Strange flue pandemic


Like most folks, I also have my moments of darkness when courage fades like objects on a rearview mirror. The growth of corruption is woefully troubling! I’d reset buttons clinging to hope that could get me to the other side, calm and ready to begin anew.

As I reviewed materials recently, there’s a flu-like pandemic in the violation of who controls the purse in the disposition of public funds.

Recently, a federal court slammed funding Obamacare ($175 billion) money it said was never appropriated by the U.S. Congress. It returned the power of the purse to Capitol Hill. It doesn’t belong in Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s the violation of the principle of separation of powers, specifically, control of the purse!

This is exactly the crux of the lawsuit I filed against the NMI in the misappropriation of $400,000 for the Luta Mermaid firm, a Biktot Hokog family business, owner of the MV Luta. The authority to appropriate public funds rests with the Legislature not legislative delegations. Must uphold the law of the land—NMI Constitution—sir!

It’s an interesting omission of constitutional law that showed kleptocrats ignoring the rule of law. No sir! If you can’t fulfill fiduciary duty resign right here and now! You’ve done nothing but erode public trust in your ill-fated disposition! With incompetency, what’s in our future?

The blossoming of the Age of Impunity here had me quizzing if the geniuses on the hill even understand the concept of a republican form of government. Oh, I’m not talking local Republican Party loaded with woefully humiliating toxic performances.

Reverse osmosis: Quick fixes seem the forte of this administration hailing especially from alleged Lt. Gov. Biktot Hokog. He thinks he’s done with the $400K illegal disposition he now dispatches his consultant to make an offer for a reverse osmosis water project that would cost some $160 million.

Reportedly, “Robert Toelkes, who said he is a consultant for Hocog but is not under contract…was representing the lieutenant governor’s plan to address the water issue on Saipan. He led the presentation.

“Toelkes is also the president of Financial Solutions Group and International Bridge Corp., a company which filed for bankruptcy last year in the midst of its project to rebuild the John F. Kennedy High School in Guam and maintain its facilities for the next 25 years.

“The Capital Projects Finance Authority or CaPFA, which was being proposed for the CNMI to enter into an agreement with, was also involved in the JFK project in Guam. CaPFA described itself as “nominal owner” of the high school.

That the project runs upwards of $160 million requires that we insist on credentials. It means we need records that factually confirm that the company has had a successful record on RO somewhere we could inspect for confirmation. Political connection leaves nothing but suspicion on cronyism and corruption! No Mas!

Rudderless: As a citizen, I had anticipated real leadership to slide into the fold addressing important issues directly related to the quality of life at home. It’s all propaganda! Can’t find it in family purses, the real gauge of economic growth of sort.

But there seems to be disorientation, uncertainty, and hopelessness taking a ride in speculative information. The energy situation is at the brink of crashing into daily brownouts. Water is equally at the edge of becoming scarce basic need, as projected revenue appears a bit too optimistic and would fall flat on its face. It sounds like roiling temblors that would eventually implode or erupt in the near term.

The troubling issues require Da Big Boys to get off their saddles so we could see eye-to-eye on this score. Maybe they’d even find out we’re still here trying to figure out if the wagon could take another trip. The loss of trust and hope has just about ebbed out at this point!

Bombs: Golden age makes ample time to take a slow walk down memory lane just to take a glimpse at changes that have taken place here over the years. On both side of the aisle, there are pluses and minuses that send us probing for real answers.

I call it “stealth cultural bombs”—adopting everything that steadily uprooted the very essence of the indigenous people—food, language, education, sense of community, unity, a sense of self, peace and tranquility, among others. We watched deculturation untangle what’s ours while wary of our cultural tradition as the foundation of our existence. We notice too that something’s amiss.

The disorientation even had us arguing among ourselves, specifically, to what extend do we embrace neo-colonialism versus a vision of recapturing what’s truly ours. Indeed, the torch of leadership has been conveyed to us. We ask: how do we deal with it and where do we begin?

It’s a difficult issue that merits full discussion by availing of the right information. Sure, it’s a tough cookie given the adaptation of basically everything that isn’t reflective of indigenous tradition. There shouldn’t be fear however discussing the options ahead.

Be that as it may, the interim answer is in the education of our people.

One family: Mr. Ambrose Bennett wants the lawsuit against the NMI dropped because Luta is family. Not only did he miss the point but ignores the dire need to foster stronger government of laws and governance. To embrace violation of constitutional law isn’t my idea of a government of laws, sir! Control of the purse is solely the authority of the legislature!

Interesting your take that obviates the query: What did you teach your students about good citizenship? Doesn’t it include abiding by the laws of the NMI? Why would you shirk from this benchmark now?

Hokog’s family business is the only beneficiary of taxpayers’ tax money, an illegal disposition of public funds! Now, if we are to follow your misguided compassion then it means all pedophiles and child sex abusers should be forgiven because they are family too! Really?

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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