10 Jan 2013

CNMI delegate says governor address embarrassing, full of distortions

3:50 pm on 10 January 2013

The Northern Marianas Delegate to the US Congress, Gregorio Kilili Sablan, has criticised Governor Benigno Fitial's State of the Commonwealth Address, saying it contained misstatements and glaring distortions and was embarrassing.

In particular, Mr Sablan took issue with Mr Fitial's statement that he was too optimistic about getting federal help with the economy.

Mr Sablan pointed out that when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds began to be spent in the CNMI in 2009 and 2010, the economy went from minus 19 percent annual growth to positive 2 percent growth.

He says federal funds were largely responsible for that 21-percent turnaround in the islands' Gross Domestic Product.

Mr Sablan says federal funding and personnel are the ones keeping the Commonwealth Health Center open.