Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Seized artifacts prompt lawmaker to dig up bill ‘stuck’ in Senate

Vol. 35 No.163
©2007 Marianas Variety Tuesday, October 30, 2007 www.mvariety.com
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Email : mvariety@vzpacifica.net Seized artifacts prompt lawmaker to dig up bill ‘stuck’ in Senate
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff

THE recovery of historical artifacts from the container van that was retrieved from Hong Kong has prompted a lawmaker to revisit a bill that was supposed to “add teeth” to the Historical Preservation Act which has been around for many years but has never been fully enforced.

The attempt to ship a World War II fighter plane engine and propeller and other items with historical value to the CNMI, according to Rep. Cinta Kaipat, Covenant-Saipan, should highlight the need to pass House Bill 15-151, which has been in the Senate for almost a year now.

The House passed it in Dec. 2006.

The bill aims to prevent the removal of artifacts and items of historic significance from the commonwealth by strengthening the enforcement ability of the Historical Preservation Office.

It gives HPO employees “greater investigatory and search powers to detect objects of historical and cultural value and prevent their removal from the CNMI,”
Kaipat, in an interview yesterday, said HPO has no enforcement body to take actions against those digging up historical artifacts on the islands.

The bill, she said, seeks to prohibit “any person, partnership, business, corporation or other entity from willfully removing any artifact of historic significance to the people of the commonwealth.”

It also recommends that the fine for violating the Historical Preservation Act of 1982 should be $10,000 per violation.

It designates HPO employees as enforcement personnel upon completing an appropriate law-enforcement training program.

Kaipat said while her bill has remained pending in the Senate, there have probably been a lot of artifacts shipped off the islands.

She expressed dismay at the Senate’s refusal to pass most of the bills she introduced.

“I wonder why they [did] that. Now I guess I know,” she said, but she declined to elaborate.

1 comment:

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