CUC violates stipulated order


The inevitable clock of likely rolling blackouts has started ticking. I can’t help but get goose bumps at tidings that the chief engineer of the power plant, Wallen Young Fong, has quit and left.

Isn’t Fong’s departure a violation of the District Court’s stipulated order that CUC retain a qualified technical expert to oversee power generation operation at Lower Base?

What happens when the old system begins to break down? Do we ask DPL once more for more money so we could fetch Aggreko to fix the mess? Why the complicity in the incompetence of CUC?

More than six years ago, I gave CUC—via MPLT—some $3.5 million to repair and rebuild the old generators. Aggreko came in and put in place temporary generators while it fixed the 36-year-old equipment. It was repair work that didn’t include any expansion. I even gave CUC three DPL vehicles for its meter readers. In brief, it was broke and it still is broke!

Looking ahead, what happens as major investments begin rolling in or when residential homestead expands or both? Do we raise our red flags and ask them to delay projects slated to move forward? Isn’t this what’s known as “planning?” Doesn’t this entail planning FOR eventualities rather than planning BY what happens in the near term?

Answer: Privatize CUC

It’s more the reason to privatize CUC. The agency is bankrupt, its fiscal impotence exacerbated by the local government’s inability to cough up $18 million to pay its power bills. CUC goes on a pipe dream searching for geothermal, solar, and snake oil to try to fit into the system. Could any of them be hooked to the grid of the old power generators? Or is CUC standing on the fence to order another study for this purpose?

An attempt to study privatization of the utility agency is a waste of time and resources. You privatize it when a firm has the financial wherewithal to salvage a disoriented and incompetent team! Such is the status of CUC today, forced to justify its existence that includes useless alternative energy.

If this government is so bankrupt, isn’t major and fresh batch of anchor investments the appropriate paradigm? Why the passivity in perpetuity? It seems we’ve done nothing but drive everything into the ditch, i.e., control of immigration, minimum wage, retirement program, credit union, CUC, among others.

Apparently, the elected elite is so inebriated with its deficient “do-nothing” attitude it can’t lift a finger to do anything right. You would think that they would have secured meaning and context into major economic issues and be insightful and intuitive to the needs of “we the people” and move decisively to ease the sparks of fireworks in the cost of living. It’s humiliating even thinking of the obvious disconnect between “we the people” and those on the hill.

Planning for expansion ahead

Starting with the southernmost island, Rota, its people aren’t going to sit on the fence and continue paying backbreaking power rates at $.62 per kilowatt-hour. Nor are the folks ready to endure the special ability of bureaucrats watching progress go by without lifting a finger.

Rota is slated to expand its visitor industry and other businesses. CUC is definitely incapable of meeting the 10 MW on future expansion. Is it fair that we all wait out the incompetence of CUC? Isn’t it right that the folks take back what’s theirs to begin rebuilding their ruined economy? Isn’t affordable and reliable power the single most vital link to encouraging business expansion while easing the hardship of villagers?

Tinian is also ready to move the needle of growth forward in two sectors: hotel expansion of some 400 high-end villas and the military at North Field. The current system is old and its focus is on maintenance at highly costly rates most folks and businesses can’t afford. Is it poised to meet future expansion with an arcane system? So where’s the benefit for the simple villagers on Tinian? Isn’t it time that the people move in decisively and take over their power generation system?

It’s all about policy that dictates everything else. If your initial apprehension is to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, then it speaks volumes of your inability to see the forest over the trees or the larger picture. With more misses than hits, what could we reasonably expect from half-cocked policies lacking definition, mindfulness, and insightful intuition? Like running in the woods we learn that the step in front of us is the most important one, true? Shall we begin that long journey into a bright new morning?

Use of the Antiquities Act

The NMI can’t simply sit idly by without doing due legal diligence in the use of a presidential tool—proclamations and directives—known to have been abused by presidents.

Todd F. Gaziano, a Senior Fellow in Legal Studies and director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies of the Heritage Foundation, noted that the Antiquities Act of 1906 and numerous directives were issued in the areas of foreign and defense policy, environmental policy, regulatory review, labor policy, and civil rights.

“A disproportionate number of these executive directives were either illegal or issued in the furtherance of an improper policy or political objective,” he pointed out. With Gaziano’s mega legal analysis, it’s one reason to research whether the use of the Antiquities Act to secure the three islands up north is in fact legal and whether it isn’t a violation of our indigenous rights to landownership, including the Covenant Agreement.

It seems our esteemed Delegate Kilili is sleeping on the switchboard time and again. It’s time he wakes up to the reality of seeming violation that compromises self-government. While at it, please ask Mr. Obama if we could derail his signature healthcare law that has disrupted the lives of millions of Americans across the country, including the NMI. It’s time for real representation!

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.