Of colossal greed

There’s a standing order from local GOP leadership to avoid talking about the 80 percent or else villagers may find out about it before November.

Appalling the Johnny-Come-Lately reaction from a self-inflicted placement of an A-bomb equivalent explosive on the campaign trail. And they did the royal thing too: walk right into the beast!

But then it’s a village mouthwash now, you know, the 80 percent salary increase padding their wallets. They approved it then wanted to deny it when the cat is already out of the bag, so to speak. In their rush they even ignored common sense!

The most egregious aspect of the decision is the open trashing of more than 14,000 employees literally struggling in familial hardship stuck in poverty and below income levels. Is this cause for political arrogance and greed?

Elite: But you rendered a difference of $30,000 between the lowest paid civil servant and your new salary as elected elite. So therein also is established a two-tiered pay system: elected elite and non-elite!

Gone: The 5 percent breadcrumbs you hurled against civil servants didn’t even land in their pockets. The increase in gasoline and utilities gobbled it up before it made it home. Notice the difference of 75 percent where you padded your wallets hoping we won’t see the inequality in income so wide apart?

Guvuna: Raffy must justify the 80 percent salary increase approved by his Republican colleagues to pad their wallets. A miracle PR work is needed to ease this mess if at all. How do you convince 14-thousand plus civil servants that the five percent trash you gave them is enough to meet family needs?

Choir: If anything, it’s a bad season to be an incumbent Republican. Nah! The music is completely out of tune and no matter how hard you try it would still remain discordant. The NMI needs an entirely new choir!

Shortfall: Reportedly, both lone public hospitals in Guam and the NMI have serious fiscal issues: GMH $67 million, CHC some $13 million.

The Guam Legislature is out to approve a measure to cover a portion of the fiscal shortfall while the NMI legislature is still dazed, talking.

Both hospitals is the “go to” health facility in the two jurisdictions. A dire situation though I’m optimistic money would be found to ensure they stay afloat. It’s a serious issue and there’s no time for empty posturing either.

Commitment: “A nagging anxiety is coursing through the region that Washington lacks a coherent long-term strategy for countering what many in Asia fear is an era of increasing Chinese economic dominance and military expansionism.”

“People are concerned that as China rises, the U.S. won’t continue to want to be present both militarily and economically,” said Satu Limaye, a top analyst with the Hawaii-based East-West Center. It recently held a conference in Singapore that delved into America’s future in the region and published in the Washington Times.

U.S. activity has been expanding, from President Obama’s “pivot to Asia” right through Mr. Trump’s increased concentration on China and North Korea over the past 18 months.

“But we’ve given mixed signals and people don’t know how to read mixed signals,” said Mr. Limaye, who heads the center’s Washington office.

Healthy: The national economy is robust! In fact, there are more jobs today than there are people to fill them. It’s a good sign where people get the opportunity to provide for their families on a healthy basis too.

Ours is suspiciously healthy but hardly robust. When you break down the so-called economic “improvement” to its common denominator you ask the single most vital question: did it improve the family income and quality of life of our people?

Alternative: We’ve stayed the course embracing whatever hits the sands of these isles in tourism. Fortunately, visitors from Japan, China, and other nearby destinations have fueled the fluctuating gains and losses of the industry.

Suffice it to say, have we done anything to develop complimentary sectors to support tourism here? This reminds one how the food stamps policy was established in ways that supports farming and fishing. Shouldn’t the same policy be done to improve upon the two sectors tying it into the industry?

Now, is there such a thing as “overtourism?” I raised the question after reading an article of a certain beach in Thailand that had to be closed because there are simply too many tourists. It was standing room on the beach or shallow water. Can the island handle 30K visitors a day for several days? What if it happens?

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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