Resolving the CW issue

The continuing debate on CW workers should be put into perspective with the purposeful goal of resolving it once and for all.

The pathway is for the CNMI to adopt the prevailing wage of all industries across the country. This should be accompanied by training programs set up by the U.S. Department of Labor in concert with vocational institutions here. At the end of the training the USDOL issues certification to trainees. This certification is a lifetime ticket to jobs.

The plus side to this recommendation is the training opportunity and certification. It grants trainees the chance to really master their trades while earning higher income as plumbers, mechanics, electricians, among others. The stamp of certification is as good as gold wherever you go across the country. So is it here or elsewhere where opportunities abound to earn a decent living in a meaningful vocation.

I’ve seen this program implemented in Guam (apprenticeship) and how certified employees eventually moved to Hawaii or across the country and never had to worry about going jobless. They are trained and certified in their technical or trade of specialty.

The elected elite must critically look at this as a pathway to grant the people you represent real opportunities to move ahead. By the end of the term, most would have left food stamps and other federal assistance. What a way to grant employees a dignified exit to abject poverty income level and poor living conditions.

Illustration: I’ve randomly picked some industries to show average annual salaries paid or on an hourly basis. Average annual salaries: in casinos, casino shift manager, $50,478; sous chef, $41,111; security manager, $44,410; food and beverage supervisor, $35,725; executive chef, $61,629; casino host, $33,584; internal auditor, $48,599; in education: elementary school teacher, $44,017; high school teacher, $48,744;, administrative assistant, $35,325.

In health: registered nurse, $27.85 per hour; certified nurse assistant, $11.96 per hour; medical assistant, $14.57 per hour; licensed practical nurse, $18.68 per hour; in private banks: private banker, $76,618; branch manager, $49,338; portfolio manager, $104,415; loan officer, $45,912; credit analyst, $49,115; financial analyst, $55,955. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

Da canoe: Perhaps the cool tropical breeze has sent us into that long yawning session as to ignore basic issues affecting life on the islands. Thus, we often miss our canoe ride into brighter tomorrows.

We never paid attention to the transition provision of U.S. Public Law 110-229, convinced that taller-than-Abe-Lincoln speeches before congressional committees would grant us another reprieve. It isn’t happening, people! We missed our canoe ride by failing to do the right thing by doing it right.

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For years we go in and out to reduce the bicameral legislature into a unicameral system with at least eight members. It’s an excess baggage blindly paid for by taxpayers. It died in the pages of the newspapers. We missed our canoe ride emplacing stronger measures to strengthen our governmental institutions.

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We thought casino is the savior to resolving the financial needs of the NMI. Well, casino would devolve into a component of the tourism industry, as competition from without derails the magical revenue we thought would be forthcoming. Did we miss our canoe ride of reality check?

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As substantive issues pile up and treated with casual ignorance, you wonder where our canoe is headed in the midst of financial headwinds ahead. The hospital is insufficiently funded while PSS scrambles to secure its 25 percent. The rest must settle for crumbs under the table of ill-fated political disposition. Shouldn’t we send Da Boysis on their own canoe of adios this November?

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The elected elite quickly approved their 80-percent salary increase. They’re so greedy they simply ignored giving us taxpayers a ride on their 80-percent canoe. Well, we found our rusty tin boats to meet them upon their return this November. Eh, they’re laughing nervously these days.

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The half-cocked elected elite wrongly translate their political power to mean they’re in charge of matters of state. Sure, they may be “leading” the troops, hardly wary that their role is hardly “leadership” but a wildebeest fiesta! So you’ve missed the canoe of leadership, di ba? Well, we could give you a ride on our canoe right into the sunset of oblivion around November of this year.

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I still couldn’t figure out the new legislative mathematical formula of 156 percent plus 29 percent equals 80 percent in salary hike. Woe! Maybe it is “we the people” who missed our canoe ride, therefore we won’t be smiling when heading to the bank, right?

Intersection: It is known locally as Puntan Muchot (Micro Beach) that once served as an ancestral fishing community. It is also the landing ground of fishermen in the olden days that go out some 500 miles for big fish.

With a large catch, they’d stop by Managaha to clean out the fish before heading into Puntan Muchot. The catch was subsequently distributed to people in the community and nearby villages. It is seafood that supplemented local farming through the years.

It was this very reason that I joined a lawsuit in the mid-’60s to prevent the building of what’s today Hyatt Regency and preserve it for posterity. If we had succeeded it would have meant the complete reservation of the American Memorial Park for the indigenous people. We lost the case! Troubling the quiet acquiescence of our people.

The area now interconnects tradition and cronyism. When I drive into Puntan Muchot at night, I see the huge glow of businesses that light up the evening sky. Behind me was once the seat of tradition where the sun has set in the horizon. Hmmm! The quirk of fate had me quizzing: is tradition really history now?

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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