Response from Secretary of Labor

August 24, 2008

CNMI Labor Secretary San Nicolas responded in vague language to specific questions from Reps. Tina Sablan and Edward Salas.  The Saipan Tribune covered the response:
Reps. Tina Sablan (I-Saipan) and Edward Salas (R-Saipan) in an Aug. 8 letter to Labor raised a host of issues linked to the department's policies, such as problems with administrative orders that go unpaid, fears that officials have violated workers' due process rights and allegations Deputy Sec. Cinta Kaipat has a bias against foreigners.

In an Aug. 22 letter, San Nicolas addressed each subject the lawmakers put forth, saying Labor's practices comply with the law and that the department is doing its duty.

“I believe that the department's policies and procedures are sound, consistent with applicable law, fair to all parties, and of benefit to the community,” San Nicolas wrote.

Most offensive was his response to allegations that Deputy Secretary Cinta Kaipat has made unprofessional and biased comments about the guest workers, which clearly she has. The secretary said:
It is “completely unjustified to charge the Deputy Secretary with any kind of bias in the performance of her duties and even more specifically with a bias against foreign national workers,” he wrote. “She does her job in a way that is fair to all concerned; but even [Sablan and Salas] cannot completely ignore the fact even while the department strives to diligently enforce the law, there are some individuals who try to circumvent the law.”
However, as advocates, legislators and attorneys have pointed out, Kaipat has taken an anti-worker pro-employer stand publicly, using generalizations and untrue stereo-types to make her point.

It appears the letter is more department propaganda and spin that some suggest was penned by Siemer their ghost writer, policy-maker, hearing officer, administrator, attorney "volunteer."

The legislature needs to have an oversight hearing to get to the bottom of the issues and get some real answers to questions raised by legislators, advocates and attorneys in recent months.