Torres resurrects bill to revisit NMI’s Covenant
Thursday, 10 September 2009 00:00 By Gemma Q. Casas - Variety News Staff
REPRESENTATIVE Stanley T. Torres is urging his colleagues to support his bill that will create a Second Marianas Political Status Commission, saying there is a need to revisit the islands’ Covenant with the U.S. in the wake of increased military presence in the Marianas.
The Second Marianas Political and Economic Status Commission Act of 2009, or House Bill 16-271, was calendared during the House session on Tuesday.
In his speech before he introduced his bill, Torres said it’s been 34 years since the CNMI’s political union with the United States was established.
He said it’s time to revisit this union in the wake of the impending federalization of the islands’ immigration system.
The federal government’s renewed military interest in the CNMI also calls for another look at the Covenant.
“We, as a people, must decide whether the risks taken and the rewards received are commensurate with the price we will pay and if it is a worthy trade,” Torres said.
The Second Marianas Political and Economic Status Commission will have 11 voting members and two non-voting ex-officio members — the Senate president and the speaker of the House.
The commission will make studies about the present and future political and economic status of the CNMI, including the possibility of seeking independence.
The commission’s recommendations will then be put forward to the public for ratification in the next general elections.