Misguided proposals


Occasionally, we would see the reintroduction of a myopic proposal to establish a political status commission, supposedly to review our relationship with our national government.

It’s an unrealistic legislation given the historical fact behind the agreement. In 1975 we voted and approved the Covenant Agreement by over 78 percent. In 1976, President Ford signed it into law (U.S. Public Law 94-241) following congressional approval.

The concept of supremacy of laws was briefly explained under the agreement that begins with the supremacy of the U.S. Constitution, descending to federal laws then local laws.

A glimpse into likely violation of mutual consent provisions under the agreement by the feds didn’t produce one justifying formal discussion. In fact, concerns, real or perceived, are on our side of the Pacific Divide.

If perchance you prefer yelling from the fence because Kilili is a political nemesis, then it takes mature statesmanship to extend the olive branch so we begin talking among ourselves.

Aren’t issues relating to self-government largely self-inflicted, like the deepening fiscal and economic mess today? Have we done anything in stride to inflict real change?

A mechanism was established under the 902 talks to review our relationship every 10 years. Someone dropped the ball and has since been left in the filth of neglect. It was intended as a protocol to strengthen our relationship. Nothing ever happened up that alley.

Did we diligently guard against the closure of the $1.2-billion apparel industry? Did we lift our finger to prevent the exodus of major Japanese investments in recent past? Or did we simply sleepwalk it all? Obviously we failed vision, leadership and genuine plans.

So who was negligent that investments took an exodus elsewhere? Uncle Sam? The inadequacies are from within. Deal with it!

‘Be patient!’

After nearly a decade of Republican administration, we came back last election reconfirming the desire to “let it be.” And we did by nearly 58 percent.

But as the wheels of our livelihood begin to come off or disengage, we ask in obvious despair and ignorance: What’s happening? The administration has already admonished Best Sunshine to “be patient.” Well, we wanted this administration to handle matters of state. So you too must learn to “be patient!”

The acceleration of the deepening economic mess is such that its effects are felt in every household Marianas-wide. No amount of media appeasement or spin would derail the superiority of the hardship villagers have to endure these days. Agree?

Appalling that a legislator would ask the Saipan Chamber of Commerce to help reduce the price of basic goods obviously exacerbated by stagnancy in salaries and wages for nearly a decade. No breezy stuff either. We live and die by our decisions. It was your decision. Live with it come hell or high water!

Time for introspection

The problems at home remind me of a joke where a Russian citizen was given a chance to meet with the late Premier Khrushchev. He kicked the desk, ranted and raged, declaring, “All our problems is the fault of President JF Kennedy!” Well, he’d be sent to the Gulag if he accuses Khrushchev of negligence.

Perhaps it is most fitting at this juncture in our less than sterling period in our developmental history to engage introspective review of our decisions, indecisions and obvious lack of vision, leadership and genuine plans to move the livelihood of our people forward. After 36 years of alleged self-government we’ve amassed a huge deficit in the billions of dollars.

Have we ever looked into the consequences of D.C.’s growing “administrative state”? Is Kilili anywhere near D.C.? How about words of wisdom on this score, sir?

We had a seven-year period of guaranteed funding for basic infrastructure purposely earmarked to give us the opportunity to foster and enhance economic prosperity. Where did we go wrong? Is it in shortcomings in fiscal disposition? Isn’t it in the fact that we never had a genuine plan to follow as a blueprint so we refine growth with constructive policies as we move forward?

Did we ever study why Asia became the geographic center of investments?

Take a cursory review of the cumulative deficit of the CNMI over the next 10 years and mirror it against current revenue generation or even generous budgetary projections. There’s hardly any room for optimism or hope up that alley.

With a sense of humility, upholding time-honored culturally tested ethical foundation, we could begin organizing to address and resolve issues we’ve handled with grand failure. Must use creative thinking and a genuine plan of action, commitment to measurable success in order to build a healthy economy. After all, taxpayers deserve a government that respects and protects their time and money.

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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