In humble silence

“Silence” is a word I consider a partner, 24/7. I’m usually engulfed in it at dawn in prayers. With my first cup of coffee and nicotine fit, it’s time to begin perusing materials on the internet.

In calm, I could feel the pulse of our community in these pearly isles. It’s woefully quiet, though, beyond kids walking to school and folks heading to work. It’s great the island felicitation wherever we meet. Buenas! It’s another day in paradise!

Exit

One recent phenomenon I find especially troubling is the “silent” exit of Nippon investments from the islands in recent past. There’s also the Marpi land vacated by Nippon investors recently. It probably is the last large Nippon business venue.

The elected elite seemed aloof or indifferent about it or its implications. It pertains to the future wellbeing of our people. Is this why the apparent indifference from Da Hills of Saipan or is it a case of being clueless what just happened?

Had we employed depth of perception and humility we could have turned their presence into a lasting partnership. It should lead to building lasting investments and a prosperous economy. But we were arrogant and aloof and left everything to deteriorate to our demise. Where then do we go with major economic contraction beyond intoning the sorrowful “que sera?”

Quality

I’ve heard the quiet voice of nearly 15-thousand employees earning poverty income wages and salaries. You instantly defer to the quality of life at home as they struggle to make it through another day. Have you heard this or “not yet, already?”

It’s a daily hardship often met with quiet cringes of frustration by parents that can’t buy their kids’ needs in order to attend class or live in common decency.

Economic contraction translates into far less for far more, financially. Have Da Boysis done their homework to figure out the beast?

History

With Nippon investments gone past Managaha Island what else is there beyond looking intelligently disoriented and ignorant? The elected elite can’t treat the issue as a fly by cotton ball. It’s about the quality of life at home!

What’s our future under current economic scenario? Or is there a plan to reboot investments? If so, what are those plans and are they realistic?

Understood that we never had ancestral entrepreneurship in private industry. But times have changed and it is fitting that we move into small business ventures for our livelihood.

But with Nippon investments being history is there hope of rebuilding upon deepening economic stagnancy? We need permanency on this score thus the fitting view that we invest in our own people, specifically, small business ventures.

Income

Per federal law, poverty income is between $15-K to $42-K per year. Most employees here are in the $15-$18-K income category especially on Tinian and Rota. But all must endure the high cost of living in this archipelago.

With such lowly income, puzzling how families have endured imposition of inadequacies while struggling to meet basic needs. Perhaps our savings grace has been and still is our powerful culture of “sharing” among ourselves.

The island culture of filial generosity eases hardship through thick and thin. Yes, sharing half a chicken could feed a family of 16. I know for I’ve been a beneficiary of it many years ago.

Take income beyond nutritional needs into other basic obligations and it instantly fizzles. We’re fortunate for Medicare and Medicaid lest most would simply stay home (though seriously ill) rather than chance embarrassment unable to pay for the high cost of healthcare.

The answer is in a healthy economy where new money provides for business operations and employment.

Taxes

A plan to impose (by simple transfer of additional taxes) on “foreign-owned” small business here is both racist and humiliatingly immature. Each works the clock to generate revenue. Why saddle them with more than their share of taxes by sparing locals from the same obligation?

Moreover, why the brave assertion that it’s better “them” than “our own people”. Since when is taxation limited to ethnicity? It’s a racist and bigoted plan that is a perfect invitation for an embarrassing litigation. Nah! All must pay taxes regardless. Ethnic targeting on taxes is simply unconstitutional!

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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