I read the complaints about the people soliciting money on the street corners. I was not pleased with the complaints but I bit my lip. I have even turned around on my motorcycle to donate as many of my former students would be out there and I can't turn them down. But now that there is Legislation to stop this I must speak for those who can't speak for themselves in this public forum-they are children and family members of people who are seriously ill.
First of all, the implied meaning of panhandling is begging for money but that is money for personal use of the person doing the begging. Panhandling is not even taking place at these street corners because they are soliciting money to help someone else or a team. Those who are complaining about the people on the street corners have created a distortion in the meaning and interpretation of what is being done on our streets resulting in another quagmire for the CNMI. The people complaining need to know the CNMI is broke and our government is even begging-duh! Telling them to fundraise for thousands of dollars when the average family can hardly make ends meet is ridiculous! If you don't want to donate then don't, but don't try to stop people from trying to make a difference for the CNMI or their family member who is very sick.
The people on these corners are students trying to fulfill their athletic dreams for the CNMI and themselves. The people on these corners are family members and friends trying to get enough money to save someone's life. The people on these corners represent the true spirit of love for the CNMI, their sport and most importantly their family member or friend. So if the government is going to stop them from soliciting, then the government had better be prepared to explain why our teams can't travel anymore or come up with the cash. The government had better also be ready to tell dying people why they can't solicit help anymore on the street corners.
I'm sure the people who complained have experienced real panhandlers on the mainland and they can be a real nuisance and even dangerous. But the environment and society of the CNMI is not quit the same as the mainland. If fact, many locals I know are ashamed to beg for themselves but they will solicit for a worthy cause all day. Maybe those who complained didn't really understand the culture of the CNMI because we shouldn't be rushing to make local laws in the CNMI just because other states have these laws. But more importantly the government can't afford to help these students and the sick people who have lost their insurance. I was like-“how dare you tell someone who is dying that their relatives can solicit donations on the streets.”
The only legislation that is needed is a “free soliciting permit with instructions for safe solicitations on the street corner from DPS” for safety and to prevent real panhandlers from being on the corners and ruining it for those students and the sick because they are soliciting for worthy causes-a much better law. The only concern should be that “no one is harassed or enters the street when the light is green.”
Ambrose M. Bennett