behind. The nine seat Senate is now minus two senators with Hofschneider stepping up as lt. governor and Rota Senator Juan Ayuyu in prison facing federal charges.
Governor Inos spoke to the press about some plans after the short inauguration ceremony, which lasted less than 30 minutes. He said he will be considering all of the emergency declarations, will be reviewing cabinet positions and will be looking at agencies' projects and performance. He also said that he was open to the extradition of former fugitive AG Edward Buckingham, and would be looking into that.
Read more coverage of this story at The Marianas Variety, The Saipan Tribune and The Pacific Daily News. See also the Photo Gallery of the Inauguration.