From the outset, the US Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs was bent to shut down the garment industry, pandering to the fancy of the US Textile Labor Union. Either they do it for it is “pay-back time” or those whose re-election last November were bankrolled by the labor union can kiss their coveted political career good bye.
It wouldn’t be so bad if Interior’s OIA had a back-up plan in proven economic substitute, but it hever had anything for the local leadership to review in that it is incompetent in this area since 37 years ago. Therefore, the lack of an alternative economic plan other than funding an economic conference this year in the NMI that would eventually end up in an old adage: “After all is said and done, a lot more is said than done”.
OIA never took a slow approach either to enable itself to come to grips with economic reality in the NMI since the advent of the Asian Crisis. Nor was it an enthusiastic partner in mapping out alternative plans to stave the ravaging effects of the regional crisis that has assaulted our tourism industry every which way imaginable.
Instead, it too stood by the roadside to watch the NMI stumble through a mess forced upon it by external economic influence.
This attitudinal anomaly will never re-establish a healthy working relationship once fostered and nurtured by former OIA helmsmen as Estella Guera and Pedro San Juan. Allen Stayman has decided against the NMI’s economic interest in favor of the Textile Labor Unions. His predecessors have encouraged the NMI to use Headnote 3-A to expand its incipient garment industry established in 1983. Stayman has turned such policy into complete reverse.
If we may reiterate: The exclusion of the NMI’s interest, coupled with flip-flops in federal policy is the most damaging in all our collective efforts to lure lasting investments to the NMI. Perhaps there’s credence in the recent statement by Senator Pete P. Reyes that the NMI revisits the Covenant Agreement to settle its score with the federal government on policy matters that change in midstream to the economic demise of the NMI. If anything, posterity will always remember this event in our developmental history and would dispose of the current relationship in the interest of the generations of indigenous children over the next millennium. Si Yuus Maase` yan ghilisow!