Historians wouldn’t write kindly about the CNMI’s leadership and its leaders when it comes to treatment of foreign workers here at home. We have little or no credibility at all in our arguments in favor of retention or extension of the CW program. Employers of this group of workers contributed to the stigma attached to the CW job program. The federal government’s continued bewilderment on this subject is the irrepressible display of leadership incompetency and the unfortunate grave consequences of their actions, or lack thereof.
Government and business leaders’ mental fixation and impulsive obsession in promoting a class of workers who, historically, have been exploited due to their vulnerable status, clearly exposed their true motivation…money making. Exploitation of workers never benefited the victims. It only enriches the exploiters, complicit with government leaders. We have seen the collusion between government and business leaders to undermine the good intent behind the CW program for the sake of money and profit. No one can consider these statements as “fake news” or “alternative facts,” and if there is, most likely he or she is a protégé of President Donald Trump, a pathological liar.
When issue of money and profitability enter the debate in policy enforcement and good governance, even morally conscious people cause harm to others. Money is a portable form of power. Making profit wins all the time. There is quantitative evidence that money shaped the CW debate. When a government is under the spell of corporations, the outcome predictably produces victims. In our case innocent foreign workers are the victims, which implicated local workforce interests as well.
So, what have we learned as a community regarding the CW debates? For one thing, our government leaders failed us by not faithfully discharging their sworn duty to follow the law, especially U.S. Public Law 110-229. Secondly, our government leaders failed us by not having the fortitude to create a vision to achieve a workable remedy for our labor workforce needs. Thirdly, and perhaps this is why the federal government has little sympathy to come to our rescue: The documented failure and blatant disregard for protecting the rights of these vulnerable class of workers for the exclusive interest of profit making just doesn’t sit well with Congress. Human right is so fundamental that nations go to war to protect it.
We in the Commonwealth are no less excused from doing whatever we can to protect and defend this right. If profit making and the eventual demise of the CW program for the Commonwealth is the end game, then government and business leaders should be brave enough to take full ownership of this colossal failure. They are exclusively and solely responsible for any pending volatility in our economy. The federal government cannot be used as political scapegoat to coverup gross negligence and lack of vision.
If former governor Eloy S. Inos is still alive today, this matter wouldn’t have been the way it is now. Not only did he embody democratic principles but he displayed political astuteness—an increasingly important leadership trait in a 21st century workforce—in other critical matters that imperiled our Commonwealth prior to his untimely passing. Sadly, I don’t see that quality with the current leadership, and our vested interests are adversely impacted and harmed as a result.
Daniel O. Quitugua
Kannat Tabla, Saipan