'Leadership Malaise' In CNMI Has Lead To Poverty

Commentary

By John S. Del Rosario Jr.

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Oct. 28, 2016) – Apathy and lack of trust in government is widespread throughout the CNMI. This sentiment is as disturbing as it is troubling. It is easily seen among villagers who had to break out on their own to survive. It was forced abject poverty, full square!

You suffer from it daily. Take a closer look at the cringing faces of villagers the next time you’re out and about. They’re reaching down into the depth of their soul struggling to understand deterioration of family life in these isles.

Yes, we can blame it on the obvious lack of leadership—sense of purpose, clarity and organization—a disturbing phenomenon we all should be concerned about. Why keep selling the same item most people refuse to buy? Declaring the mantra “solutions driven” isn’t a solution in itself other than a vacuous assertion that has failed and disappeared!

Investments: For all the failed public relations stunt that the economy has improved, the reason is simple: at day’s end people ask if it has come down into family pocketbooks. The answer is a thunderous “No!” Look into your own family income. Looking for measurable improvement is like looking for a needle at the bottom of Lake Susupe!

Architects of casino did a superb job keeping the multitude in abject poverty land. It’s like tying nose rings to keep them as obedient as slaves. This was done to allow the industry to slide in without triggering powerful opposition. It wrought confusion why the forced measure against their will when they said no, twice.

President Jinpiñg just tightened corruption at home that just killed VIP high rollers from moving money out of China to offshore areas like Australia. His grip included getting rid of junket tours in Macau. What are our chances of bringing in high rollers under the circumstance? You Are My Sunshine begins to dim!

The end of public sentiment against the industry is far from over. We’ve learned the virtues of humility and patience. You thought you’ve killed our “will” but we would return. Ever heard of a two-headed snake? You thought you killed it but it would return to haunt you.

Experience: As a people, I’m sure we’re familiar with our ancestral history and our long journey since, the importance of fostering strong relationships among ourselves, our disposition as stewards of indigenous land, and issues we must address and resolve aimed at lifting all boats.

But it seems too that we have shortsighted memories of our recent past. Shouldn’t our experience be the foundation of how we move ahead avoiding the repeat of the same mistakes?

At this juncture, it seems that our only hope is time, whatever that means. There’s nothing that anchors our future other than ad hoc mode of disposition where we fend for ourselves.

Blurred vision: As it is, there’s a prolonged honeymoon on the hill that ignores pushing for real diversified economy that lifts all boats. Look at their girth and you’d instantly see who has made it amidst the deepening deterioration of the quality of family life in the islands.

Plus, there’s a “vision” on NAP. Wow! What warped sense of attribution relegating our very own into servility with handouts. What legacy in destitution!

While we bemoan corruption we conveniently look the other way when faced with culprits who’ve ruined the public trust. Again, at its simplest, it’s leadership malaise and a tired multitude!

Forced poverty: Out of curiosity, I listened intently to the voice of our people or those heavily floored by forced abject poverty. The condition is the net result of leadership malaise! About the only thing that kept them going is our culture of communal sharing where even food stamps is shared with all family members. If not for this generosity, most would be in dire straits sniffing for survival somewhere between the shore and savannahs.

I tried connecting the dots why the grand sense of leadership malaise only to find that people at the helm have embraced at face value answers that kill the thinking process almost instantly. It’s all linear thinking that kills the thinking process altogether.

Personally, this is very troubling! You must take issues of substance to the hilt in order to get clarity what is involved. You do this by asking deeply rooted questions, not reliance on the book How to Lie With Statistics or use of statistics without learning questions asked, di ba?

On MV Luta seizure

The banner headlines in both local papers about the seizure of the MV Luta by the Office of the U.S. Marshal had many readers wowing in disbelief.

The Japanese investor sued the MV Luta, Fidel Mendiola and his family; and, alleged Lt. Gov. Biktot Hokog for fraud. Biktot fancy foots as a spinmeister but he started this filthy mess so deal with it, sir!

This development has slammed open a whole box of Pandoras where defendants would be critically scrutinized in federal court.

As this moves on, it’s also timely that we revisit the suspect ascendancy of the two cronies into the top posts in the local government. It brings into focus the legitimacy of governing without a clear public mandate!

Upright citizens must force the issue to resolve it once and for all! We pay taxes to build upon strong governance. Let it be a government of laws!

Definitely, I’ve dissected what corruption encourages upon the greedy to secure superficial power and this is what the NMI gets in its passivity. This must change forthwith!

For now, bring out your popcorn and sodas for the MV Luta parade promises to be loaded with tons of comedy. Gi finu` man-amku`, “Todu baba na tinituhun, baba uttimoña,” ya estague` masusesedi pa`gu!

John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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