Marianas Variety, Thursday, December 28, 2006
NMI needs more community volunteers
By Gemma Q. Casas
Variety News Staff
AS the government’s financial condition continues to worsen, public and private sector officials are banking on volunteers to help clean up Garapan, the center of business activitys in Saipan.
Rep. Cinta M. Kaipat, Covenant-Saipan, said volunteers are needed in these difficult times to help promote the Northern Marianas as a major tourism destination in the Pacific.
Kaipat is part of a newly formed group spearheaded by the Hyatt and Tan Holdings Corp. whose goal is to transform Garapan into a more family-oriented place.
Dave Sablan of Tan Holdings, who presided over a meeting yesterday at the Tan-owned Fiesta Resort & Spa, said they want Garapan to be a more tourist-friendly area.
A team of volunteers will survey various business establishments and private property in the area.
The teams will then report to an advisory council which will ask the establishments to take action on suggested changes.
Sablan said their project will not be costly for business owners.
“We don’t want to impose costs (on business owners or the government) so we’ll try to round up more volunteers,” he said.
The volunteers will be asked to plant more flowers around the area; help install signs written in Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese; and paint facades, among other beautification projects.
The group aims to finish transforming Garapan by June 30, 2007.
MVA Chairman and Tan Holdings CEO Jerry Tan said one of the things they want to see is improvement in Garapan’s street lights.
“(Having more street lights) does a lot of good. Tourists feel safer walking around and it drives away prostitution activities,” said Tan.