Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 23 Feb 2019 12am







    Friday, February 22, 2019-12:35:48P.M.






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Editorials 2018-June-22


WHATEVER shred of credibility DPS had as a law enforcement agency has probably been stripped away.

We’re referring to the department’s recent admission that it “misplaced” the Internal Investigation files of a police officer charged in a DUI/reckless driving case. At the time of the incident, the police officer was assigned to the DUI unit.

About two years ago, the then-DPS chief, a married man in his mid-40s, admitted that he had sex with a 15-year-old minor in a DPS truck. A former Criminal Investigation Bureau commander, he told the FBI that he did not know that the girl was a minor because he had “severe vision loss.” Incidentally, his appointment as DPS commissioner in Jan. 2013 was welcomed by some community members who considered him “smart,” “no-nonsense,” and “reform-minded.

This is the backdrop of DPS’ latest, self-inflicted controversy. Clearly, Internal Investigation files should have been handled more carefully during the relocation of the division office. Losing such documents is the height of irresponsibility and negligence. To be sure, DPS officers who take their sworn duty seriously are as unhappy and concerned as the rest of the public.

DPS says it will retrieve the files. It should, and it must.

So sad

IF politics is always about efficiency and/or fairness — as we ordinary mortals define those words — the bill that provides the judiciary $7 million because it failed to maintain its building would not have been enacted, let alone introduced in the Legislature. But there it is, and here we are.

After the measure was signed into law, the chief justice reiterated that $7 million is needed to “address the mold remediation and [air-conditioning] problem” of the judicial building. He said the amount “is just a rough estimate…. That was just the initial estimate of a company. It may be more or less….”

Again no mention of the company that made the estimate, or if the judiciary consulted other companies, and if not, why not? Of the 29 lawmakers on Capital Hill, only one, Rep. Ed Propst, dared ask these questions in an election year. And knowing how most government projects are implemented, it is likely that the total cost will be more, not less, than the current estimate.

The chief justice said he feels “sorry for the staff.” Since the judicial building was shut down in March, he said, “we are all over the place: at the multi-purpose, at the back of the judicial building, at the jail house and in federal court.”

Surely the chief justice still remembers that before the judicial building was built, at a time when the CNMI population was much larger, when there were more tourists, more businesses and more guest workers and when immigration was still under local control —  justice was dispensed in less extravagant settings, but it was dispensed nonetheless.

Seven million dollars is a significant amount of money that could have been put to good use elsewhere. Sorry medical referral patients, landowners still waiting for their compensation, Kanat Tabla residents who, each day, have to drive on one of the island’s worst roads.