Si Yuus Maase` Eloy


Our appointment came on the same day, though different roles. He took care of finance while I took charge of indigenous affairs. We took our oath of office together. It was the beginning of a long personal and professional relationship in and out of government.

The highlight of his career was the instrumental role he played in the transition from the old TTG to what is now the Federated States of Micronesia and Republics of Belau and Marshalls. It also took him to many hearings before the U.S. Congress in Washington.

It was also during his charge as head of finance that we announced to the U.S. Congress in the early ’90s to discontinue any further grant funds from Washington. This took Congress by surprise, for no other territory has done this except the CNMI.

Inos was a master of figures and knew exactly how to juggle funds for the local government. But he also knew as well as others in key fiscal positions that the Retirement Fund would bankrupt the CNMI in no time. It has happened and has sent us limping every which way imaginable. I may not have been enamored by some of his decisions but I also remember the fighter in the ring.

At the personal level, he was a very compassionate friend who’d offer help to people that matter to him. He generously shared what he had, from income to the fish he caught in the open waters. Enjoyed the many discussions we had where he demonstrated his analytical forte and thoroughness.

Eloy fought his own battles and has succeeded where others have failed. Even in his health condition he fought like an old warrior in hopes of returning home soon. He’s back home to rest in peace in an archipelago and its people he loves so dearly. Si Yuus Maase` Ñao for the wonderful and unique memories we’ve shared for many years. Our prayers! Kuñao JR and family.

Destiny: It’s up to us!
Over the last year I’ve listened intently to the sentiments of our people young and old on important issues that matter to them. The young are revolting, itching and radically incensed to inflict change on sitting ducks or incumbents.

The discontent is fueled by the stagnant economy where salaries haven’t moved an inch for 15 long years. It suffocates decent opportunities at home.

Then there’s news that corruption has spread like wildfire among the elected elite who now cater to their rich donors trashing their constituents.

It is also rumored that two firms are ready to bankroll the re-election of their legislative lapdogs to protect their turf: single casino license and tax-free protection under the current law.

Appalling the air of superiority, lack of self-reflection and the view as being sacrosanct (too important to be bothered) and beyond scrutiny. Nah! We’d scrutinize them this midterm election.

This agenda piqued my curiosity why would the two firms interfere with NMI politics, the sole preserve of the indigenous people. If the firms were committed to improving the wellbeing of our people as good corporate citizens then they would have done two things from the outset:

1). Surrender the single license deal to grant another firm the same privilege to rake in more revenues or money.

2). Volunteer some 10-12 percent in annual taxes from backroom counting to shore up more funds for the local coffers. But these never happened which is a tale of their motives so distant from a commitment to making lasting difference here. Well, they are into gambling and are playing their cards right at this juncture. It has succeeded controlling the elected elite in its game plan.

It’s obvious the hidden grand scheme behind a plan of hiring locals as their front people conditioned to spread good tidings of the industry. This agenda will crumble! So we’re supposed to abandon over 500 years of indigenous heritage that held us together all these years? Is instant gratification a more lasting approach over the true and tried time-honored traditions of these isles?

The voice of our young people reveals a commitment to principled and high-minded ideals ready to take over the reins of leadership. They know they are permanent stakeholders on this journey and are imbued with the right values and attitudes to meet the challenges of the future with humility and responsibility. They know that innovation and initiative are central issues in their vision to allow the NMI to realize its potential.

One of the more scholarly young college graduate related that he knows the competitive advantage of a “clean, efficient, rational, and predictable or stable government.” He said it ensures that government makes firm decisions so that there can be certainty and stability in the affairs of the people. “What’s happening today is a design for permanent derailment of our livelihood and this isn’t my vision of the future of our people.” He’s optimistic of the opportunity to reunite “so we decide our destiny.”

Guardrails abandoned
Over the last 37 years we’ve made progress in the concept of self-government. Public officials that took the exit had to deal with a temporary setting or federal penitentiary.

We assumed the attitude that the NMI, under its self-government, is a fully sovereign state. The feds came in and said “nah”.

In 1979 politicians wanted a program for political reasons as to ignore critical review of its fiscal implications. It is now gift-wrapped in some $789 million in unfunded liability.

We were warned of the abuse of foreign workers but chose to ignore it. The feds came in and took over control of immigration.

We further learned we’re not sovereign when the feds came in and investigated the Tinian Dynasty for unpaid taxes.

Our people, via a plebiscite, shot down casino twice. Our men of wisdom on imperial Capital Hill decided otherwise.

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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