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VIEWPOINT Saipan Tribune Friday, September 24, 1999


By Charles P. Reyes, Jr.

"Despite what you may have read in the newspapers in recent weeks," claimed Hawai‘i Senator Danny Akaka, "today’s hearing has nothing to do with over-zealous Federal employees, subpoenas, contempt citations, or violations of the Hatch Act."

Apparently, as far as Senator Akaka is concerned, it is perfectly acceptable for David North (former Office of Insular Affairs employee) to engage in a vicious smear campaign against the people of the Northern Marianas. It is OK for federal employees to go after House Republicans. Senator Akaka has absolutely no problem with the U.S. Interior Department engaging in illegal activities.

According to Senator Akaka, that is not the issue here. Now that the Interior Department has been caught trying to advance false charges, Akaka no longer wants to talk about labor abuses. He wants to move away from charges of widespread CNMI labor exploitation. Now he wants to focus on what has suddenly emerged as the real issue: CNMI immigration.

"The bill before us," said Senator Akaka, "speaks to the simple proposition that America is one country and we must have a single, uniform immigration policy."

Akaka fails to realize, however, that the CNMI is in a unique relationship with the United States. We did not give up our right to local self-government when we signed the Covenant Agreement with the United States.

Senator Akaka speaks of Democracy. He says that the CNMI immigrant labor system is "morally wrong" and "violates democratic principles." And yet he fully intends to practice the principles of democracy by forcing a federal takeover upon our islands--in complete defiance of our local self-government. Sounds more like imperial tyranny rather than representative democracy.

The CNMI has no political representation in the U.S. government. And as Resident Representative Juan Nekai Babauta once noted, you cannot successfully promote human rights by denying political/democratic rights.

The real issue is not human rights but political rights. The CNMI is not systematically violating human rights. The federal government, however, is consistently attempting to deny us our political rights: our right to self-government and democracy.

In addition to writing press releases and letters to the editor on behalf of Democrats, David North also edited congressional testimony for Democrat-leaning witnesses hostile to CNMI interests. The CNMI has been, in effect, the primary target of a ruthless cabal comprised of labor unions, "human rights" organizations, Democrats, liberal media types, and Interior Department/Clinton administration officials.

That is the real issue, Mr. Akaka. Please stop trying to evade it.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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