Now or never? Not really.

IF you know who to vote for, and why, then you don’t need a reminder to “go out and vote.” However, if you don’t want to vote for whatever reason, then that’s your right, too. No worries. In every election year, we’ll be subjected to the usual “it’s-now-or-never/most-important-election-ever!’ rhetoric from the candidates and their staunchest supporters. Mainly because it is now or never for them, and it is the most important election for them — until the next one.

But for the rest of us, life will go on even after the last ballot is counted and the winners are announced. On Inauguration Day in January, we’ll hear more or less the same speeches from the newly elected or re-elected officials because the CNMI will face exactly the same problem that has confounded its leaders these past few years: a cash-strapped government with so many financial obligations.

Months from now, most of us will vaguely recall many of this election year’s issues, controversies and even campaign promises. And soon, the election show will be back in town with a, more or less, new cast, but with the same old script.

Cost-free feasibility study

THERE may be a need for a “market feasibility study” of the gaming industry, but it should be conducted (and paid for) by those willing to spend tens of millions of dollars on a small remote island with a dwindling (workforce) population and a tourism industry that has yet to recover from Yutu and Covid-19.

Right now, in fact, just about anyone can, more or less, determine the feasibility of the island’s gaming industry. No need to hire a “consultant.” All we need to do is to answer the following questions: 1) In light of the many lawsuits filed (mostly by vendors) against IPI in federal and local courts on top of unpaid government fees and taxes, is it reasonable to believe that the casino can re-open anytime soon? 2) Is there an actual and legitimate business company willing to invest in or take over IPI’s hotel-casino project?

Well?

Now if the point of a “market feasibility study” is to question the existence of the industry itself then why not cut to the chase and introduce legislation to repeal the Saipan casino gaming law? While at it, include a ban on e-gaming and poker arcades as well.

And then tell the voters about the revenue losses that the government would incur, and the austerity measures and/or tax/fee hikes that would have to be implemented.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Zaldy Dandan is a recipient of the Best Editorial Writer Award of the Society of Professional Journalists, and the CNMI Humanities Award for Outstanding Contributions to Journalism. His four books are available on amazon.com/.

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