October 15, 2010

Both the Marianas Variety and Saipan Tribune covered the debate between the candidates for the U.S. Congressional Delegate seat. Some of the comments published in the Marianas Variety were telling.  There seems to be a attitude among some of the candidates and some residents that the CNMI has deserved more from the U.S. Congress and U.S. taxpayers then they have gotten.  I both agree and disagree.

The U.S. Congress should have passed the federalization law when President Reagan pointed out the flaws in the system, not decades later.  The U.S. Congress failed.  Each year that went by without passing a law meant that more foreign workers and CNMI residents were allowed to suffer under an un-American system.  It is regrettable that so many unscrupulous members of Congress were bought off by CNMI-hired lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the inevitable was delayed.

I agree that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security needs to get the regulations out and should have done so much earlier.  Members of Congress, and not just Congressman Sablan, have met with DHS officials, sent formal letters, and communicated with the secretary and still there are no regulations.  It's obvious that fault lies with the DHS, and the delay is unrelated to who holds the position of U.S. Delegate.

Here is one comment published in the Marianas Variety that is typical of others that have been made concerning other MV stories:
-43 #22 serv.bay October 15, 2010 07:03PM
I don't think anybody is asking the US to bow down to the CNMI.

The more accurate statement is that the US must fulfill its contract to the CNMI.

If you have a contract to rent out your house for $500 per month, and your tenant pays only $250, are you to simply sit idly and accept it as "good enough"?

Kilili is humbled by other states giving us a fracion of their money? Kilili needs to be angry that we aren't getting more help to fulfill the covenant. Not just financially, but also intellectually. How about the US send us some experts to help us right the wrongs that we have created. No need to re-invent the wheel; if there are others out there (and there are) that know how to tackle the problems that we have in the CNMI, are we to not allow them to help us?
The truth is that the Covenant has been honored.  The population of the CNMI is estimated to be about 24,000 to 30,000 residents (including those under age 18) and about 21,000 non-residents.  No member of Congress is going to divide the pie based on an equal amount for every state and territory.  Of course, population and needs will be considered.

Any comments complaining that the CNMI does not receive enough money from the Federal Government seem even more offensive considering that the residents of the CNMI do not pay federal taxes, and because so many of the leaders are openly hostile and defiant to the U.S. Government and federal law.

The CNMI has received over $3 billion in U.S. tax dollars since the Covenant was signed in 1976. Still some CNMI politicians and residents complain that they want more and that their "standard of living" has not improved enough.

Over the years, there have been reports that some of the federal money has been misused.  A recent audit of the grant to the Arts Council reveals just that. Do you remember when Governor Fitial complained that he had to be accountable for money that came from the U.S. Department of Interior, so he refused a $420,000 grant? Any federal money channeled to the CNMI must be monitored by federal auditors who are on-island to educate and assist with the proper execution of federal grants.

Why don't the good people of the CNMI create some local revenue to supplement federal funds for needed services and programs?  There is a certain dignity and power that comes with paying your own way.

The other part of the comment: "How about the US send us some experts to help us right the wrongs that we have created. No need to re-invent the wheel; if there are others out there (and there are) that know how to tackle the problems that we have in the CNMI, are we to not allow them to help us?"

That is an encouraging sentiment.  Still we should remember that there have been "experts" sent to the CNMI.  Too often their advice has been rejected.  Advice given to CNMI leaders has been misinterpreted as criticism, rejected (like the DOI Report), and/or ignored (like Reagan's advice concerning the foreign workers.)

The best thing that could happen to the CNMI would be for the leaders to stop portraying the Federal Government as an enemy, lose the "us against them" mentality, and learn to work together for the good of all the people in the CNMI.

3 comments:

The Saipan Blogger said...

Good point on linking the Interior report to US expertise!

Anonymous said...

When the federal government ceases hostilities against the CNMI (unilateral takeover legislation) and withdraws from occupied territory (the airport), I will gladly stop thinking of it as the enemy.

It's not your money! said...

Anon 6:04

When you get your head out of your ass, you will stop thinking of any entity that gives you tens of millions of dollars every year as an enemy. When you are confronted with a real enemy, as opposed to someone who just doesn't give in to your bullying and whining, you will quickly recognize that the United States is not an enemy, but the best friend you have ever had, will ever have, or even deserve.