Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 23 Jul 2019 12am







    Monday, July 22, 2019-7:15:19P.M.






Font Size


Variations | Ecclesiastes 1:9

MARIANAS Variety’s third issue, published on March 30, 1972, featured two “youthful candidates” for the four NMI seats in the Congress of Micronesia. There was no CNMI yet. The Northern Marianas was still one of the six districts of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands administered by the U.S.

One of the young candidates — he was in his mid-20s — had a B.A. degree in political science and sociology, and an M.A. in education. Asked why he was running for office, he said: “I see no difference between the…parties on Saipan…. Our leaders have been using the parties to promote their own self-interest. The record shows that most of our leaders are the richest people and because of this there is a tremendous gap between these people and the man in the street.” He said he was running “to help the people — I am not interested in building [my] houses or [getting into] business. Rather, I will get my satisfaction from helping the people.” He advocated “complete disclosure of personal interests by political figures.” As the “people’s candidate,” he said he would be a full-time lawmaker working for the people’s interest and not his interest.

Twelve years later, he was indicted for extortion and wire fraud and sentenced to three years in federal prison.

A front-page story in MV’s fourth issue was about a trip by a group of Marianas lawmakers to Manila, Hong Kong and Okinawa as part of “an economic observation tour.” Other officials said it was a “junket,” and that the lawmakers left the island “without approval or authorization from the…legislature…. Talk of a taxpayers suit…has been heard from a member of the district legislature itself….”

On April 14, 1972, MV reported about “Tinian’s Curious Political Happenings….” Six of the island’s municipal council members called for the resignation of the mayor, accusing him of neglecting his duties “while pursuing his own business interests” even “during our municipal government’s time.” The council members were also extremely unhappy with the previous mayor who, they said, wanted a higher municipal budget funded by fee and tax hikes “ ‘for his personal satisfaction and gain,’ referring to the fact that most people on Tinian patronize the ex-mayor’s store.” The council members added, “If any of you would become a member of the…council, you would understand why we are always shouting.”

MV’s next issue featured the Mod Squad, a non-profit youth club which first met on Oct. 3, 1971. Its members conducted cleanups all over the island, including Managaha. They also painted the houses of the old, poor and incapacitated. To raise funds for their worthwhile projects, they opened a store…which was burglarized. Over $300 (worth over $1,800 today) of the club’s money was stolen.

Also in the news: A 5-year-old local boy drowned in the waters near Sugar Dock.

MV’s April 28, 1972 issue included comments made by local businessman Jose “Joeten” C. Tenorio in a conference on economic development. “Our economy at present,” he said, “is wholly dependent on government employment with funding coming from the U.S. Treasury. Let no one…forget that fact…. [W]hat local economy exists is directly attributable to government activity and only government activity…. Agriculture is more in the nature of subsistence farming as is fishing…. More than 90 percent of our vegetables and fish have to be imported.” Joeten noted that “eggs are cheaper flown in from Guam than prices charged by local producers.”

On May 5, 1972, MV reported about the death of the district representative on Pagan which had a population of about 65 at the time. He was shot and killed by a 20-year-old man. The assassin also shot and wounded the district representative’s wife and their 15-year-old son.

An editorial in the same issue expressed “amazement” with the “incredible ineptitude with which the Trust Territory government handled an arson-burglarly case” involving the residence of the TT’s top official, the high commissioner. The 19-year-old suspect was found not guilty. “We think the public deserves to know why was this case brought to trail in the first place with so little evidence at the government’s command.”

Another editorial lectured about the importance of providing the public with “free, unimpeded, access to government papers.” Unfortunately, it added, “some government officials think otherwise. Placed in positions as public servants, they have deftly turned the tables to become master of the people, denying even the most basic information to the very people they are charged to serve.”

An article written by a local mental health counselor stated that “[t]oday some of us…refer to youth as just a group of delinquents. They break the law, they disobey at home, church, school, and at work. They drink beer and smoke cigarettes. They talk back. They fight on the street. They take somebody’s property. They run away from home. Boys have long hair and girls wear miniskirts. We think this behavior as delinquent.”

However, he added:

“What about in the past days during Ancient, Spanish, German and Japanese times? Did we have these kinds of delinquents or as many? Let us recall some of the behaviors in the past:

“1. Ancient Chamorros with long hair, grass-skirt and topless.

“2. Couples get together in one house before they got married.

“3. Youths smoked tobacco.

“4. Illegitimate children were common.

“5. Visitors were attacked and had their belongings stolen.”

Send feedback to