Investment stability

Has the NMI lost its attraction as a stable investment venue? Isn’t this our economic ace in the hole? Whatever may be your answer, how do you assess the obscure though steady investment contraction crumbling quietly downstairs?

Have we done anything responsibly to address the IPI Bloomberg mess, fines leveled against employers to the tune of $13.9 million, and serious oversight issues raised in the recent Murkowski U.S. Senate hearing?

Is the apparent local despondence the triggering mechanism eroding lasting investments in the NMI?

Reiterating: Didn’t the Murkowski U.S. Senate hearing score the NMI for violation of laws, money laundering, and predatory hiring practices? Did the Bloomberg spill do us any good about collusion in paradise? Isn’t it another black eye when the U.S. Labor fined four companies here some $13.9 million for failing employees?

The huge fine of $13.9 million hit four companies here involved in building the Best Sunshine hotel—reportedly an aspect of wider investigation—had investors quizzing what led to these fines. The huge sum doesn’t bode well strengthening the NMI as an investment venue. Is IPI really innocent of labor violations?

While we may temporarily rely on tourism as our holy grail, even this sector’s survival is highly suspect, given impending contraction of events beyond our control. Did you ever peek into this issue to assess resetting buttons?

The latest assault is the possible termination of the parole program for Russia and China. The two markets alone comprise 40 percent of the tourism industry here. Troubling what could simply pop out of the Trump administration.

Then Delta Air Lines, basically the regional airline of the islands, is slated to leave in May this year, completely shutting off travel between Japan and the NMI. It would translate into far less Nippon visitors too! You pile this loss and the percentage of total drop in tourism increases!

This was preceded by the exit of Nippon investments to the tune of about $5 billion to $7 billion in recent past. Now we’re panting for air in the deep blue to hold on to our last paddle while our sail is uselessly shredded.

Fiscal posture: Intuitively, it’s hard ignoring the more than $1.6 billion cumulative deficit of the NMI. As a fiscal conservative, the loose attitude on fiscal responsibility spells trouble ahead.

We may be making headway in revenue generation, but is it a steady and sturdy foundation to carry us through stormy rainy days ahead?

The cumulative debt places a heavy burden on taxpayers on a per capita basis. In brief, while we collect $1, we still owe $1.55!

The obvious lack of fiscal responsibility or leadership triggers this fear among those who’ve seen the hardship of austerity measures families had to endure in recent past. We have every right to keep the boys adhering to some sense of fiscal responsibility.

If we don’t rein it in we would be saddling our children with tons of debts even before they begin their first day at work after high school or college.

Lawmakers: It is comically humiliating when astute legislators miss their bus ride while standing at the station. Are they into scholarly discussion of sort ignoring the departure of the last bus out of town? Or was it another babble session?

Obviously, Da Boysis aren’t necessarily conversant with the concept of “supremacy of laws” inherent in the Agreement. It simply says the Constitution, treaties and laws of the U.S. applicable here are the supreme laws of the NMI, per U.S.P.L. 94-241.

Section 902 addresses the appointment of special representatives to work on refinement of relationship between the NMI and U.S. This is done very 10 years that includes representatives from both sides of the Pacific. Therefore, the creation of the new political status commission doesn’t have any legal standing other than to soothe bloated ego.

Section 101 says it all: surrender of sovereignty. It is vital that you read the Agreement to see and understand what it says, not what you think it says that it didn’t say. You need to read up too on the concept of supremacy of laws to put some meaningful and purposeful perspective on your adolescent crafting of laws!

Recalled Candido Taman advancing what he’s coined as “guarded sovereignty” of the NMI on Isla 63 on Guam. No such creature, pal. Again, Section 101 renders such lame view baseless and the definiens “surrender” doesn’t even require initial apprehension. Since 1975, the NMI became a subserviency of the U.S.!

Refinement: People speak of “dissatisfaction” and the desire to work on “refinement” of relations. What is it that you wish to see refined? Do you wish to end the food stamps program, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, housing assistance and all federal grants for CHC, PSS, DPS and other agencies? Do you have sufficient financial capability to back-up these programs now funded by our national government?

If you wish to push for an entirely different status, did you review Section 101 to see if it permits an adolescent agenda? Is this potshot desire backed by a public mandate? In other words, have you educated our people about your dreamed-up option and has a plebiscite been taken to secure their voice?

Per the Murkowski U.S. Senate committee hearing, we were direly negligent of “oversight issues” or matters ignored that are vital to fostering strong governance. Obviously there’s a lot of room to rein in maturity, right? Is your dissatisfaction one of humiliation for being reminded to grow up so you begin fostering measures that would pave the pathway to strong governance?

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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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