18 Feb 2010

Business group in CNMI sees no real benefits in military build-up in Guam

11:23 am on 18 February 2010

In the Northern Marianas, the Saipan Chamber of Commerce says it hasn't identified any real benefits to the community of the military build-up in Guam.

The Governor of Guam, Felix Camacho, has renewed a call for the territory and the CNMI to unify, and the suggestion, first made an at economic development conference last year, comes after Japan raised the prospect of the entire Okinawa military base of Futenma being moved to Guam.

The Northern Marianas is already part of the military buildup plan with land in Tinian ear marked for training and CNMI Governor, Benigno Fitial, has offered to take extra military staff.

The Saipan Tribune reports that the chamber believes among other things, the CNMI will lose U.S. workers to Guam and will lose tourists because of the regional association with the U.S. military.

It also says it will lose access to recreational and culturally significant areas, and stands to bear increased costs associated with the massive, multi-year military buildup.

The Chamber, which has some 150 members, submitted yesterday its 11-page official comment on the military buildup's draft environmental impact statement to the Joint Guam Program Office.

The deadline for submitting comments on the draft is February 18.