Visiting Korean lawmakers say Saipan airport needs translators

VISITING South Korean lawmakers, who got stranded for over two hours at the Saipan airport’s immigration counter due to a language barrier, recommended the hiring of translators.

Twelve members of the Gyeonggi-do provincial assembly were on island for a business-pleasure trip.

The group, headed by floor leader Seunwon Park and Youngwhan Kim, chair of the policy committee, met with CNMI lawmakers on Thursday and Friday.

Senate President Arnold Palacios said they will look into the Korean officials’ recommendation. U.S. Customs and Border Protection earlier said hiring additional CBP officers for Saipan will take time.

For his part, Rep. Joseph Leepan Guerrero, chairman of the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism, agreed that translators must be assigned to the airport to assist CBP officers in “processing” visitors.

“I’m glad to hear it from them and I will address this concern with [the Marianas Visitors Authority],” he said. “We should have interpreters at the airport because of the communication gap — majority of our visitors do not speak English. As chair of the tourism committee, it is my responsibility to get on top of this issue. If we don’t look into it, our only industry, tourism, will be affected,” Guerrero added.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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