There was a GOP “change of command” last weekend at the Garapan Central Park. It’s basically the passing of the baton between two exhausted, if not washed out, politicians: Juan N. Babauta and Benigno R. Fitial. It was quietly hailed as a solidarity gathering. But it seems, judging from reactions from incumbent Republicans, it’s more of an implosion.
Thus, the silent agenda and meeting of the “we few” backfired and out the window goes political realignment and solidarity. The goal of unity turns out to be more problematic. It is now the very source of disunity. Incumbents would fight back to secure the integrity of their party. Either that or they’d bolt with their integrity intact. They’re not ready for a willful ruination of the GOP’s foundation by a smiling titular head whose forte seems to be search-and-destroy.
Metaphorically, when Fitial exited the Covenant Party, his big splash into the GOP swimming pool emptied every ounce of water in it. So he’s swimming in an empty pool, yelling that the rest join him do the backstroke. It didn’t draw much accolade other than a quiet mockery from GOP and Covenant followers. Asked a friend, “Can two failures make a success?”
An incumbent asked what’s the motive? Simple: It’s the perpetuation of the role of tired leadership guarding their turf before it melts into total irrelevancy. Definitely they wish to continue telling us what to do, convinced we would still ask how high do we jump. No mas! Too, the electorate is a lot more sophisticated than meets the eye of irrelevant politicians.
The shift is aimed at expanding the GOP through the grassroots in the villages. It’s a woefully tall order when mirrored against the performance of this administration on the economic front. Everything has skyrocketed while income remains flat or reduced, not to mention joblessness ballooning daily. This could easily trigger major reduction in force. In short, most families are literally struggling to make ends meet. No more time to listen to worn-out politicians regurgitating the failed promise of “better times.”
Incumbents like Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero remains a shoo-in in the next midterm election, having demonstrated sure-footed disposition on issues of substance. He’s level-headed, analytical, and definitely a man of integrity. I respect people who think through issues, listen to their people and work issues out from there. Other incumbents are formidable folks too and would return without GOP blessing. So the change of command netted dispersion of the troops. Unity?
Investments from nearby Asia
Once rock solid foreign investments here is history! It has been flushed out the floodgates by several billion dollars. We look around dazed at our failure to nurture them into permanent partnership. You wonder if there’s anything else out in the horizon or is it all history now. Investments matter to me, fully wary that it’s our lifeline to fostering a healthy economy. Here’s what I’ve found that isn’t necessarily encouraging:
As mentioned earlier, Japan focuses on investments near and in the Republic of China. She has investments elsewhere but the China market now takes her lead interest.
China has something else up it sleeves. The dominant feature of her outward investments was a rush to South America, particularly Brazil where her main interest is in energy and power sectors. She’s also purchased huge timberland for harvesting to meet her needs and demands in international markets.
Japan has her own issues with health and pension funds for her fast aging population. In the end, she would have to resolve it to avert paying more on these two items over what it rakes in.
Obamacare has been scrapped after a provision that says the secretary of health should implement it if he or she could guarantee that it would stay solvent for the next 75 years. Nah, it would kick up health care cost by the billions of dollars. Quite a tall order!
Then there’s the projected slow economic growth of the global economy. It would concurrently drag investments for peripheral or out-of-the-way venues like the CNMI into no man’s land. So how do we rebuild the burned bridge of investments? Does it matter to you?
Now, any investor eyeing the Northern Islands would definitely watch how the local government handles emplacement of basic infrastructure between Sariguan, Alamagan, Pagan and Agrighan. All need airport and seaport facilities, water, power, roads, schools, health clinics and a ship to move residents in the event of another major volcanic eruption.
It would require several billion dollars on basic infrastructure or CIP funds for up north. How do we meet this financial obligation? It remains to be seen and for now the notion of providing sufficient energy to all of Micronesia with geothermal energy from the Northern Islands turns into a wonderful pipe dream too.
Resettlement of the islands up north would be a costly venture. The local government-through DPL-must survey and conduct topography maps, emplace water, power, roads and other collateral facilities. It also includes the establishment of a health clinic, schools, and an emergency ship (available 24/7) to move residents out of harm’s way when the two southern volcanoes on Pagan erupt.
Then there’s the obvious need for regular shipping services to the island to ferry food and supplies. It can be done but it takes money and tons of it to do it right from the outset. But mirrored against the loss of tons of revenues in recent past, this too becomes a wonderful pipe dream. Sing it, “let it be, let it be, whisper words of…let it be.”