Carnival: Situational poverty


The apparent carnival culture that skips issues that matter in favor of trivia is a tale why nothing has worked in these isles for nearly four decades.

This is reinforced by the short memories people have of bad experiences in recent past. This doesn’t bode well with the vision to rebuild paradise into a decent venue for our people where opportunities abound.

The combined negligence has forced situational poverty throughout the archipelago. How do simple villagers deal with stagnant wages and salaries of more than 10 years while the cost of basic goods skyrockets? I’ve looked into tinted cars and it isn’t there!

Is it really hard understanding that policy dictates the quality of life anywhere in the world? The CNMI isn’t an exception! What have you undertaken to bring forth a set of plans and constructive policies to aid growth and development? Or is this too heavy a task that would enable the elected elite to secure a clearer vision of what must be done forthwith?

With your carnival attitude you’re only affirming it’s perfectly fine for the multitude to live like shipwrecks, holding unto driftwood in the open sea with hopeful prayers to see land amidst towering fatal waves. Aren’t you captains of this canoe? Or are you also playing dangerous marbles on the deck? This situational poverty requires serious review now!

Isn’t the single most egregious issue the deepening mess revolving around the economy? Isn’t it true that the CNMI can’t pay CHC’s utility bills nor is it fiscally capable of settling its $29 million debt with the agency? Isn’t it true that there are other obligations, e.g., $40 million for CHC operations, $42 million for PSS, $29 million for the Settlement Find for fiscal year 2016, and other towering fiscal obligations? And you’re worried sick of tinted car windows?

About the only saving grace today is the accrual system that permits eating projected revenues in advance of their actual collection. How many pay periods have been advanced so far? The term progress supposes that the present is better than the past. However, it seems unfortunate that it’s the complete reverse here! Call it situational abject poverty hailing from persistent negligence by the elected elite!

At ground level
I’d visit some of our elderly if only to listen to their time-honored wisdom in humility and the generous patience with which they speak their mind with dignity.

One of them said, “Iku, everything that is happening today have all been written in the Holy Bible. It includes familial feud and disunity, ugly arguments where everybody is talking and nobody’s listening, or inference thrown out the window.”

An auntie said, “The huge rocks sticking out of the water around cliff lines have been there for hundreds of years and someday would disappear from daily wave action. The powerful waves of change would turn our rock into grains of sand at the bottom of the deep blue. We would have lost it all.”

Tun Jose was also thoughtful but a bit more conciliatory: “Change of tradition is inevitable but I do hope that our children would carry with them the spirit of what made us uniquely different from all the rest.”

Both of my elderly had me thinking quietly when I returned home at dusk. To be turned into a grain of sand in the deep blue and the loss of indigenous spirit is too high a price to dismiss as inconsequential. But I’m hopeful too that our indigenous spirit reigns strong and immoveable among our young people. They will carry the torch of leadership.

Occasionally, it’s good to return to ground level if only to listen to the true voices of the simple folks at home. I’m especially fond of the words of wisdom of the elderly. It brings a sense of humility of how little I know as a boastful grasshopper.

Trouble in paradise
At the ground level, I also had the opportunity to listen to families who hardly make ends meet while dealing with paying the first family home, car, and other filial obligations.

The situation had families juggling what’s left in the paycheck versus federal help like food stamps and healthcare. It forces a situation to critically count pennies to see if the family income is anywhere near the threshold where program disqualification kicks in. The loss is larger than accepting an increase in salaries. So the thing to do is ask to forego any form of salary increase.

It’s infuriating a decision but only they know what they had to deal with, not me. Only they know what’s behind the door, not this son of Metformin. I’m basically dumbfounded but, again, only they know real time familial situations. Whatever happened to paradise?

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.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.