10 Sep 2002

Power struggle between CNMI's Governor and House of Representative Speaker

5:07 pm on 10 September 2002

Aggressive policies to cut back on public spending by the governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are causing a rift with the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Pam Brown, the legal counsel for Governor Juan Babauta, says after nine months in office, the governor and Representative Heinz Hofschneider are struggling to work together.

Observers says the governor's policies to revive the territory's economy and to solve a possible takeover of its immigation laws by the US are the reasons for the rift.

Ms Brown says the two men are yet to define their working boundaries and the level of involvment of the Executive and Legislature in each other's affairs.

She says there is the perception by some that Governor Babauta is working unilaterally.

"It's more like a political power struggle between the speaker of the house and the governor. They are both new in their jobs. Governor Babauta has made it clear that he is going to be aggressive in following the law and making sure that others follow the law. And he has initiated some reforms in how things are done but it has not always sat well with everyone else.."

Pam Brown in CNMI