CNMI indigenous group opposes land lease extension

1:51 pm on 11 October 2017

A group representing the interest of the native people of the Northern Marianas is not supporting calls to amend the Commonwealth's constitution to allow longer lease terms on public lands.

Saipan in the Northern Marianas.

Saipan in the Northern Marianas. Photo: Supplied

The Northern Marianas Descent Corporation, last week, voted not to support extending public land leases beyond the 40-year period provided by the constitution.

A bill currently being deliberated in the commonwealth senate proposes to allow extending public land leases by 35 years on top of the current 40-year period allowed by law.

The group said it did not want to close the door to other possible investors and it believed that the land-bidding process should proceed once a public land lease was up to ensure a fair and just bidding process.

The lease of five landmark hotels on Saipan is set to expire in four years, and the continued uncertainty over the fate of these leases is worry for the Hotel Association.