Marianas Variety

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    Wednesday, July 17, 2019-12:43:12A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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OPINION | Epitaph of CNMI democracy (25): Citizen advocates & governing

CITIZENs have been asking ME about the Cannabis Act and why is it taking so long but I guess they didn’t know who they elected — a bunch of conservatives when We the People need liberalist worse than a hog-needs-slop.

As I stated before on more than one occasion the TWO keys to successful Government are “informed & active” citizens which is why citizen advocates are truly needed in the CNMI. We are starting to see these keys in action with teachers who are NOT the average voter as they KNOW BETTER! But we don’t have “Village Leaders or Groups” who can HELP teachers nor spearhead any kind of Social, Economic or Political activities for their village. We only have “Political Groups” in our villages which is a problem for our villages and society as we need SOCIAL Groups like the New NMD Group who will truly be ACTIVE in getting something DONE! I can remember a Governor won telling people to “just let-it-be” and that is the attitude of entirely tooooo many citizens.

For example, IF there is truly a desire for the Preservation of the Culture AND to have real SOCIAL INPUT to our politics it would be GREAT for the Manamko’ to re-introduce the “Chief System” with a Chief for every Village and maybe even a Supreme Chief one day. These Chiefs can “weigh-in on behalf of the People in their villages” providing MORE social input to our Politics. Maybe I’m just dreaming of what it could be but I do know that there needs to be more Citizen Advocacy done at the Village & Island Level and in Education if the ENTIRE Culture is to be saved. If it takes a village to raise a child it will take ALL of us to fix and hold our Government Accountable. We the People as a whole are only organized POLITICALLY with most following the same GOP with the rest of us in the cheap seats are left like a dog-chasing-it’s-tail for what we want out of our Government — for TRUE.

We the People need for citizens to be MORE active with issues facing the CNMI by “walking your talk” as complaining talk is cheap but actions can change things. Whatever happened to Beautify-the-CNMI which is a group that should NEVER die given Tourism is our “bread & butter”? Given the devastation by the Typhoons now is no better time than any to start trying to PRESERVE some the unspoiled views after the hair-cut our island got by the Typhoons. We should be planting Flame-trees everywhere we can and doing something to make sure the jungle doesn’t take over the magnificent views again. But we can count on the GOP just letting the jungle ruin the views from Capital Hill and Laolao along with other views that need to be preserved. Cutting cost is the only thing the Governor can do it seems because they are trying so hard to paint a pretty picture of the UGLY MESS they have made. Plus, multi-tasking is like asking the GOP to walk & chew-gum at the same time.

If citizens don’t start speaking-up and ADVOCATING for the expeditious implementation of the Cannabis and Hemp Industries it will be election time again and the GOP will be stringing you (VOTERS) along AGAIN like they have done for almost SIX years with this issue. There is a need for a Local Advocacy Group of potential GROWERS especially if they want to supply the marijuana to the Dispensaries as you now only have a five-year window before you are run-out-of-business by BIG Big Business with the change from 10 yrs. to 5 yrs. to get a license — for TRUE!

The Senate is being urged to pass the amendments to the Cannabis Law but even with the Amendments being passed that still won’t solve our BIGGEST challenges of producing an inventory, a laboratory for testing and REAL child protection with a support system in the Law. It is looking more and more like a “scatter-brain” approach to what is truly a “complex challenge” as many factors must fall into place. Citizens really need to get organized and “advocate for what they want out of Legalization” or you may NEVER get it and that’s for TRUE! The GOP is setting this up for the Chinese just like they are doing with everything else – I just wonder when are the Local People going to open their eyes and SEE how they are being messed-over!!!

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said the administration may implement a 16-hour cut in the government’s work-schedule if revenue collections do not improve in the next couple of months. Where are the citizen advocates to make the Governor and Government find the money somewhere else opposed to implementing more and more austerity measures? Not to mention the fact that one of their own is also saying the 2020 budget is too high and may not be achievable. The Independents are not going to get it done with their LONE approach so We the People need to start doing something for ourselves. We need village leaders to come forward to organize the villages in “social groups” who can ADVOCATE for the village and even the CNMI. I mentioned in a previous opinion about the need for PROTESTS in the CNMI and sooner or later it will sink in as “time is on my side” — yes it IS!

I’m so glad to see that PROTESTS are already starting with Tinian Women Association canvassed in preparation for a multi-island demonstration against the Public School System employee salary cuts. KUDOS to Deborah Fleming and the entire Tinian Women Association. Organizing the PEOPLE is our ONLY hope for holding the Governor ACCOUNTABLE for his PROGRESS LIE! KUDOS to teachers and community members on Saipan who also staged their own PROTEST too and I’m glad they are also holding BOE accountable for the raise to six figure that went UNCHECKED and even ridiculous given the fact the BOE Positions are “PART TIME” jobs — nobody should make 100,000 on a part-time job in the CNMI, especially when most of the BOE Members have FULL TIME jobs, duh, HELLER and WAKE-UP they are making more than any member of our Legislature, OMG! BOE needs to be investigated with an OVERSIGHT Hearing but the problem is there IS NO oversight over BOE which is why they wanted the Constitution changed so Teachers could NOT hold BOE accountable — so the POWER to BULLY continues. Teachers really need to FIX everything by forming “a Group to Represent ALL Teachers” which is the FIRST STEP to CHANGE.

But I’m glad it seems the message is getting out to PROTEST what the Governor has done and failed to do as I just wonder does our Governor even go to MASS before and after election season. PROTESTS actually work as BOE has already changed the language in the addendum that teachers still should NOT sign — make the BOE and our Government OWE you the money they agreed to pay in your contracts. BOE should have been joining with teachers to PROTEST instead of being bullies who are afraid of the Governor. I hope the PROTEST will not stop until we are all satisfied with the Governor’s response and his actions that need to change. It should be noted that our Governor has said or done ANYTHING about the business community shouldering THEIR part of this austerity just punishing his PEOPLE for his poor Governing — for TRUE!

There is soooo much that needs to be protested which is why I’m pushing for more citizen advocacy groups to push for accountability and change. The “oversight by the Legislature” that the Speaker does not want to conduct needs to be PROTESTED even though the Minority Bloc is still pushing ahead. I’m glad to see the Independents UNITE but I just wish the minority bloc was a real PARTY as they will be far more productive in the Legislature and in elections to capture in the Governor’s office.

The Bill to give governor, mayors, chief justice 100 percent reprograming authority is another issue that should raise questions even though I understand the need. But why wasn’t this Bill written the day after Yutu as anyone with common sense KNEW everything financially would change for the Government oh, the Governor didn’t want us to know we were facing a shortfall until AFTER the election, duh!!! But the Minority Bloc are right to be concerned about the reprograming Bill they just need some REAL POWER and a Party behind them as the GOP House Leadership have already agreed to pass the Bill for the Governor — a GOP Power Play that We the People may not be able to place a check on nor stop unless there is a PROTEST. The Settlement Fund is still trying to collect from CUC which is another issue that needs to be PROTESTED by Retirees. But the question that really needs answering is who really speaks for all the retirees other than the Feds which is why “Citizen Advocacy Groups” are needed in many aspects of our Social, Economic and Political life in our Commonwealth.

One people one direction for continued PROTESTS and more citizen advocacy groups in our Commonwealth — for TRUE!

The writer is a resident of Kagman, Saipan.