The AG is correct and the question of imminent domain is undeniable. The key to this issue was covered by “with payment of compensation,” so the issue is, or should be, strictly about the money.

Working local citizens into a frenzy in public hearings, waving posters, petitions, and wearing T-shirts to show solidarity may be futile and divert attention from the key issue, the money, whether that is an unintentional consequence or contrived.
The best interests of CNMI citizens is to properly calculate the value and the revenue our people should be compensated, if the military does in fact decide to bomb Pagan, which I unequivocally oppose for many reasons.

We can easily price Pagan using a standard real estate a formula.

And there is a critical matter long past due to be considered.

The Covenant specifically promised the people here would have a similar standard of living or quality of life as residents of the U.S. mainland. That has clearly not been achieved. Our residents’ average income compared to the lowest state is shameful, and our children lack the educational opportunities, basic housing, and medical specialities afforded to other citizens.

Former President Bush once authorized an additional $400 billion to the war effort late in his second term and 1 percent of that is far more than CNMI residents have received in the Commonwealth’s history.

The fair market value of a 40-year lease for Pagan, significantly discounted due to lack of infrastructure, is at least $2.8 billion. And between China, Russia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Germany, England, or the U.S., I am sure that figure could be realized on an open international market.

Ron Hodges
Puerto Rico, Saipan

Ron Hodges Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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