The NMI government is literally bankrupt. This was triggered by the federal takeover of immigration and minimum wage. It dealt the NMI total economic devastation. Revenue generation declined heavily which was exacerbated by a pile of ill-conceived policies on fees and taxes hurled heedlessly against private industries.
The slide into economic meltdown was quick and crisp. It didn't give leadership any breathing room to regroup and recalibrate policy matters to slam the brakes against total fiscal calamity. It's a dizzying journey!
The feds put on the mask of blind, deaf and mute watching from afar the fiscal colossus it has inflicted against the NMI. If its intent is to derail this governor, then Uncle Sam the egregious net effect of your decision has hit the villagers hardest. It is mind-numbing your total insensitivity and purposeful destruction of our fragile island economy. It confirms, time and again, the incompetency of our benefactors in Washington building sustainable island economies. Its paternalistic attitude never ceases to amaze me.
We're now at the bottom of a fiscal cliff hopelessly paddling to find our way out of the deep stormy blue. It's a long and fatally dangerous swim, disoriented. We're paddling while hoping financial rigor mortis doesn't set-in before we make it to the surface. It's a dizzying feat navigating among giant sharks while blinded by towering waves slamming mercilessly against towering fiscal cliffs.
The simple folks know what's happening quizzing whether there's any hope turning the course of history so the NMI moves out of its dark nights into the bright lights of dawn. Can we collectively place our future in the hands of leadership disoriented, trying to make heads or tails of the colossus conveyed to the NMI by the feds? I still have hope that it can be done with proactive and decisive leadership undertaking measures to mend where the feds and legislators left the NMI in total economic annihilation. This needs the complimentary participation of the NMI in the repeal of punitive policies hurled against foreign investors by the feds and NMI.
The pile of misperceived mess has culminated in the move by the minority in the lower chamber to seek for the impeachment of the governor. Hope pro-impeachment legislators deal with it with a sense of integrity and fairness. It requires judicious review.
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Flight of the Phoenix
As politicians play “seesaw” on impeachment, most folks go their usual way struggling to see with clear prism the devastation forced upon them by the economic meltdown at home. The annihilation of the local economy is attributable to the federal takeover of immigration and minimum wage piled by punitive policies from within.
Change is difficult and the process is woefully slow.
It takes awhile before we could see its impact. That the impact would be economic devastation why wasn't a slow paradigm or thorough study taken so everybody sees the likely outcome of major policy changes? Is it because the adversely affected is limited to the indigenous people? This insensitive paternalistic attitude did nothing but drain the trust our folks thought it had of the feds. This condition however would be around for more than a decade.
The NMI is so broke the hospital can't even buy special milk for a young kid in the ICU. This as the health corporation's management submits a budget request to the governor for hospital operations. The major decline in revenue is the net effect of a heedless and reckless imposition of federal policy that also compromised the strengthening of our democratic institutions.
A sense of powerful confidence is a must where the governor takes the flight of the phoenix to rally leadership in a collective effort to stem the consistent slide of the NMI into financial calamity. Time is of the essence. Any major stride into reinventing paradigms would reboot confidence and hope once more.
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Must set direction now
As financial paralysis engulfs the archipelago, we brace ourselves on kitchen benches taking a mental inventory at the colossus torching every square inch of the NMI. The ashes of the fatal magma that moved into our presence would be around for quite sometime to come. Well, there's time honored local resiliency that allows the NMI to pull out of devastation. The depression (a state below recession) would be difficult but not insurmountable.
But it takes proactive leadership from the governor to move things in the right direction. Firstly, he needs to enlist the help of private industries, NMC, PSS and the legislature to move positive policies that would allow the NMI to regain its footing as an excellent venue for investment.
This needs to be done methodically each inch of the way. If need be, various investment trips may be undertaken to encourage our friends from Japan and nearby Asia to “come home.” It's most important that a sense of purpose and direction is established so everybody knows the road map or blue print to rekindle investment once more.
As it organizes on this front, it must equally push about three of his immediate staff to begin reviewing punitive policies that fast tracked the exodus of foreign from the islands. This paradigm is what most counties, cities and state governments employ to reinvent investments at home. It's the use of “wealth and jobs creation”.
States with far less stifling regulations and punitive fees and taxes do exceedingly well regrouping on jobs creation. Following this paradigm should enable the NMI to reset its investment button once more. Slow as it may be, we shall see the slow return of major investments into the islands.
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Japan's ready, are we?
The NMI sits some 800 miles southwest of Japan, the world's third largest economy poised to invest abroad. Japan is looking for venues to invest and many of our friends who have returned home kept repeating the NMI archipelago as the most beautiful place where lasting partnership could be established, nurtured, and strengthened for the benefit of one and all.
This is more the reason that the governor must begin changes of institutional or systemic hurdles that must be improved or repealed to open the door once again.
These islands were home for many of our friends from the Land of the Rising Sun before the war. Many still return to visit what used to be home for mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa. It's a beautiful place in the sun that is geographically situated just three hours away. Definitely, they'd like to return once more to familiar sun, sand, sea, and soak in that wonderful Chamolinian hospitality. It can be done and we should regroup to set the foundation once more.
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.