26 Jun 2013

CNMI landowner favours loosening land regulation

1:53 pm on 26 June 2013

A native landowner in the Northern Marianas says families and the economy would benefit if the constitution were amended to remove mandatory restrictions on the alienation of land.

Lawmakers will have to decide on whether to support a House legislative initiative to relax restrictions on the alienation of land.

Since the decline of the garment industry, tourism has become the CNMI's main earner.

Vince Seman says he understand some concerns around native land and its connection with tradition and culture.

But for many families, he says circumstances have drastically changed.

"There really isn't that same type of outside investors coming in. So what's going on now is that we have very few indigenous people with the type of financial resources to be able to make purchases in a down economy. People losing their jobs, people get sick, kids still need to go to college and often times people would only have their one piece of land as their only asset."

Vince Seman says the Saipan Chamber of Commerce also wants the tough restrictions around native land relaxed in order to boost investments and the economy.