Organization seeks to put the Marianas first - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Organization seeks to put the Marianas first

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - With an aim of putting the Marianas first, the inaugural meeting of the Mariana Islands Legislature Association kicked off this afternoon bringing together lawmakers from both Guam and the CNMI.

Otherwise known as MILA, the organization officially commenced today bringing out leaders both from the Guam Legislature and the CNMI Legislature and House of Representatives.

Speaker Judi Won Pat says because our islands are so connected, coming together to solve mutual concern on an array of issues and advance common interest is most valuable. "I do hope that this will be the first of many assemblies that will identify new areas of cooperation beyond that exists today notably by enhancing political dialogue and undertaking initiatives aimed creating new links between our respective communities," she said.

CNMI speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero meanwhile says promoting dialogue between the two legislatures helps confront challenges affecting our islands. "There are larger issues and concerns we now share such as the proposed military buildup and the uncertainty of national policies potentially affecting our efforts to ensure and develop tourist markets such as China and Russian," he said.

The two-day assembly sets to explore a handful of topics including cruise liners, universal health care and free trade- the last of which was the focus for today.

CNMI state veterinarian Dr. Ignacio Dela Cruz stressed the desire to facilitate the movement of CNMI livestock primarily live cattle into Guam. He says an impediment however has been the overly restrictive animal quarantine regulations and testing for diseases. "These would immediately start to promote your agriculture economy and at the same time benefit CNMI ranchers as it would provide a large market for CNMI livestock," he said.

Acting Guam Department of Agriculture director John Borja says reviewing and updating the regulations is possible but important to consider what is written in law first. "To make it eventful for one thing but we also want to caution because we had other issues with other introduced types of unwanted diseases," he said.

MILA members meanwhile suggested looking at opening up other livestock between the islands such as goats, swine and horses as well as the possibility of importing and exporting agricultural produce.

Discussion continues Wednesday at 10am at the Guam Legislature.

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