Admit it

July 19, 2011

Fitial at National Governor's Conference
photo by NGA
Anyone knows that an addict cannot be helped until they admit that they have a problem and will accept responsibility for it. Likewise, the problems in the CNMI will never change until the leaders will admit the problems and take responsibility for them.  The Marianas Variety published one of Governor's press releases on the National Governor's Conference. Once again the governor was quoted as blaming the federal government for the CNMI's problems:
The governor-led discussion, titled “Governors’ Perspectives on Trade and Investment,” featured governors’ perspectives on opportunities and obstacles to promoting trade and investment in the states. The plenary session included guests Lew W. Cramer, president and CEO, World Trade Center Utah; J. Keith Crisco, secretary, North Carolina Department of Commerce; Jeff Frazier, senior director, Internet Business Solutions Group, Cisco Systems, Inc.; and Fred Lampropoulos, CEO, Merit Medical. 
. . . For his part, Fitial spoke of the economic plight affecting the people of the Northern Marianas due in large part by the implementation of federal policies in the commonwealth.

“The people of the CNMI enjoyed once booming economy that was ravaged by the exodus of the garment industry following the [liberalization of trade rules] and the further damage to the economy brought about by the enactment of [the federalization law],” said Fitial.

Fitial also touted the CNMI’s tax structure, which is considered attractive to mainland investors. Upon learning of the tax structure, Lampropoulos announced that he would like to visit the islands to consider expanding his business ventures.
The federal government repeatedly warned the CNMI to prepare for the implementation of the new trade laws and agreements. However, instead of being proactive and seeking investors or focusing on building the economy, the CNMI leaders ignored the warnings and acted like it was a big surprise when the garment factories left. As is the CNMI's practice, the leaders blamed the federal government.

Like an addict, Governor Fitial refuses to admit the causes of the problem and the fact that the CNMI is responsibility for creating them.  Take his testimony at the July 15th hearing as an example. It was so full of untruths and spin that it was hard to even pick out any legitimate arguments.

Fitial and other prominent politicians were responsible for bringing in tens of thousands of foreign contract workers, for allowing routine wage theft and other abuses, and for making the indigenous people a minority in their homeland. These same leaders continually whine that the federal government is somehow to blame for the problems associated with the CNMI's nonresidents.  These same leaders that created the dysfunctional CNMI labor and immigration program complain that they would become a minority in their land if the legal, long-term workers were granted U.S. status. The statement is absurd since they themselves brought the foreigners to the CNMI and continued to bring more even after warnings from the federal government. They created a problematic labor and immigration system and fought to maintain and are still fighting to take control back today. They already are a minority due to their own actions! Just like addicts they continue to blame others for their problem and refuse to accept any responsibility.

It is interesting that Fitial attacked the federal government then continued on to say how great the federal tax breaks are. That is correct – taxpayers like myself fund the CNMI while the residents pay no federal income taxes. Fitial and other prominent CNMI officials attack federal law and policy, but at the same time have their hands out begging for more of our federal tax dollars.

By the way, the man that Fitial wants to lure to the CNMI, Fred Lampropoulos, the CEO of Merit Medical, is a Republican politician who used his own millions to finance his losing campaigns for Utah governor in 2004 and for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Some say that fact that he has been married four times and divorced three times led to his defeats.

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