CNMI representative endorses call for a public referendum on expansion of military exercises
July 30, 2015 - HONOLULU -- Today, Representative Angel A. Demapan of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) officially endorsed the Pacific Islands Society’s call for a public referendum on the proposed expansion of U.S. military training on the islands of Tinian and Pagan in the CNMI.
In an interview with Micronesia’s leading newspaper, the Marianas Variety, Congressman Demapan made a strong case for why a referendum is necessary, “Because of the nature and magnitude of this proposal, I agree that a referendum will ultimately signal the true sentiment of the people. It is quite obvious already that there is overwhelming opposition from the community towards the military’s proposals for Tinian and Pagan” He then added, “I conveyed my support for their project. I’m pleased to see that they have officially launched their effort to join the people of the commonwealth in our quest to protect our limited resources,”
Press Secretary Ivan Blanco commented further on the petition saying they greatly “appreciate the support and the discussion of possible alternative courses of action from friends around the world and particularly in the Pacific Region such as the Pacific Islands Society, an independent and non-governmental organization that develops and implements projects that inspire and empower Pacific Islanders around the world.”
Following the publication of the article, the Pacific Islands Society expressed gratitude for the support of these political leaders. "We would like to thank Congressman Demapan for his public support for the referendum," says Keiko Ono, Vice President of the Pacific Islands Society. "Any support to uphold the democratic processes due to the communities this decision will affect is invaluable. Although the need to assess and anticipate adequate compensation for the inevitable economic, social and ecological impacts has been expressed by the executive director of Marine Corps Forces Pacific, the final decision on the issue must rest with the people."
About the Change.Org Petition that Demands the People of CNMI Be Given the Final Say on Tinian and Pagan
Following the publication of the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (OEIS) (http://www.cnmijointmilitarytrainingeis.com/) the Pacific Islands Society launched The Change.org petition in response to plans by the United States Department of Defense to expand military training in CNMI. In the petition, the Pacific Islands Society stresses that it is not making a political statement nor endorsement on the the decision to support or oppose the proposed expansion, but rather supports a call for the Government of CNMI, the United States Congress and the Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to facilitate and oversee the public referendum on the decision.
About the Pacific Islands Society
The Pacific Islands Society is an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental organization that develops and implements projects that inspire and empower Pacific islanders around the world. These projects are currently organized around two main themes: community projects and next generation leaders. PacSoc's community projects center on nine issue areas, including charity, conservation, democracy, disaster relief, education, equality, health, innovation, and sustainability. PacSoc's next generation leader projects support artists, athletes, chefs, incubators, musicians, policymakers, storytellers, and technologists.
About Keiko Ono
Keiko Ono is the current Vice-President of the Pacific Islands Society. Borne of Japanese - Papua New Guinean descent, she was primarily raised between nine countries in South-East Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands. Prior to joining the Pacific Islands Society, Keiko studied Politics and Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London. She has since served as one of three Presidents in SOAS Students Union, worked as a researcher for a Zambian NGO and developed experience as an educator in Tokyo working with the Japan-based international NGO, Peace Boat.
Pacific Islands Society