Epitaph of CNMI’s democracy | 93: Governor, commissioners & boards — it’s austerity for all!

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WE are now facing an “Official Global Pandemic” and I have been pondering what I could come up with to help cut cost given the Governor seems to have run out of ideas on the radio and can only think of cutting the people.

Bu to his credit and the Lt. Governor they are right about people in the private sector who are being laid off with NO hours. But I recently had the experience of trying of trying to contact the Cannabis Commission again as I am making plans to unite all the marijuana growers under an association so that Locals will not be pushed out once the Dispensaries are opened. The GOP already REDUCED the requirement from 10 yrs. to 5 for being qualified to be a grower and they did that so outside Investors, probably Chinese, can come in a build big grow facilities that will literally run the locals out of business just like the Chinese are doing in Colorado — for TRUE! But the problem was the Cannabis Commission don’t come to the office that much as I was told by the person who answers their phone after I inquired because she works for Casino Commission and was just helping out.

Thanks to the Casino Commission for loaning their staff and trying to help but these people are being paid BIG salaries and they need to at least leave a cell phone number if no one is coming into the office. If they have Government cell phones then this is really bad because it’s a dereliction of their duty to provide service to the People and what if something urgent comes up and no one can contact them. This also makes me wonder WHAT is going on especially when the Managing Director can’t be reached who is SUPPOSED to be working EVERYDAY. I can understand the Commissioners not coming in every day but the Director is on salary to work every day especially when I’m sure there are people calling and wanting answers given people are asking me questions all the time.

But that incident with the Cannabis Commission made me think about all the other Boards and Commissioners especially the Casino Commissioners who ARE NOT doing any work now. It’s truly time for the salary for these commissioners to END if there is no casino on their island and suspended on Saipan!!! Given our state of genuine emergency all un-necessary Commissioners and Board Members who are getting paid a salary need to suspend from their activities OFFICIALLY and stop just taking our money when you know you are not working. One would hope they would voluntary stop taking their salaries but we all know that greed and politics AIN’T going to let that happen but it’s really time for the Governor to issue an Executive Order suspending these people “until further notice.”

The only exception should be if these Boards or Commissions need to perform certain “justifiable work that is approved by the Governor they can do the work and be paid based on a “prorated hourly pay basis.” This should apply to ALL Boards and Commissions with NO exception if they are receiving a base pay per year and the Cannabis Commission should be at the top of the list given, they are not coming to work and nothing is really happening based on my inquiries and I made several to make sure before writing about this. I’m disappointed about the lack of real progress to get our dispensaries up and running because Cannabis Tourism can be one of our saving-graces in a place where there is no coronavirus. The CNMI may be very appealing if we can truly demonstrate we are prepared to make sure no one comes in with the virus. But I wonder if we even have a single “test kit” as no one has said we do and given the lack of test kits on CNN’s news reports we will probably be dead last on that too but I pray not.

Anyway, cutting the high cost of Commissioners and Boards may not be millions saved but it will surely be a sizeable amount in the hundreds of thousands if not a million or so saved over the next year or so just from the Casino Commissioners and the Cannabis Commissioners not to mention the other Boards and Commissions who are getting paid high salaries. Given Global Pandemic we now face and the highly likelihood many of these people won’t be doing any real work their pay must also be addressed like everyone else. If we are going to tighten our belt then the FIRST ones should have been those who are not working but getting paid and not those who are working and really can’t afford the cuts as these Boards and Commission positions are NOT even fulltime employment jobs anyway that are only performed “AS NEEDED” — duh and HELLER!

This is just one cost-cutting measure that really needs to be implemented but we know the Governor is trying to take care of his top CREW Members in the GOP like he did with his Cabinet over the First Responders being paid. But with the exception of PSS where the Board is elected, ALL the Boards and Commissions that were appointed by the present or previous GOP Governors which means most if not ALL are GOP supporters which is just part of the “Dragon” the GOP has created to maintain a voting superiority. The lesson to be learned is “STOP listening to the leaders of these big families, Commissioners and Board members who are preaching vote GOP” —that’s a big part of reason we got in this mess with IPI and China — for TRUE! WE the People can’t expect too much to come of this recommendation but we will see as “time is on our side, not the Governor” because the mid-terms are right-around-the-corner and the Democrats are surely getting poised to make a big difference this time thanks to the GOP mess they have made of themselves and the CNMI. Like my late and great sister might say, “the GOP put their taki (dung) with their illegal activities everywhere in their governing and now they are literally stepping in it” and the Governor really doesn’t know what to do which is why I brought the issue of the Boards and Commissions experiencing austerity too.

But just to show you what I mean his first Executive Order to freeze prices was clearly a copy/paste from the typhoon and he had to revise it to cover the items for this coronavirus which are different — no real critical or analytical thinking which should tell readers what we have at the helm, a you-know-what. But what really got me was the AG spoke up about the law and Price Freeze but he wouldn’t even whisper a word about all the illegal things the Governor and the Legislature have done with OUR MONEY — I am truly disappointed in a person I truly once admired!

If you or someone you know who is suffering from our already challenging times, it’s time for you to speak up and HELP me with this recommendation to the Governor — stop being afraid to say Mr. Bennett was right. I have also noticed that when I write opinions that don’t have anything to do with me my critics are totally silent, which means they have some kind of a PERSONAL problem with me which is their problem not mine. Their silence also sends the signal that the opinion was probably great and they would really look foolish trying to nitpick on trivial things. But I also know the GOP has emissaries out there who are doing their evil “DIRTY WORK” by attacking me in the comment section of Kandit News now. But I’m sure most people with common sense KNOW that people who use the title “f*****” can’t be too bright with no respect for themselves nor anyone else and “howardtheduckwrinter20” whatever that is doesn’t know what he is and thinks I’m the enemy are clearly HATERS who can only be working for the GOP. I know their tactics from when I helped them as they tried to get me to be evil in the paper too but I refused. But thanks to these you-know-whats for helping me to show WHY voters need to go Democrat this time around so we don’t have to keep putting up with the ugly the evil and their corruption. However, I would still like to humbly and respectfully challenge my critics to be bigger people and to TRY and “do-some-good-in-this- neighborhood” by writing their own letter of support for what I have just proposed to the Governor or any idea they may have if you really want to help make a difference instead of hiding and throwing rocks at people in the Cyber Rat Den (comment section) like cowards (scared rats). If there ever was a time for all hands-on-deck to help the CNMI it is NOW! I hope this and my other Epitaphs will one day sink in and convince even my critics that I am not the enemy of the CNMI but indeed a warrior FOR the People! One People One Direction!

The writer is a resident of Kagman, Saipan.

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