August 23, 2012
It is amazing that as the CNMI crumbles Governor Fitial continues his three week trip. Any competent leader would never have left; any responsible leader would have returned immediately after hearing news of the critical state of the CHC. Not Fitial. He continues his non-critical junket, while critical problems have reached the tipping point.
The governor is now headed to the National Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida. It is odd that Fitial is even a delegate since he left the Republican Party to form his own Covenant Party in order to get elected. When it was more opportune he slithered out of the Covenant Party to sink his fangs into the CNMI Republican Party once again.
The ethically-challenged governor was not given a place on Romney's Asian and Pacific Islanders for Romney Community. Still the GOP may have a difficult time keeping the spotlight off Fitial who considers himself a "friend" of many national Republicans. Fitial will be chasing around the convention hall seeking photo opts, for sure. We should not forget that citizens and advocates have notified the major media outlets to be on the lookout for the governor with the most scandalous and outrageous schemes in any administration on U.S. soil. Maybe Fitial's presence at this convention will catch the attention of federal authorities and inspire them to get moving on long overdue investigations into the governor's many questionable acts.
Senate President Paul Manglona was quoted by the Marianas Variety as saying, "Republicans should know that the governor has total disregard for government transparency and no respect for the law.” He also said Fitial is "bad publicity for the CNMI."
Critical Services At Risk
While the governor is tripping around the world, the islands' only hospitals and affiliated clinics are facing closure in a matter of months or even weeks. The CNMI Government pulled the life support on the health care system when it cut its annual $38 million budget to $5 million. The hospital now lacks funds for payroll, contractual benefits, supplies, maintenance and operating expenses.
The Marianas Variety quoted some physicians commenting on the terminal situation at the Commonwealth Heath Corp.:
The resigning physician, who declined to be identified, said due to CHC’s condition, “parents should be very, very afraid!”
CHC yesterday had only one central intravenous line available in the hospital and even that carried an expiration date of one year ago.
Clinics yesterday were technically “open” but as one doctor described it, open was in name only. “You can check the Medicare/Medicaid certification box and say the clinics were operating but for all intents and purposes they are not…we don’t have the staff or the supplies and patients can’t get their medications filled…so what is the point, really?”
“The lights are on and the doors are open but CHC is a mirage…gutted, devoid of hope and a demoralized staff.”
“We’ve heard this all before…for the last 10 months we’ve been told ‘Trust us, we appreciate your dedication the problem will get solved’…and here we are staring into the abyss,” said a very weary and distrustful physician.The CHC is critically understaffed and more physicians are leaving. Federal regulating agencies will surely take action soon; yet the leader of the CNMI remains silent on this crisis.
In fact, the governor's solution to every problem has been to declare a "state of emergency" so he can have the sole power to make secret deals and push his agenda. In every "state of emergency"he has managed to escalate the problems and deplete funds. He is like an unleashed bully running down the beach stomping on every sand castle anyone ever built. Except in this case he is a dangerous power-hungry governor destroying essential institutions.
While the governor is away, CUC may cut the electricity to vital agencies for failure to pay their bills. The government debt to the power company totals almost $9 million. The CNMI owes CUC $2,314,234 for the central government, $3,633,139 for the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and $3,045,277 for the Public School System.
While the governor is away, Judge David Wiseman issued a temporary restraining order preventing the governor and CUC from proceeding with the secret backdoor power plant contract signed by Fitial, former AG Buckingham and the unknown Saipan Development LLC. New revelations about his latest antic, the secret power plant deal are slowly coming to light.
While the governor is away, grave concerns with the Retirement Fund continue. The CNMI Government robbed the Retirement Fund of over $300 million. Just where was all of this money channelled to overs the years?
Could Impeachment Reverse the Collapse?
Some comments from the governor's supporters are raising eyebrows. Fitial supporter, Rep. Joseph Palacios said that those supporting impeachment "are luckier than the governor because they were not caught." Seriously? The U.S. Department of Justice, FBI and Office of the Attorney General must interview this man and see what corruption or illegalities he is covering up!
The governor might be impeached immediately if the decision was left to the people of the CNMI. A petition posted a couple days ago by Ed Probst is gaining signatures daily. So far over 340 have signed the petition calling for the impeachment. (It is here.)
Talk of a welcome home gathering at the airport for Fitial's homecoming is in the air. Something like the brave lady who stood with the Honk...Impeach sign at Capital Hill multiplied many times. Impeach away...