GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres and the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers, or GCEA, presented their annual report to the Saipan Chamber of Commerce last week.
The Governor stressed the importance of transforming the Commonwealth into a world-class destination, praising government, private sector and community partners for coming together through public-private partnership during the pandemic.
“The idea was to appeal to our private partners to facilitate things, to facilitate their investments, to protect their investments and to accelerate these investments. So over the past two years…. I want to thank all of you for participating in one way or another. I know there are private partners who have certainly contributed to this, and you will see later the success that we have had,” he said.
He added: “At the end of the day, the goal was to keep CNMI going and make CNMI a world-class destination, knowing that it’s not going to last a year, not two years, but we ‘ I have to start somewhere, but start somewhere with a solid foundation. So, as we’ve seen over the last couple of years, we’ve had private partners who have really contributed, their resources, stepped up volunteers in all tourist destinations, medians, car parks, and put their efforts into making the CNMI a better place for all of us and for our tourism…. Let’s continue [to make] the CNMI a world-class destination.
Furthermore, he said, “We really appreciate your partnership. Government wouldn’t function the way it does without your partnership, and honestly, it’s a partnership that needs to continue to grow stronger and fix what needs to be fixed so that we can all move forward. Your success is certainly our success, and the government’s success is your success.
GCEA Co-Chair Jerry Tan spoke about the progress the council has made since its inception, including this particular partnership within the CNMI.
“We are very proud to have so much participation. It’s not a one year thing. In fact, the PPP program is even busier this year in the first three months. We even signed new partners. We used to go and contact them to see if they would be interested. Now they call [us] to say they would like to participate, so it’s very, very exciting,” he said.
“For the initial phase of the destination transformation, we are actually working with one partner in particular: [the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance], so with that, I think you can say that we care about the environment as we talk about economic development. MINA is in fact chosen as one of our great partners right now to move forward with the transformation of the destination.
Triple J Enterprises Inc. Vice Chairman Mike Sablan, who also serves as Chairman of the GCEA Domestic Policy and Recovery Committee, acknowledged the strong support and action of Co-Chairs Governor Torres and Tan in the improving the quality of life in the Marianas for all residents. .
The Sablan committee chairs were involved in the transformation of the Commonwealth Development Authority into the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority, to focus primarily on economic development across CNMI, as opposed to the many hats that the entity has worn since its inception decades ago.
Sablan said CEDA has now hired a new director of economic development with a background in economics, selected from a pool of 10 candidates from local and national levels.
“It’s a big step forward,” he said.
He also discussed various measures that the GCEA is supporting to help revive the local economy.
He commended the administration for its efforts to centralize authorizations at the CNMI.
Sablan also spoke about the importance of considering the environment as part of economic development.
“The environment is very important to all of us and we integrate it into all our plans. The Universal Garbage Collection Task Force is a big step towards solving our garbage problem here, and it fits very well with the work of the Environment Council. Waste is only one element among others; we need to be aware of the environment in general. I know a new housing program…was delayed a bit because it required green energy features in all home designs, so that’s another big step forward in terms of the environment and to be more aware of this sustainable development, not just development for commercial gain,” he said.
To watch the video summary of the GCEA 2021 annual report, go to https://youtu.be/YIpTCRvrZUE
For the video summary of the 2021 GCEA PPP Program Annual Report, visit https://youtu.be/Hfw5gaE0luI
A digital copy of the GCEA Annual Report is available on the GCEA website at https://www.cnmieconomy.com/reports
As an advisory board to the administration, GCEA’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the Marianas for all residents.