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    Tuesday, November 20, 2018-7:14:40P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Refaluwasch community members support Babauta-Sablan team, Kilili, other Independent-Democrat candidates

A GROUP of Refaluwasch elders gathered on a beach in Chalan Kanoa on Tuesday to express support for the Babauta-Sablan team, U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan and the other candidates on the Independent-Democratic coalition ticket.

Among the elders was Lino Olopai who said: “One rarely sees the [Refaluwasch community] coming together like today.”

He said the gathering of their people who are related through their mothers’ blood line “is a big thing.”

“It is critical that we come out and get together because we need to get our government back,” he added.

Olopai said he thinks the government is no longer focused on the people. He recognizes the importance of business but he thinks the Torres administration’s treatment of the people and investors “is not balanced.” The people, he said, are left out when they should be “partners in development.”

“We organize this gathering which consists of the senior citizens and the youth among the Carolinian community because over the past years and up to this day, we see the need for change. And the biggest reason we are gathered today is we support that change. And with that, we support John and Rita, and the independent candidates that are for change. I think we really need to do that,” Olopai said.

Independent gubernatorial candidate Juan Nekai Babauta thanked the Refaluwasch community and said:  “I’m so glad that my mother is Carolinian. Matriarchy is strong and our roots come from our mothers. For that reason I’m proud to have a mother who is Carolinian.”

Independent gubernatorial candidate Juan Nekai Babauta, his running mate, former Education Commissioner Rita Aldan Sablan, U.S., Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, senatorial candidate Heinz Sablan Hofschneider, Precinct 2 House candidate Tina Sablan and Precinct 3 House candidate Vicente C. Camacho pose with members of the Refaluwasch community during a gathering at the beach next to Lino Olopai’s residence in Chalan Kanoa.  Photo by Emmanuel T. EredianoIndependent gubernatorial candidate Juan Nekai Babauta, his running mate, former Education Commissioner Rita Aldan Sablan, U.S., Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, senatorial candidate Heinz Sablan Hofschneider, Precinct 2 House candidate Tina Sablan and Precinct 3 House candidate Vicente C. Camacho pose with members of the Refaluwasch community during a gathering at the beach next to Lino Olopai’s residence in Chalan Kanoa. Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

But the former governor said he also misses his uncle, Francisco Nekaim who passed away years ago.

“He was an asset when I started out in politics. I miss him a lot. I miss him very much.  But now I have my three aunties, the Peters. And I am so grateful to them,” he added.

Kilili likewise thanked the Refaluwasch community for their support.

He remembers growing up in such a community, and every time he went to the beach, he would pass by “Uncle Lino’s house and pay respect to my other uncles and aunties.”

He lived in the Carolinian community, and when he ran for office, Kilili said he represented their district in the CNMI House.

Kilili said it was a Carolinian woman who helped him recover from trauma using traditional healing methods.

Babauta’s running-mate, former Education Commissioner Rita Aldan Sablan, said she remembers growing up under the care of a Carolinian woman who also taught her and her siblings a lot of cultural dances.

Former Sen. Herman Rogolofoi Guerrero said: “I am very happy to see many of my own people today. I am happy for John, who is a Carolinian.”