Mounting economic uncertainty

Delta Air Lines’ decision to pull out servicing the Saipan-Narita route in the near-term spells economic devastation for the NMI. It would instantly see a huge financial plunge in the tourism industry here. It translates into far less revenue down the stretch.

While the decision is tethered from a business standpoint, we’ve also had our share of adolescent decisions in recent past dealing with other airlines. PanAm came and left. Continental became Micronesia’s designated airline. It also left when we refused granting it some land for hangars that, in turn, would have made Saipan the hub of its operations.

Japan Airlines left, too, including the sale of its Hotel Nikko. The exit of these Nippon investments translated into the exit of some $5 billion to $7 billion in money that was once recycled locally. Now Delta Air Lines has decided to fold its wings in the near future.

This is one time in our developmental history that the elected elite must converge in a single room to prepare and appeal to Delta Air Lines’ headquarters in Atlanta. If we treat this with the usual indifference and apathy, then prepare to deal with persistent bankruptcy of the worse order up ahead.

CW issue: Meanwhile, the NMI is in Washington, D.C. for a last ditch effort to salvage the CW program. Understood the economic devastation if this provision of USPL 110-229 isn’t extended. But it ran into pointed questions from troubling labor issues to plans to rectify ascertaining jobs for U.S. citizens.

Realistically, however, we’re up against national Republicans determined to fix the national mess on immigration that came from the reckless use of what’s known as chain migration and visa lottery. The commission of heinous crimes by foreign felons against law-abiding citizens across the country has envenomed and cemented the determination for total exclusion of foreign workers. Trump is equally bullish to do the same with H-4 visa workers.

This brings to mind the outmigration of our very own nearly 10 years ago when they intuitively sensed the lack of economic opportunities at home. More than 4,000 to 5,000 of them evacuated from the islands. When windows of opportunities are shut, it means major familial decisions in terms of their future. The lack of opportunities here forced our very own leaving island.

Our people are looking for “home” endowed with good education and health systems and a decent community to raise their children. These seem missing today right here at home. Is there even faint hope that we would see more lasting investments that would lift all boats in the harbor? Or would current deteriorating conditions persist?

Be that as it may, it would be to our benefit to request that immigration control is restored in the interest of lasting economic sustainability. Persistent denial means our future is definitely headed into the sea of uncertainty where bankruptcy turns into daily game of hopelessness.

Bad chew: Trump’s address highlights his grand success cutting income taxes, corporate taxes, and creating millions of jobs for most who needed meaningful employment, among others.

Behind the grandeur of returning government to the people, he also mandated rebuilding our country’s basic infrastructure. His goal is to allow revival of local economies, the cost of rebuilding is an 80-20 split, with 80 percent for the states and 23 percent by the feds.

Bring it home and this is what it means: Say we need $100 million to rebuild our power generation facility. It means we pay for $80 million of it while Uncle Sam the $20 million. Must have fiscally responsible people at the helm.

Earhart: Before her plane went down, Earhart was in intermittent contact with Itasca, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter. Her last radio transmission was that her plane was running out of fuel and running “north and south.” Eventually, it went down about 100 miles from Howland Island.

The Coast Guard did search and rescue to no avail and so on July 19 the search was called off and the pair declared lost at sea. Obviously, Earhart never made it to Saipan. There were 16 other female aviators around the same time. Who did the witnesses from here see? Was it Earhart’s ghost? Or is this a telepathic phenomenon of sort otherwise known as gossip?

Do you still want a monument to honor someone who was never here in the first place? Did she do anything of significance for the indigenous people in absentia? Now, would you still spend $200,000 in taxpayers’ contributions for a ghostly monument?

Moreover, most families here muddle along the swamp of poverty income level and below, literally struggling to make ends meet. Hearing their voice and expressions is difficult having grown up in the abyss of poverty myself.

Have you seen our people who can’t even afford the 20 percent deductible at CHC? Utility has been increased twice already, price of basic goods and gasoline have gone up consistently while there’s an impending plan to raise hospital fees beyond 100 percent. These, while family income remained the same for over 20 years now?

Why would you expropriate taxpayers’ hard-earned tax contribution on an irrelevant monument of a navigator whose airplane came down near Howland Island in 1937? What is the obsession in this project? Suspect spouts that it would spur economic activity? Would Asians pay to visit the NMI just to see an “out of thin air” claim that Earhart was here? Do they care who’s Earhart?

How about learning to pay tribute to our own set of pioneers in the establishment of our first democratic government after the war, e.g., Gregorio Sablan (Kilili); Elias P. Sablan, Ignacio M. Benavente, William S. Reyes, Dr. Jose Torres, Jose Fitial, Antonio Rogolifoi, and Henry Hofschneider, among others? Where’s the pride and dignity of the indigenous people?

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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