‘Not yet, already!’


The wellbeing of our people—neighbors and all—is common knowledge on these isles. People work regular jobs giving it their all to bring home the bacon, so to speak.

In spite of it all family income remains woefully low, mirrored against the skyrocketing cost of living here. I feel for our people who quietly swallow the unsolicited hardship they have to endure from the scourge of “poverty” income.

In brief, we know each other so well, including income. And so if you’re spending over $100K per year when you’re only making $18K, wouldn’t your spending spree attract attention?

The national median income is $65,000 per year. What’s it like in the NMI or are we anywhere close to this?

This is especially suspect and egregiously problematic if you’re a politician, meaning someone is paying for your expenses you can’t pay for with your regular income. Am I making sense? And please don’t tell me it’s founded on friendship. Really?

I’ve seen how corrupt corporate types have pushed their agenda with local politicians that simply destroyed careers. Unless the proposal is conveyed to villagers in open fashion with full explanation it would be rejected. Do you have problems being upfront with issues of mutual interest?

You see, proposals of substance require the expertise of experienced public relations people. Let them handle difficult hurdles to get the plan understood and accepted. Without it the plan, as good as it may be, suffers misperception and subsequent rejection.

A front-page news article says the NMI owes some $45 million in payables to vendors and others. Gee! That’s a lot of dough to scrounge up to settle outside debts.

It translates into guarding deficit spending in the process that now turns into reduction in “quarterly” allotments. It happens when the economy goes south and all must endure what’s left in the coffers.

Basic needs
The phrase sounds familiar, especially for thousands of families here who really need additional monetary help at home.

We’re fortunate to have Medicare and Medicaid handling health needs for the elderly and poor.

Just the fact that nearly 15,000 employees are earning poverty income is a tale and challenge in itself. Is so-called leadership on its toes to improve such condition to upgrade the quality of family life?

Or are they still snoozing on the wheels singing, “I have bent so long I thought it was up.” Is there a plan to improve this issue beyond indifference, arrogance, despondence and ignorance? The tide waits for no man!

Long, long ago
Recalled simple lessons in grammar school about eating three square meals a day. It included lots of strange fruits like apples, oranges, pears and grapes, none of which are grown here.

Coming from homes literally struggling in poverty, I wish my teachers had taken the time to find out if their students’ families have the money to buy simple meals. Call it sensitivity!

Every after well-meaning lecture on food, I head home for lunch to munch on boiled banana, taro or breadfruit, salt, and faucet water. It’s a never-ending puzzle—lecture of healthy meals versus reality at home—that I dealt with daily. After a while I got used to ignoring all that I was hearing!

Items I’m supposed to eat are in the veggies and fruits section in large grocery stores. Even the store doesn’t grow them. All are imported from the U.S. and elsewhere. It’s the obvious fallacy promoting what students should eat that they never had at home.

Our livelihood descended with a shift in administration from the Navy to Interior that severely lowered minimum wage from $.75 per hour to $.16 per hour. It was one hellish hole for families all over.

The personal dilemma never ceases mulling what the teacher said about healthy food and fruits. It triggers my imagination what it would be like eating well as encouraged by well-meaning instructors.

Finally, what they wanted us to eat aren’t a given in family homes. I felt wounded aspiring for items my parents can’t afford. It’s time to check with the reality outside the four walls of the classroom. It must be the notion of promoting ideal family meals that is way beyond what most families could afford. Sensitivity?

The mini-tourism industry is thriving and has seemingly lifted most boats in the harbor. But what if there’s a major shift in, e.g., visitor arrival from Japan and China? Better yet, what have we done to improve upon mini-tourism here?

It’s very unsettling the queries noted herein if something should adversely derail what we have today. I don’t have an answer or perhaps Da Boysis on Da Hill have better perception of what lies ahead thus the obvious lack of any realistic planning. Is this it?

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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