Where’s the golden egg?


We heard of the arrival of the metaphorical golden eggs. Bureaucrats call it “economic improvement.” There’s joy in the land that the prized eggs would be shared among our people. A timely arrival for the holidays!

Browbeaten villagers heard about it, unsure what the discordant message is all about. They finally received their share of it in the form of balut or spoiled eggs. Woe!

There were questions raised whatever happened to the golden egg trumpeted by the secretary of Finance that was celebrated with a victory lap. Villagers were hopeful they would have some “disposable” income for the holidays. But it looks like they’re skipped, once more.

Most villagers expected that the new revenue be spread far and wide, lifting all boats. But this wasn’t the case either beyond a victory lap that soundly excluded them.

The secretary of Finance must have used the report “at face value” without verification. Is she familiar with the criteria used in the preparation of the material? Did the report say anything else like leaving some in the kitty for that rainy day?

Did the secretary ever review Moodys’ most recent economic assessment of the CNMI? Was its assessment a rosy picture of investments here or was it loaded with serious warnings? What was our rating? Wasn’t it two layers below junk bonds? Does it matter to the elected elite?

Arrogance: What turned off other investors from flocking to the CNMI? Wasn’t it the quiet ouster of Nippon and South Korean investments? Wasn’t this political arrogance woefully adolescent and shortsighted?

It highlights local “instability” on investment policy. Ignoring one or choosing a favorite at the expense of others is a fatal and self-destructing decision. We toyed with instability to our own demise! Why do you think there’s a huge drop in Japanese visitors? It’s headed to the Aloha State! Hell, even as an islander love Hawaii from its weather to the pleasantries of the Aloha Spirit!

Efficiency: Given scarce resources, is there economic efficiency or is the term a foreign lingo here among government managers legally authorized to dispose of local funds?

Was the disposition of the $400,000 for the MV Luta an efficient expenditure of taxpayers’ contribution? Was there an appropriation for it as required by the Constitution?

Wasn’t the ship arrested and lawsuits filed against it in federal court? Did the people of Rota benefit from the deal or was it only the evil genius behind the illegally expropriated public funds and his family? Explain to taxpayers the economic efficiency of your disposition of the $400,000! Ignorance of the law is no excuse, you know!

Is the improvement sufficient to handle lack of funds at CHC, NMI debts with CUC, PSS and the likely termination of Medicaid (Obamacare) sometime in the near-term and other obligations? The hospital needs a myriad of things from in-house medication to PJs for patients. CUC is broke and the NMI must settle its debts forthwith before services sputter to death. Now, this merits a victory lap too at least by way of honest acknowledgment!

Most folks in government aren’t talking in forthright fashion but have whispered, “Shsssh! Don’t loud!’ alluding to the “iffy” nature of the so-called “improvement.” Healthcare is under serious rationing while over 500 families need help putting a roof over their heads. Sad!

Apparently the distribution of the golden eggs is limited to the elite while most others in the villages had to settle for spoiled eggs or balut! Well, at least the golden eggs are confined to be figments of our imagination for Christmas!

Lawsuit: The taxpayers’ case against Biktot Hokog and the MV Luta on the expropriation of $400,000 awaits judicial decision. At issue is the violation of laws, specifically, the constitutional mandate on legislative appropriation of all public funds and the Open Government Act (OGA).

On either side, Hokog must answer violation of laws. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse! Now, recouping or paying back the $400,000 is a given and how sad it would be if the secretary of Finance turns into the single chopping block in the process.

Hokog violated the OGA for pushing taxpayers’ money that benefited his family. Next, he completely ignored constitutional mandate on the appropriation of public funds. It’s jungle rules over a government of laws.

Larissa Larson as secretary of Finance has unilateral authority to deny disbursement of the $400,000 to Hokog and family. If she has any inkling of the concept of separation of powers then it should have been clear from the outset that the Executive Branch doesn’t appropriate funds via verbal instructions. Appropriation of funds is a legislative authority!

Reunification: Several mayors between the NMI and Guahan are seeking for a non-binding vote on reunification of the two jurisdictions. Historically, the vote in the late ’60s was oceans apart on issues:

NMI wants economic uplift while Guam slammed such aspiration with bitter memory of our role killing Chamorus during World War II. End of discussion!

Cultural or racial similarities weren’t reasons for reunification exercise then. Why should this be the case today? It was one bitter confrontation or experience.

Now, is the prevailing condescending attitude against northerners (Gi Saipan) a cultural forte from our southern neighbor? Would this aid in the discussion or would it not prepare it for more explosive and useless exchange? Understood the bitterness from the war experience. But the attitude that you’re a higher CHamoru is stretching it, haf` mohon? Hombre iya gachuñg, “mamarehu” hit ha` tautau!

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.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.