Every adult has experienced that “if I or they had only listened moment” and I’m sure we have all made a mistake because we didn’t listen—it’s part of life’s lessons we are supposed to learn. Well, I have literally experience a litany of times when the powers-that-be in the CNMI didn’t listen to some of the sound and even proven advice that I have offered over the past two decades. I have had students who didn’t listen but the people with the hardest heads are adults. In fact, ever since the beginning of philosophy and the practice of education there have always been those who just refuse to listen to good advice. On many occasions in the history of the world these poor listeners have even represented the majority of a society. Just think about how the majority allowed the existence of things such as slavery, women suffrage & inequality, dictatorships, the superior race ideology and a host of other illogical ideologies that challenged and defied philosophy and logic driven by the facts based on the simple principles of right, wrong, freedoms, equality and what is best for all in a society. The challenges of our democracy majority rule is that it is the best we can do as humans who will never all agree.
I have tried over the years to reach the minds and hearts of people while sharing the wisdom of philosophy, logic, history, facts, and just plain old common sense but they didn’t listen—citizens and our leaders. I even tried making predictions that all came true over time and still they didn’t listen! I already know one of the biggest reasons why they didn’t listen is because I am not local which is really being prejudice and ignorant to think that a nonlocal can’t contribute or lead in our society. There is also the “Ambrose Politics” as some politicians like to pretend they are interested and try to use me and some even avoid me, which proves they are not honorable. There are even those at PSS and on the Hill who will act like they never read my letters and would rather see our children and the entire CNMI suffer before allowing me or my idea as a black man to make a major contribution to the CNMI—the true pathetic prejudice politics of some on the Hill. I am just thankful there are a handful of honorable people on the Hill and every voter should put them to the test like I have done over the years so you will know who to vote for as political die-hearts are also another group of Ambrose haters. Then there is the largest group of people in the CNMI who actually never read the paper nor watch the news so I can only assume ignorance is their barrier to being fully informed on issues, which is why the informed citizens have a duty to say it loud and spread the news and truth.
I can’t reach everyone from the newspaper and I really don’t care about those who don’t want to listen because of their prejudice or their politics as time will always be on my side—genuine truths can never be completely obliterated just a delayed reality. I even wrote a series of articles on the many I told you so predictions. which I want to remind readers of just to show you how much they didn’t listen. There are many more cases of they didn’t listen but I will share just a few to make my point:
1. I started in the ’90s promoting the research that proved PSS needed to be more aggressive and change its approach to teaching and preserving the culture—now PSS is desperate just to even hire a bilingual teacher with no efforts to preserve the entire cultures.
2. As a board member I tried to help teachers and PSS with the No Child Left Be-hind (NCLB) Act and now PSS can’t find enough teachers and is even hiring teachers they fired for not passing PRAXIS under NCLB Act.
3. In 2001, I conducted research in Mexico for the U.S. Department of Education, which revealed the World Trade Agreement termination would cause our garment industry to be pulling up stakes by Dec. 31 of 2005. I warned the people and our leaders that we must do something to replace the exit of the garment industry but again they didn’t listen. FYI readers, we are only now 10 years later starting to come out of the economic downturn that was created by the exit of the garment industry, which began in Jan of 2006.
4. I warned about the loss of the Japanese tourist market back in 2008 and more recently with the sale of the Marianas Resort that I alone protested publicly. We allowed the sale of the last Japanese hotel to a Chinese investor virtually starting to put the last nails in the coffin of our Japanese tourists market.
5. I even warned that the CNMI people would lose $80-$100 million by allowing BSI to purchase the Marianas Resort so the people would have two leased properties developed instead of one but again no one listened and the people got screwed royally.
6. I fought against those who didn’t want a ferry at Sugar Dock but look at Sugar Dock now and the fact that we don’t have a ferry at all now.
7. Speaking of ferries, I tried to help the CNMI with acquiring a ferry that was virtually free and it even came with $2 million in subsidies for training people, maintenance, and fuel consumption over the first two years. It should be obvious now it was a stupid mistake not to take advantage of this gift from the U.S. Navy.
8. I warned that the Legislature under Gov. Fital’s request and with the help of Retirement board chair Sixto were figuratively killing the Retirement Fund but again no one listened or took the advice I was giving to stop what I called “A Robbery at the Fund” in my letter to the editor. Retirees and those who claimed to represent retirees were some of the biggest political suckers among voters even attacking me a fellow retiree (how dumb can one be). Now the Fund is literally on its deathbed.
8. The feds and I both warned our leaders to increase wages and to stop bringing in so many alien workers back in the ’90s (10 to 15 years ago) as our leaders couldn’t have understood the totality of what they were doing. The feds and I warned that locals were being forced to migrate to the mainland depleting the local workforce and that the sovereignty of the CNMI would slowly be transferred to the Filipino community over time because they significantly outnumber locals—a true reality that may not be reversible because trends haven’t changed and they don’t listen! But we must still commend and thank the Filipino community for all their contributions to the CNMI, regardless.
We need as many locals as we can get and the CW issue is priority one but there is still no real plan to make sure all locals are gainfully employed and there is no plan to repatriate the locals from the mainland just pleas for CWs which is sad and ill-responsible, so will they listen and create a real plan as “the failure to plan is a plan for failure” for true. I am also pushing for legalization now, which has proven to be a social and economic solution to challenges in America—but will they listen. So I must ask does Ambrose care more about the local people than our leaders, which is a question I hope readers will also ask our leaders.
The lack of listening due to prejudice, ignorance or politics has clearly resulted in failures as I have been right on the overwhelming majority of the issues I have promoted and time has even proven I was right, just wrong about some of the politicians I tried to help. But my mother once told me “she was going to make something out of me whether I wanted her to or not,” so I will continue to try and help the people of the CNMI regardless if some don’t want me to or not. Most people who really know me know that I’m trying to do what is right, just and proper to make the CNMI a better place to live and work—it’s called citizenry because I love the CNMI. I don’t expect any thankyous but I hope it is clear that I was never the enemy, just a mainlander who wanted to help our children and the people and contribute to the CNMI by offering real solutions to the ailments of our society but they just didn’t listen.
Ambrose M. Bennett