Mohammad Islam

Mohammad Islam holds an empty bowl in a small kitchen of a Chalan Kanoa house where he is renting a room.

Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

A FORMER electrician who is suffering from bacterial liver abscess, a heart ailment, diabetes, and other complications is being evicted from a room he rents in Chalan Kanoa.

Mohammad Islam, 49, is among the long-term guest workers who lost their jobs when the garment industry left the island over a decade ago.

He said he wants to return to his home country, Bangladesh, but he doesn’t have money to buy a plane ticket, and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has also made it more difficult to travel.

Islam said he constantly feels severe pain that sometimes he gets the sense that he could die anytime.

He is hoping that the good people of the CNMI will help him raise the money to buy a plane ticket.

Islam first arrived on Saipan in November 1996 to work as an electrician for Bicol Express, which employed him for two years.

He then transferred to a garment factory as a commercial cleaner. When garment factories on Saipan started shutting down in 2007, Islam was one of the garment workers who filed complaints with the CNMI Department Labor over unpaid salaries.

Up to this day, he said he has never received anything from his former employer.

His labor case, however, allowed him to apply for and obtain a CNMI umbrella permit in 2009. He also obtained a humanitarian parole in July 2010, which eventually allowed him to apply for a transitional CNMI-Only Worker’s permit when he was employed by Rigel Corp. in 2012.

The parole likewise allowed him to go on a vacation to his home country, Bangladesh, and return to the CNMI.

In 2014, he started working for Hong Kong Entertainment’s Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino as its representative at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport. His job was to assist Tinian Dynasty’s VIPs as they boarded the plane that would bring them to Tinian.

Beginning in 2016, however, he said Tinian Dynasty was no longer able to pay his and other workers’ salaries, and did not renew their CW-1 permits.

A tour agency hired him in 2018, but he was required to leave the island to get his new CW permit at a U.S. embassy or consular office outside the CNMI.

He failed to leave the island and eventually lost his job.

Islam said since then, he has been surviving by performing part-time jobs for friends and acquaintances. He is now too weak to perform manual labor.

Aside from the CNMI umbrella permit and an expired parole and CW permit, Islam has a copy of a receipt for his application for CNMI-only residency under U.S. Public Law 116-24 or the Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act.

In November last year, Islam said he suddenly felt severe pain in his chest and back. He collapsed and was rushed to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. where he was confined for a few days.

He said he was told by the doctor that he had bacterial liver abscess and a heart ailment on top of diabetes.

Right now, Islam said he is getting government assistance for his medicine through a presumptive eligibility notice of decision issued by CHCC. His cousin, who has a pending complaint against an employer, is providing Islam with food.

With the help of Karidat, Islam said he was able to pay rent in January and February. But because the rent for December remains unpaid, Islam said his landlord has asked him to leave.

Islam said due to his health condition, he cannot even lift a gallon of water. Both of his arms are so weak that sometimes he cannot close his fists, he said.

If you want to offer help, please call him at 286-6769.

Reporter

A bachelor of arts in journalism graduate, he started his career as a police beat reporter. Loves to cook. Eats death threats for breakfast.

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