NMI oversight issues

At a recent Senate Energy Committee meeting the NMI came under fire for overlooking what members call “oversight” issues. It pertains to matters vital to building strong self-government.

It included predatory hiring and violation of laws. The first was spread out in a Bloomberg story—an interview with jobless Chinese workers—brought in with the promise of jobs. Between 300 and 500 came in and couldn’t figure out who their employer was. Most had to be returned home. U.S. Labor came in and fined four firms here some $14 million for violations of law.

Then came the Reprisk report recapping poor employment conditions; occupational health and safety issues; human rights abuses and corporate complicity; and supply chain issues as their top environmental, social, and governance issues, also known as ESG issues.

This week a local group is protesting against too many Chinese workers that denied them employment opportunities to bring home the bacon, so to speak. I salute their efforts to bring attention to unnecessary displacement from job opportunities right here at home!

Also learned that the FBI has begun investigating IPI (Best Sunshine) revealed through a memo to all its employees per a KSPN news story. I encourage the feds to ram it to the hilt to slam the brakes of alleged money laundering and other schemes to ruin and displace the role of governance here. Your intervention gives us hope that our government is factually a government of laws!

Moreover, it goes to show that the NMI needs to work on the competency of its managers and employees. The idea of political hire is fine but it has become the perfect pathway to avoid educating and training our very own. More skills acquisition is a must to grant our local workforce real know-how on the job!

As the NMI seeks extension of the visa or CW program, which sunsets next year, an AP story says the issue has met skids in Congress. This setback is based on the $14 million fined foreign firms by the U.S. Department of Labor. I think the issues raised point to our inadequacies fulfilling our end of responsibility in, yes, self-government.

Babauta-Sablan: Former governor Juan N. Babauta and Rita DLG. Sablan have declared their candidacy for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. The tandem’s announcement grants voters an option to ruffle up issues with a fine-toothed comb before November.

Babauta has wide experience in government, having worked between here and Washington. He’s ready to reset the pathway for the islands to boost the local economy beyond the single-engine tourism industry. He wants to strengthen local self-government over a federal takeover because of our inadequacies. He said it can be done!

Preliminarily, the heavy plus side to this tandem is the emergence of a woman for the second seat—the first ever in NMI politics. Sablan is a former commissioner of education and has had the time to engage parents and villagers alike in PTA meetings.

She’s been able to connect with the simple folks at home, speaking their lingo. It’s a powerful asset that can’t be discounted, given that the educational estate embraces the entire archipelago. The team would have a greater chance establishing and cementing village networks all over.

Review: Former speaker Oscar C. Rasa was among invited guests this week in a meeting with officials and the new political status commission.

Grateful to see that he generously shared his superb academic credentials and professional experience in governmental affairs. I’ve deferred to his vision, wisdom and analytical acuity on current issues. He’s given well-read answers on matters where I needed fair review and clarity before taking a position. Where we differ we part in respectful fashion. It’s always a pleasure engaging his educated views and intellectual acuity that come from a fully rounded training in education.

We are in agreement with Delegate Kilili taking a position on the violation of citizens’ rights under the flag. Could geography trump a citizen’s rights? Why a non-voting delegate when the issue is representation of citizens?

Understood that representation is limited under the U.S. Constitution to the 50 states. But isn’t it time the intent of the founding fathers to render justice to all citizens is met full measure? Isn’t it time that this arcane provision be amended so it is inclusive of all citizens?

Finally, the NMI came under the flag when it surrendered sovereignty under Covenant Section 101. With a functioning intellect one would ensure solid tethering to basic documents. Otherwise, it would be failed construct from A to Z.

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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