Are we going to allow our Constitution to fail in shame? When I was in school I was taught that the Constitution was the law of the land and was the supreme law that could not be violated. Apparently my teachers might have lied to me. Everyone who is following the retirement drama should just read our CNMI Constitution.
This is what I cut and pasted off the CNMI Law Review website from our Constitution (don't take my word for it, look it up): “Article III Section 20: Retirement System. a) Membership in an employee retirement system of the Commonwealth shall constitute a contractual relationship. Accrued benefits of this system shall be neither diminished nor impaired.”
I don't know how you read this, but I read it as the government will pay my retirement in full, on time, until I die. How do you read it? This is what I see as how our government reads it: “Let's scare the daylights out of our man'anko retirees by saying there's no budget. Let's get them to fight over something that is not true like the government can reduce or take away their benefits. Let's get them to voluntarily reduce themselves into poverty, what no one under our Constitution can do, out of fear and misinformation!”
Do not let this happen! Everyone young and old, retired or working, must stand together behind the Constitution and chant at the next Fund meeting: “Neither diminished nor impaired! Neither diminished nor impaired! Neither diminished nor impaired!” I know it's not very catchy, it doesn't even rhyme, but it is the sole truth of the whole retirement dilemma (a dilemma, by the way, that is the sole responsibility of our government, not the retirees) If the retirement is under Finance, we can now hold one person, our governor, accountable to follow the Constitution and pay the retirees IN FULL, ON TIME, NO ARGUMENT, NO EXCUSES, PERIOD.
The excuse that there is no money is just an excuse. Our government simply has to make the hard choices to cut whatever they have to and make sure they fulfill their constitutional duty to pay the retirees what they have earned! Even if you've never planned on retiring in the CNMI, we the people must stick together and not let anyone in our government take away our constitutional rights. If we allow our government to take away any or all of the retirement benefits earned by retirees, then with a little more time and misinformation they will take away.
Capital Hill, Saipan