Of yesteryears


Heard the melody Yesterday by the four lads from Liverpool. It brought memories of yesteryears, difficult as it may be. But we navigated it successfully.

The pessimistic mood shifted when my grandson chimed, Oh Happy Day! It was a timely song that set the tone for optimism.

At any rate, the infantile task (in the ’70s) was met with blind faith and conviction, commitment, and hard work by pioneer leadership. It was the pursuit of an historic event—the establishment of self-rule on the islands—established in 1978.

It was the formative years that brought with it its set of challenges that included establishing a presidential system of government here. As difficult the task may be, admirable the sense of humor the folks employed to get the job done.

With self-government in place, we also have a non-voting delegate in Washington. While the privilege of citizenship isn’t complete in view of our geographical location it raises the question: When would this be fully realized to give meaning to the principle of rights as citizens?

I also ponder when would our representation in D.C. be granted full role or need we become a state to secure it?

Moreover, when would we be able to vote in U.S. presidential elections? Isn’t citizenship sufficient for this purpose? So ours is a half-cocked arrangement?

There was the problematic issue of the “unified budget” concept, specifically its definition. Whichever was taken would have worked out but it became a stubborn political contest.

The administration wanted its package considered intact while the Legislature wants to employ its constitutional authority to dispose of it as it sees fit. Legitimate.

When major policies were set and approved the bulk of the work shifts to refinement. I know these folks on a personal basis and it is most admirable the serious demeanor with which they disposed of fiduciary duty. They delivered on state obligations!

The NMI doesn’t need a 29-member bicameral legislative system. But this was the only way the two smaller senatorial districts could retain some sense of “power” in the deliberation of fundamental policies.

After basic policies have been approved the role of a bicameral legislative system devolved into a luxurious financial imposition. What other fundamental policies do we need at this point beyond imprudent spending?

In fact, the NMI has a shortfall of $63 million per a report by the secretary of Finance. It can’t even meet the 25 percent constitutionally mandated funds for PSS.

So it’s a tale of a shortfall that could translate into prolonged deficit spending. If not, bankruptcy over the long haul. Domestic disposition would be put through a test.

If the NMI were a private industry it would have been bankrupt decades ago. It was our aspiration for more government that piled up into what’s now a dysfunctional entity.

After four decades we still maintain municipal governments all over the archipelago. We also have the 29-member Legislature, the administration and its Cabinet people, and the Judiciary. The vacuous and persistent agenda is more government!

Meanwhile, policy is supposed to improve the quality of life of the people. But with nearly 15,000 employees here earning poverty income it isn’t an issue we could claim with pride, is it? Moreover, it is far removed from fiduciary duty. So why keep your people earning poverty income wages and salaries?

Isn’t a desk audit warranted now to determine just how many employees do we need in government? As it is there’s a greater chance that most are lost in the purpose of their employment.

But they won’t complain, hiding conveniently behind the bulletproof cover of biweekly paychecks they receive in taxes we pay.

Taxpayers should insist on a desk audit of the entire government so we see with clarity how much of the excess baggage could be hauled to the landfill in Marpi. It’s money that could pay for upgraded services and higher pay for deserving employees!

When Magoo and I are working on a project there’s the sense of ease and tons of laughter throughout the day.

When I ask if he’s done with a certain assignment he’d reply, “Not yet, already.” He means it’s done “already.” At least I made the effort to understand his lingo. Remember what language entails?

I got so taken by his expression that it became part of my answer when asked about anything. My doctor asked if I’ve taken my medication. I said “Not yet, already.” He handed me another set to take. I had to explain my warped sentence. Dumb!

There seems to be some anxiousness in the assertion of cultural loss. Is it real or perceptual?

Has Chamoru culture been defined? Could you share your findings? With it, what did we lose over the years? Are the losses real or perceptual? Interesting the latter assertion usually gift-wrapped in heedless talk!

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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