Dreadful ‘cut’


The economic contraction (drop in business) has adversely affected local revenue generation. The drop has forced the governor to make cuts where appropriate, e.g., work hours while ensuring continuation of basic public services.

The contraction and accompanying reduction in work hours has adversely affected employees’ income. With revenue generation headed south, the only option is shared hardship and doesn’t leave much room for anything else.

It isn’t politically concocted nor designed to punish employees. It’s an economic phenomenon beyond our control where far less revenue is the order of business. Must contend with what revenue is generated. Let’s hope it returns to normalcy soon.

It takes clear-eyed appraisal and a mastery of duty to know when decisions of necessity must descend. As hard as it may be, there’s no option but to cut so we live within our means. The governor had to make cuts to ensure essential services continue uninterrupted, e.g., healthcare and education.

The contraction was preceded by two storms and the permanent departure of Nippon investments. Reportedly, the loss is around $14 billion. It’s a huge loss that would take years to recover, if at all.

Gratitude! While we dread dealing with the term “cut,” Washington Delegate Kilili adds millions of dollars for recovery and other assistance. Si yuus maase`, Kilili! We need whatever help is coming to rebuild from the destruction of two storms and exit of Nippon investments.

Complacency: Some 41 years ago the fundamental policies of the CNMI were laid down by the first bicameral legislature and administration.

Today, it remains a bicameral 29-member legislative system. With a major economic contraction, isn’t it timely to reduce the size of the Legislature to an eight-member unicameral system? Let’s see how Da Boysis dispose of a deepening fiscal situation. It’s called political maturity!

If Da Boysis have their “depth of vision” fully intact, then a decision to reduce the size of the Legislature and administration ought to come easily without delay.

Boggles the mind that Guam with twice the population contends with just 15 policymakers. Let’s challenge Da Boysis’ depth of vision and commitment.

After 41 years, nothing much has shifted into the growth and development of the NMI. We remain stationary where the attitude of indifference has landed us squarely in “complacency” land. Woe us!

Talks: Perhaps by oversight, a new political status commission was created when federal law already provides for the 902 Talks. Ooops! Must reset buttons!

It should be noted, though, that the Covenant Agreement is a “permanent” arrangement and over the last 40-plus years we haven’t had any significant disagreements with our national government. Call it smooth sailing!

The 902 Talks serves as the vehicle for discussion of issues as provided by federal law. It’s the legal vehicle to raising issues of concern for both sides, including resolution of differences. It involves a lot of talk—902 times—until no mo` talk!

Questions: Beyond the current arrangement, is there anything that should be considered for discussion within the framework of the Covenant Agreement that would improve the socio-economic posture of the NMI?

Intuition says the answer is in the affirmative, though we neglect the Agreement requires active and proactive pursuit especially from our side. Can’t afford waiting for another Christmas gift via a handout from Uncle Sam! Must work to earn our dues!

Growth: As much as we aspire for resurgence of private industry, it has also stagnated for one reason or another. Its return should help us expand fiscal resources. If it doesn’t rebound then be prepared to start selling broken pencils and marshland grass, the latter we could for huts along the shore to reinvent tourism.

Meanwhile, I expect our raising local concerns equally under federal sovereignty for discussion. Let’s bring it to their attention and explore ways to work out meaningful partnership that grants more room for socio-economic growth in the islands.

Our teeny pearls are basically poor and must struggle to make the best of what descends in mini-tourism and service industries. Must work on a plan to go beyond conventional wisdom. We’ve been snoozing a bit too long on the wheels we don’t even know where we are at this juncture. No wonder we hide behind the shield of convenient complacency.

Exploring opportunities to the hilt is the only way to gradually bring the other side of the ocean to our shores. Don’t fear the process for there’s no two ways about it either. Would our economy catch fire once more?

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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