THE commonwealth will try to get workers from the Marshall Islands and other neighboring Micronesian jurisdictions once the federal CW program ends in Dec. 2019, Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog said on Wednesday.
The CW program can still be extended, but only through legislation passed by the U.S. Congress and approved by the president.
Recruiting from the other islands in Micronesia is one of the options the CNMI is now considering, Hocog said, adding that this was one of the issues discussed during the Micronesian Chief Executives Summit in Palau last week which he attended.
â€œI understand that the Marshall Islands has a labor surplus right now, and they provide training so we may recruit workers from there in the event the CW program ends,â€ Hocog said.
Citizens of the Marshalls and the other Freely Associated States â€” Palau and the FSM: Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap â€” can reside and work in the U.S. and its territories.
Hocog said the casino industry, the Zika virus and tourism were also discussed during the summit.
He said he was asked about Saipanâ€™s casino industry, adding that some Palau officials are also considering casino gaming, but many of their people are against it.
â€œItâ€™s going to be a long road for them. I told them they must have a compelling reason to pursue it, otherwise it will be difficult for the people to understand. I told them we managed to do it through legislation. But again, they should have a compelling reason because if youâ€™re just doing it for the sake of having a casino industry then it will be hard to get it passed. But with a compelling reason, it might change the mindset of the people who are against it.â€
The summit likewise discussed the Zika virus.
â€œIt was agreed that the islands should help each other, especially when dealing with health issues,â€ Hocog said. â€œThe Zika virus was discussed and it was our position that funding is needed to implement the necessary measures to prevent it from spreading.â€
As for tourism, Hocog said they acknowledged that one way of attracting more tourists is to promote the regionâ€™s culture of hospitality.
We shouldnâ€™t be rude to tourists, he added.