Resignation Statement of Former Governor Benigno Fitial

February 20, 2013

Today I have submitted my resignation from the Office of the Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands pursuant to Article III, Section 7, of the CNMI Constitution. It has been my honor to serve the people of the Commonwealth since I first assumed this office in January 2006. I have both the interests of the Commonwealth and personal reasons for taking this action.

These have been difficult times for the people of the Commonwealth. We have suffered from a serious economic depression-more severe than any other state or insular area in the United States. I have tried to address the Commonwealth's most serious problems during the past seven years. We have had some successes, but also many disappointments.

The Commonwealth can overcome its difficulties-and find workable solutions to its problems-only if its elected officials are able to work together. This is no longer the case. The impeachment proceedings pending in the Legislature have made it very difficult for me and for the Legislature to focus on the hard decisions involved in providing our people a secure future.

Let me be clear. I am prepared to present an aggressive defense to the allegations forwarded to the Senate from the House of Representatives. None of the allegations in the House report is an impeachable offense. An impeachment trial would be a weeklong confrontation while I presented my defense, and any post-trial proceedings would involve more and longer confrontations. However, there are considerations other than legal ones.

The citizens of the Commonwealth deserve the best possible opportunity to achieve a better life for themselves and their children. At this time, I think that goal is furthered by my stepping down.  As for my personal reasons, I am 67 years old and not in good health. I need medical attention that has time and again been sacrificed to emergencies here in the Commonwealth. I want to be here for my children and my grandchildren. And I especially want to be here for my wife Josie, who has made great sacrifices to sustain me while I held office. I need to go to the mainland for my health.

My resignation frees me to do that without the constant pressure of public matters. This community is, and will remain, my home. I look forward to living among you as a friend, neighbor, and former public servant with a lifetime commitment to the betterment of the people of the Northern Mariana Islands. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.