25 Jun 2013

Alienation of CNMI land considered

3:07 pm on 25 June 2013

A House legislative initiative to relax restrictions on the alienation of land is being considered in the Northern Marianas.

The controversial change needs a majority vote of both houses of the legislature and voter ratification, but does not require approval from the Governor.

Our correspondent in Saipan says efforts have been ongoing to try and amend the constitutional laws around native land.

Mark Rabago says businesses and investors have been lobbying for change to boost investment and the economy, but many native landowners and lawmakers remain resistant to change.

"When the CNMI constitution was approved there was a provision there for land alienation that basically keeps the land in the ownership of indigenous people. They wanted that, so that the CNMI won't end up like another Hawaii where the native people don't even own their land."

Our correspondent in Saipan, Mark Rabago