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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

CNMI, Consultants Briefed On Pagan Development Opportunities
Emphasized non-military training exercise potential

By Junhan B. Todiño

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, June 26, 2014) – Planners and representatives from the Northern Islands mayor’s office informed military consultants about potential development opportunities on the volcanic island of Pagan, Variety was told.

In a recent Pagan Socio-Economic Development Consultative Meeting, development planners also discussed homesteading and the impact of military training exercises on Pagan.

Jerome Aldan, Northern Islands mayor’s office chief of staff and one of the presenters, told participants that Pagan "is a beautiful island with a delicate and sensitive ecology and any live-fire military training or activities on land, ocean, and air will definitely contaminate and destroy the physical landscape, resources, treasures and assets of the island’s ecosystem."

He said live-fire exchanges from the air, the ocean, and on land "will completely obliterate or degrade the quality of the pozzolan on land making the natural minerals worthless and un-usable."

He added, "FDM live fire bombardment provides evidence on the destruction, contamination, and obliteration of an island, where the once whole island is gradually disintegrating into separate parts until they fall into the Pacific Ocean. Claiming that Pagan will not suffer the same fate is a bit off the cuff, if not an outright lie!" he said.

According to Aldan, the September cruise liner stopover and a planned Chamorro conference on Pagan this year will create more awareness about the remote island.

They are expecting over 100 people to attend the conference, he told military consultants Edward Lynch of Marine Corps Forces Pacific and Elisse Takara of Naval Facilities Engineering Command.

The meeting was also attended by Scott Glenn and David Kiernan of TEC Inc. Joint Venture.

Other presenters were architect and Save Pagan advocate Herman B. Cabrera, and socio-economic consultant and Save Pagan advocate former Rep. William Torres.

Aldan said he discussed the mayor’s office plan for the socio-economic development of Pagan.

These include eco-tourism and heritage tourism, the construction of replicas of ancient Chamorro structures, aquaculture, agriculture, fishing, fishery, cultivation of black pearls and black coral, geo-tourism, diving, a scientific research laboratory and geothermal energy production.

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