Effects of coronavirus


We’ve been inundated with news of the coronavirus that threatens the entire global community. There’s also norovirus that popped up in Louisiana, recently. The former affects the lungs, the latter the tummy.

Reportedly there’s the question of the origin of the deadly virus. Screw that query: it has forced the community of nations to cut budget every which way possible!

Goes to show how closely economies have merged, signaling flags when a country’s foundation is derailed. Imagine how it could simply ruin fragile island economies like the CNMI. It triggers concerns among the populace and legitimately so. The new term here is “cut” and so we see folks with machetes all over.

It’s a global phenomenon that has forced cancellation of travel to most destinations worldwide. Thus, the adverse effect on tourism here as we quiz what’s coming down the pike. It’s a phenomenon that took us by surprise given the breadth of its instant spread as a contagious and fatal disease. Next: how long would this condition last here?

The unfolding phenomenon forces critical review how funds are earmarked throughout the NMI government. Obviously, CHC and PSS factor as top agencies that must be funded. If there need be cuts somewhere, the only option is to carry it out to stay afloat while meeting vital public services.

Beyond current fund source it simply means we must look for additional sources of revenue to meet mounting obligations. Otherwise, must sharpen machetes to cut expenses every which way possible to stay financially poised.

It requires strong resolve to muddle through thick and thin. If it means cutting across the board as suggested recently, then it is the appropriate paradigm to take. It’s obvious the decline in revenue so it is timely to prepare a plan to begin cutting excess baggage.

More $$$
The question to permit internet gambling is the focal point that merits support. We already have allowed the industry into our living room. So why not go for the full 10 yards?

It means more money for vital municipal government needs. It means leaving state budget alone for NMI-wide needs.

Excuses promulgated in recent days are what I call “feel-good” rationale that completely misses reality check. Must support it favorably so there is money to help patients, students, and others where the state government fails their needs.

It’s a matter of need, not luxury. Either we do it right or repeal the gambling law altogether. If it is ignored to guard irrational excuses, how else do we raise much-needed funds beyond shallow pontification? Stand up and be counted controversial or otherwise!

Bad times
A shift in administration in the early ’60s (Navy-Interior) imposed hardship among families here. There were major job losses and displacement that forced a return to the land and sea.

There wasn’t any transition period. It was a must return to traditional lifestyle of farming and fishing, a difficult change after relying on dad’s inconsequential paycheck. It showed what happened to a governmental entity whose future is regurgitated, time and again, in uncertainty.

I recall the NMI wanted something beyond its place among administrative districts under the TTG. There was even the aspiration for reintegration with Guam founded on dollar an hour minimum wage. It was shot down by Guam.

In 1972, we were given separate negotiations with the U.S. that led to a permanent relationship. There was hope for a brighter tomorrow. Slow as it may be upon its founding, most are satisfied with what we have today.

At least we’re able to generate revenue that is spent right here at home. In the process, we should embrace the responsibilities of self-rule so we learn what the concept requires from each of us.

No option
As much as I hate local staple food, had to chew and swallow it to make it through the day. Rice was a scarcity then. So we had to settle for what we had at the farm or garden behind the house: bananas, taro, sweet potatoes, and tapioca.

The only option was make do with what little we had at home, including eating rice and salt or bland staple food without meat or fish. The only option is “no option.” A lot of families had to endure without decent meals. We weren’t alone!

I remember dad making about $.16 an hour some 59 cents less than his previous income. With a large family it meant farming to supplement family sustenance and other means of food gathering.

We did gardening, including raising farm animals like chicken, pigs, and goats. We would butcher or slaughter one for family consumption. We learned the essence of self-support, a lifetime lesson.

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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