Need for foreign workers


The lack of a timely response from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the needs of both the CNMI and Guam for foreign workers boggles the mind.

Major projects are either rolling out the runway or are in the wings ready to take off. Unfortunately, the dead silence of DHS leaves both jurisdictions quizzing how to deal with it when the labor part of the equation is missing.

The indecision raises the disquieting question whether the feds have decided against conventional warfare expansion in favor of technologically advanced nuclear missile capability. The latter makes a lot of sense but does it mean abandoning base expansion on Guam and the NMI?

The rogue country successfully fired an ICBM in recent days. It looks like Trump and allied countries can’t see into the tight space of diplomacy and couldn’t figure out how to keep King Jong Un` from firing another of his toy bullets. But he knows the U.S. could eliminate him like it did Osama Bin Laden.

It piques my curiosity why the silence when the U.S. Congress has already approved more funds for the military buildup on Guam. Does DHS know something it isn’t sharing with us? Is the buildup for the NMI moot now?

We get a bit edgy in that the NMI waited for more than three decades to see military presence kick-start the local economy on Tinian. It hasn’t happened and DoD isn’t necessarily upfront with its actual plans. It now seems a plan of quiet deferment in perpetuity. If there’s no plan at all, then say so. This allows leadership to dig into alternative plans of investments. It’s our livelihood!

Evacuation: The riddle of meeting local labor requirements with U.S. citizens turns into a continuing conundrum. For instance, nearly eight years ago, more than 3,000 of our people evacuated the islands in search of opportunities abroad.

The lack of opportunities is apparent and evacuation was the only way out. Even homesteaders simply left everything behind! Local numbers took a nosedive! The relocation of families continues. It would translate into a serious inadequacy meeting current and future business expansion in terms of labor needs.

The lack of opportunities at home has metastasized among scholars and families here and abroad. Most would be humming and wondering about green, green grass of home once they’ve settled down in their new place of opportunity across the country.

The obvious indecision by DHS has sent everybody on this side of the Pacific to the deep valley of incoherence trying to second-guess an answer. But there aren’t any forthcoming, is there?

Landownership: The NMDC would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision on the John Davis case—protection of his right to vote—including land issues here.

But it was disappointed when the AG intercepted, saying the group’s attorney doesn’t have any standing to bring the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court for review. It argues that it (AG’s Office) is the only constitutionally appointed chief legal counsel of the NMI for all government instrumentalities and public corporations.

It raises pertinent query whether the AG has stepped in to represent the NMDC case. Or is there a likely agreeable approach to ensure the due process rights of the group isn’t denied permanently?

Meanwhile, the House must return to revisit Article 3, Section 11 on how the Legislature could amend constitutional provisions. I think it requires a joint session with three-fourths of the members of each house present and voting. It’s procedural oversight.

But it’s encouraging the spirit and conviction to protect indigenous landownership recognized by international law. The issue, though, is arguable from both a cultural and individual ownership standpoint.

I don’t know how far would the U.S. Supreme Court would go to protect the rational argument that the Covenant is a “political” document and not race-based. I know the history in the surrender of NMI sovereignty in exchange for control of our land. But would it meet constitutional muster with the U.S. Supreme Court? It remains to be seen.

Payday Friday? Working on an island economy is woefully difficult. It begins with the inevitable premise: lack of marketable resources though seawater rich.

Perhaps this explains why nobody wants to sit down to explore the issue beyond business as usual or conventional wisdom. So the exit is rather quick: embrace what’s known in economics as “temperamental” growth and don’t even look back. This seems the answer for the “solutions driven” team.

Reminds one a familiar chorus known as “indigenous rights.” We’re inundated with indigenous government agencies where all financial resources are spent on bureaucratic salaries. None for programs! Occasionally, you hear vacuous intramural speeches that feed the ego, nothing else.

You take them to task on their performance and they instantly wither with tails tucked between their legs. There’s simply the lack of focus, faith and conviction to do it right. Is it really that difficult using your cranial facilities or black and white television sets? It boggles the mind! And so we seem to have robots in government walking around asking, “Is today payday Friday?”

Perennial issues: As the NMI hints at the gubernatorial contest next year, it would be interesting to see what issues have turned into masticated pulp—chewing heedlessly—where articulation fails and substituted with tons of biba.”

Would we hear new ideas or would the discussion instantly sink into perennial favorites picked because though they did nothing about it, it’s hip regurgitating the same old chew? Some of the old narratives would have to be handed their retirement. Let’s see the power of ideas!

Chamorro: I learned from Magoo that St. Peter isn’t fond of Chamorros. He heard him saying, “You answer ‘I know’ whenever someone says something, including most everything you don’t know!” The genealogical association is an instant ticket to hell!

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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