10 Mar 2008

CNMI moves to new approach over federal wage issue

2:00 pm on 10 March 2008

Business leaders in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas have said merely reacting to pressures from Washington over the federalisation and minimum wage issues is not the most effective way to handle matters.

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce and the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands say the CNMI must come up with a plan that will address these issues consistently.

The two groups say there must be continuous pressure to ensure that policy-makers and lawmakers in Washington are aware of local conditions.

The Hotel Association's chairwoman, Lynn Knight, said a lot of the people she and Chamber president Jim Arenovski met in Washington have not met representatives of the CNMI before nor were they aware of what's happening there.

She emphasised that there are more people in Washington who could have an impact on CNMI issues, such as the money that the islands receive, economic support and regional issues.

Mr Arenovski also stressed that the CNMI needs business representation in Washington.