2018 reassessment

Politics threatened to stay civil and calm in the public domain until a few days ago when it took an explosive turn. It is now piled with vicious accusations of vote buying and other irregularities. Woe!

Negative narrative edges to the surface on both side of the aisle. It’s the nature of the beast. And I thought there’s a chance to discuss issues in sober fashion. Not!

How does one explain the nearly 15,000 employees stuck under poverty income level? It’s a hard nut to crack, given that two former Republican governors succeeded in bringing about sufficient wealth to the islands in recent past. For instance, in 1993 we told the U.S. Congress no more grant funds for we were overflowing with self-generated revenues. What went wrong?

The 80-percent salary increase ruled unconstitutional by the court was allowed to become law under the current administration. Why wasn’t it vetoed from the outset? With families panting for air in the swamp of poverty income, Torres needs a miracle to explain the issue to the satisfaction of adversely affected families. It’s one tough cookie to chew after more than 20 years of Republican rule.

The hardship has fueled daily use of the term “corruption” throughout the villages. I probe to understand the apparent mouthwash. It all leads back to poverty income among households CNMI-wide. After paying for family obligations there’s nothing else left in the kitty. You start praying “my sweet lord…give us this day our daily bread….”

Midterm: Across the fruited plains is the midterm election for the U.S. Congress that ought to determine majority rule, red or blue. It’s also seen as Trump’s national referendum.

Washington is that awesome global seat of power. I remember sitting at a beautiful park admiring the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials across the Potomac. They’re two powerful names I only met in U.S. History class. Indeed, they left behind their indelible contributions in the founding and strengthening of our democratic republic.

I’d mull at the longstanding strength of our national Constitution as penned by the founding fathers. It shows their intellectual strength as visionaries being able to see beyond the years. They wrote the document some 240 years ago.

Am I optimistic of our future? If we could elect people with some depth of perception or the ability to see beyond the years to guide us forward.

It’s an interesting year, though strangely calm and quiet it may be throughout the archipelago. Is a surprise on the way to the villages?

Crowded: The islandwide and precinct-level contests are crowded this election year. Not sure how incumbents would fare but they have their own mind-numbing excess baggage to contend with.

It includes the failed 80-percent salary increase while ignoring that nearly 15,000 employees struggling under poverty income. What have they done to increase wages and salaries of these employees?

Unjustified as it may be, the use of the word corruption as a village mouthwash is troubling. Is this the understanding of villagers of people on the hill? I briefly looked into the history of how the word turned into a mouthwash.

It must have been triggered by a Bloomberg story about corruption in the CNMI sometime last year. I know this was challenged in court but haven’t seen any judicial disposition as of yet. But it’s an uncomfortable mouthwash everywhere!

Vacuum: We hear sketchy information about the future of casino here. For instance, it is rumored that Best Sunshine may not be able to pull through with its planned $7 billion investment. Not sure what may be the issue in what has become suspect investment at best, non-transparency of plans at worse.

Japan would eventually give us a run for our money when it opens its own casinos in the near future. It would lure some 23 million of its own multi-millionaires to support its casino over another outside of the country. It boils down to loyalty to country, something foreign for most islanders here.

The uncertainty of casino as a trigger to stir additional investments leaves doubts for any appreciable expansion of private industries here. Do we leave it to ignorance, indifference or despondence? Or do we reset priorities to dispose of the issue accordingly? We must take it beyond leadership vacuum!

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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