Test of character


Ever wondered if local pride is genuine and appropriately founded on a powerful sense of integrity or is it as crispy and superficial as marshland reed?

We take insults on trivial stuff and dismiss greater insults that bring humiliation to the very core of our soul. It seems the usurpation of our personal integrity is fine!

I’ve looked critically into dark corner streets where the collision between principle and principal must have clashed. Remember?

For years, Republican big heads have silently fired people for their political beliefs. Out the window goes the civil service system that protects civil servants. This anomalous decision permits enlargement of political hires for it is easier keeping the flock in check as obedient slaves.

Along the way, we see the emergence of young people (20-30 years old) teeming with energy, inspiration and bright ideas to improve upon a fossilized system by breaking off the usual political servility block. Yet, they are reminded by their parents (those fired over the last 30 years) to take extra precaution when airing dissenting political views.

Said a young, lively female student: “If this isn’t right, then why am I being a victim of my own views that seek to improve upon fiat or dictatorship that was the hallmark of a former Republican governor here?” Said another bold student, “We may be financially poor but integrity is our currency! Let’s take back what’s ours!”

Soudelor: One tough customer!

Indeed, when a major disaster hits, people look up toward imperial Capital Hill for guidance. There was nothing up that alley but dead silence for two long days. In fact, one was on vacation while the other searches for the definition of the term “leadership” from the manual of administration. No worries, we’re a very forgiving people, even to those who failed us royally too.

To say we’d be stronger than ever before is good pep-rally fodder. Saying it bravely doesn’t make it so and not when measured against fast depleting pocketbooks of households everywhere. Leadership isn’t trained, it’s an innate or natural ability—either you have it or you don’t! Is there such strange contraption anywhere near imperial Capital Hill?

It’s good to be frank about issues with a sense of civility. We owe it to the folks who wanted to hear “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” You see, when you tell the truth you never have to return to explain yourself once more. Yep!

Didn’t impeached, convicted and commuted former governor Benigno Fitial sign a declaration in September 2010 on disaster preparedness? Did he take the document with him to Manila, too? People never take nature’s wraths for granted. Got whooped, yeah? We were never ready for anything at all and did nothing but memorialize it.

Casino subsidy?

With the shutter of the Tinian Dynasty, such tidings would reverberate throughout the casino gambling industry on a global basis. This came as another firm in the Bahamas declared bankruptcy in an effort to complete its $3.2-billion integrated resort.

There’s the tug-of-war with the feds on taxes, then stiff orders from the gaming commission on Tinian that the firm submits certain information and the consequence of total disintegration. Should be a classic example of uncertainty in an industry that offers one thing and one thing only: uncertainty! And herein we placed our future at the feet of investment speculators?

Yet, in the midst of all the unintended confusion and lack of purpose we still don’t have a plan to use as a guideline to grow the economy on an organized purposeful basis. It’s ad hoc while singing “kera sera, sera.” And we’re lovin’ it too, you know, the sleepwalking troops sashaying down to the park in Puntan Muchot!

‘We was ready!’ The interagency folks were ready for instructions the morning of Aug. 2nd. They spent the next four hours surfing the net while waiting for instructions from somewhere near Mt. Tagpochau. Our salute for their readiness and our condolences for the top brass who decided to sing an old tune, “Are you sleeping…?”

“We was cool!” A student of government was asked if “commutation” is a given in the NMI for the commission of crimes in high office. His answer was a pensive, “I don’t think so, sir!” He was shown the headlines in the local papers that confirmed commutation. Stunned, he asked, “I thought we was cool!” I thought so too!

We wasn’t there! It was last Sunday afternoon when grocery stores between Koblerville and Garapan were selling melted ice cream. It’s watery, yet it was still on sale. Perhaps the owners didn’t know the fridge isn’t cold enough to keep the ice cream frozen. But still it is the fiduciary duty of the Division of Public Health to get its people out there and guard the public from any chancy affair with food poisoning. It’s duty versus a picnic with friends.

Dead! The feds used to subsidize Continental Airlines’ daily flights into the NMI. Whether there are three or 30 passengers on board headed to Guam, the 727 jet liner takes off on time, every time. When it returns with only three passengers, eh, no worries, someone’s paying for the subsidy.

Then one day the subsidy ended, including utility surcharge once paid for by the CNMI government. They passed it back to consumers. We still can’t figure out why the airline or power generation plant must operate like a business. It’s a business operation, isn’t it? I have yet to hear technology that they’re now using seawater for fuel! With creepy fiscal mess ahead, what’s in our future?

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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