Feds Should Enforce Laws in the CNMI, Not Drop More Federal Dollars

October 26, 2012

Saipan Tribune photo from previous meeting

Tony Babauta, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior's Insular Affairs Office will be meeting this week with CNMI  leaders. I wonder if he brought anyone from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to investigate the security breaches at the airport or anyone from the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the corrupt Office of the Governor, corrupt Department of Public Safety and corrupt Commonwealth Ports Authority. Or perhaps this is another trip to shake hands, exchange smiles, drop checks and pose for cameras?

I imagine the "leaders" will request that the DOI toss some more federal tax dollars their way to clean up the messes that they made and they continue to make in the CNMI.  The CNMI "leaders" are solely responsible for the failures of the Commonwealth Health Care Corporation, the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation, the Public School System, the Northern Marinas College, the Department of Public Safety, and other CNMI agencies and departments. They are also solely responsible for the collapse of the Retirement Fund. Years of poor administration, CNMI government underfunding, lack of oversight, nepotism, political hiring, and political interference and manipulation has resulted in total failure.

Like bullies who kicked down a block tower, the CNMI "leaders" expect someone else to come in and build it up again. That someone is always the federal taxpayers. CNMI residents do not pay federal tax. They continually vote in or re-elect incompetent, corrupt "leaders" who screw things up. Then everyone expects the federal taxpayers to come to their rescue. It is a never-ending cycle. Corruption, law breaking, no consequences, fix it with federal tax dollars, repeat. Corruption, law breaking, no consequences, fix it with federal tax dollars repeat. Corruption, law breaking, no consequences, fix it with federal tax dollars, repeat...

Maybe it is so infuriating because there are no consequences in the CNMI for the corrupt leaders who make backdoor contracts like the one CHCC CEO Juan Babauta made with money grabber Kraml, or the illegal deal between Governor Fitial and Michael Ada to secure the ARRA contract, or the latest corrupt CUC deal penned by Fitial, his criminal sidekick, former AG Buckingham and some questionable U.S.-based companies.

Even though the DOI investigated the ARRA contract and concluded it was illegal, nothing was done. There were no consequences. Ditto for the Office of the Special Counsel who acknowledged violations of the Hatch Act committed by former criminal AG Buckingham. Nothing was done, there were no consequences for breaking the law. The non enforcement, no consequences stance of the federal officials has encouraged CNMI corruption.

As long as federal officials view their role in the CNMI primarily as the islands' piggy bank, nothing will change. Reform will never be realized until federal laws are strictly enforced. Corrupt leaders must be held accountable and prosecuted for their crimes. Instead of handing out money, the feds should be handing down sentences.

Who should Tony Babauta meet with? Babauta should meet with Tina Sablan and ask her about being roughed up by the governor's thug squad at an international airport. (So much for homeland security.) He should meet with Glen Hunter and ask him about his lawsuit and efforts to impeach the corrupt governor. He should meet with the noble nine and get their input on the impeachment articles and the lawsuit to stop the CUC contract. He should meet with Peter Camacho and Eric David who are the latest police officers to be transferred because they followed the law. He should ask them about the newest hires with criminal records. He should meet with the foreign workers and ask them how that pathetically botched CNMI-only Guest Worker Program is working.

I hope Assistant Secretary Babauta packed hand sanitizer. He will likely be shaking some very dirty hands.


Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. Things can't change until people are held responsible. The feds can't keep ignoring enforcement and oversight duties and trying to make it better by opening the wallet. There is a deficit because the NMI refuses to have an income or any other kind of real tax. Hand outs are all the people want. As long as Uncle Sam keeps giving them $$$ nothing can change. You're so right.

Anonymous said...

uncle sam is involved in corruption..its all about $$$$$ power..most all are corrupted. how can catch those big fish having power.U-united S-selfish A-administration.GOD is not blind.you have to face..

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post! You got it right on every point.

Anonymous said...

Another area that should be looked at also is the FEMA payouts in the times of Typhoon disasters.
It has been common practice that FEMA reps. from the US are accompanied by local reps to go around to survey the damage.

It has been noted and even brought to the attention of the visiting FEMA officials that many of the supposedly destroyed houses have long been abandoned for years and left in disrepair due to the termites and lack of upkeep and/or families leaving to the US and elsewhere. Same goes for appliances such as freezers and Refrigerators that are taken out of repair shops and garages to be shown as damages by the Typhoon.
(BTW, a flood in itself does not incapacitate a refrigeration system. I have one Ref. that has been left floating many times over the years and is still working)

Yet these family structures are being compensated and monies issued for rebuilding to the benefits of other family members.

Many times the money used for down payments on new cars and SUV's (to later be repossessed for non payment in most cases)

It is also noted that the actual families that are collecting are not the true owners as the real owners are in the US and unaware that their family, members are repeatedly collecting on their abandoned houses.
There is no effort ot check on the actual owner. FEMA Reps. only take the word of the local appointed Rep.in regards to the damage and ownership.

I have personally informed FEMA Reps in the past to look into some of the houses that they are considering to be "repaired" with a stipulation as to not disclose my name because of retribution from the families involved as the ones that I have personally witnessed are the ones with the "correct last name" and politically involved with current Administrations.
Both different times that I have brought this to light the US FEMA official has disclosed my name to all and my family and I have suffered retribution from the various elected and Admin.
Emergency supplies that have been dropped off at Mayors' offices have been taken and used for the benefit of employees and their families instead of the people in need.

Everything gets "raided" by Govt. employees (and their friends) before what is left (many times nothing)is distributed to the one in need.
Most times the tents and other items are set up the Govt. and "connected" employees and family yards for the kids to play in and to use.Many more times these items are sold for beer and BBQ.

Maybe IF any investigation is ever carried out in the CNMI this may come to light.(along with so may other things.
I think that of any investigation would come about (if not ongoing already)would takes years to gather evidence and prosecute.
It has long been shown that the Feds take their time in these cases to make sure they can get a conviction.

This impeachment hearing may give them enough info to continue though.

I hope, but not expect, something to be done. I would like to see Marshal Law proclaimed to send a strong message. (but doubt that will ever happen)