We, the people of the CNMI, need to thank DFS. We need to appreciate DFS. We need to commend DFS. They have been an outstanding community member and local employer on Saipan. They have trained and recruited countless fresh high school graduates and groomed them into becoming seasoned retail managers. DFS has, in short, been the best community member and partner that the Marianas could have ever hoped for.
But while we need to thank, appreciate, and commend DFS, we cannot let our gratitude interfere with our responsibility to follow proper procedure in awarding a master concession at the Saipan Airport. CPA must work for the benefit of the people, and must diligently seek to get the Commonwealth’s people the best deal, even if this means spurning a valued friend and community member such as DFS.
CPA must be impartial, and maximize the Commonwealth’s earnings in these difficult economic times. Being a government official sometimes means making tough decisions and turning away a good friend. In fact, it’s a difficult decision that many government officials have to make daily on our small islands: you often deal in an official capacity with a good friend, a close relative, or the uncle who always gave you ice candy when you were little, and now you have to stop yourself from giving them favorable treatment in your job as a government officer. It’s not easy. But it’s the right thing to do, for the Commonwealth, for the rule of law, and for your fellow citizens.
Let’s thank DFS for all they’ve done for us. I support an official government resolution, or perhaps even a day of commemoration, to recognize DFS’ contributions to the CNMI’s economy. But while we recognize DFS, let’s do things the right way for the airport concession. Let’s implore CPA to follow the rules, and seek the best deal for the Commonwealth, even if that means putting the concession up for bid.
Diego C. Blanco
As Lito Village, Saipan