02 Feb 2018
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres and his Guam counterpart Eddie B. Calvo formally opened the inaugural meeting of the Marianas Working Group on Thursday to discuss issues that affect both jurisdictions.
Torres and Calvo also welcomed the more than 100 participants from various Guam and CNMI government agencies and private sector entities.
The two-day meeting, which is being held at Saipan World Resort, will conclude today, Friday.
Calvo and Torres formed the working group last December in an effort to deal with common issues such as the workforce, illegal drugs, the military buildup,the rhino beetle and endangered species among other things.
In his remarks, Torres said a closer relationship between the CNMI and Guam will benefit both, especially when they are presenting their concerns in Washington, D.C.
“Going to D.C. to tell them about our challenges and to tell them where we are and what we have is not fun. This relationship that we have with Guam and Governor Calvo makes it critical that we stick together…and bring our concerns to D.C. with one voice.”
Governor Calvo said Guam and the CNMI have so much potential, but island officials have to travel thousands of miles away to the nation’s capital to try to fix local problems.
“It is good to have this opportunity to be working with the people of the CNMI headed by Governor Torres — working together and coming together as one to fight for issues that are affecting both of us. I expect much good to come out of this group and look forward to the fruits of our collaborative efforts in the months ahead.”
Rep. Angel Demapan, who delivered the opening remarks, said the vision of the two governors is to bring about a new era of cooperation and collaboration between the two governments of the Marianas Archipelago.
“In the next two days, we will engage in meaningful dialogue to identify common ground on issues such as workforce and education, commerce and ports, homeland security and public safety, health and food security, finance and taxation, land environment and veterans affairs, infrastructure utility and telecommunications,” Demapan said.
In an interview, Torres said the CNMI and Guam addressing issues together will show the federal government “that we are one body, one heart and one Marianas.”
Calvo said Guam and the CNMI face many similar issues that involve the decision-makers in Washington, D.C.
“I look forward to more discussions and cooperation among our people in the months ahead,” he added.
Press Secretary Kevin Bautista said both governors acknowledge “that collective problems require collective solutions and so this meeting will ensure that we all come together and try to reach that goal.”
The next meeting will be held on Guam in March.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101972-guam-nmi-convene-working-group