What a travesty that the Senate killed the Article 12 initiative. The economy here suffers and will continue to suffer because there is no cash flow to the islands. Investment in the islands is critical to building a good economy, but major investors will not consider investing here. Would you build a $20 million structure, for instance, knowing that in 55 years, you will either have to give it up or pay for it again to someone with his hand out, who can basically blackmail you into either paying or walking away from your investment? And by then, that same property will be owned by 20 people, all with their hands out.
A good economy is based on good cash flow. Banks here charge prohibitive interest rates, and perhaps they have to. Banks in the States are charging home loans of 4.25 percent and less. But if you want to get those low rates, you have to allow money to come in. U.S. banks aren’t lending on leases but with an investor-friendly climate, they will.
No matter what MVA says, this is not a business-friendly environment. It is time to stop treating NMDs like children. Let them sell their land if they like. No one will force them to sell. Or allow the kind of system of Hawaii, by which an owner can sell fee simple or lease at their discretion.
Many current legislators seem to think that legalizing marijuana or building casinos will be the answer, without considering what kind of people those kinds of activities would attract. There are already too many people here addicted to gambling who cannot pay their bills because of it. Look around at what the government has done for you so far. Get rid of these guys with their stale ideas and their inability to see the real economic problems. We need to attract professional investors with good business plans to the islands, not potheads and losers.
Let the voters decide. Let them sell or lease as they like. But for the sake of building a decent economy here, by which residents can benefit, put the initiative on the ballot and let it pass. What is the Senate afraid of? Better living conditions on the islands? Better job opportunities? More money for everyone?
As Matuis, Saipan