THERE will always be opposing sides in political arguments but regardless of which side you are on in the CNMI it is obvious our Republicans have literally turned the CNMI into a “Banana Republic.” In political science, the term banana republic describes a politically unstable country with an economy dependent upon the exportation of a limited-resource product, such as bananas. But in the CNMI’s case it is our political instability that led to the total failure to have an “accountable government” FOR the People. Our dependency is not based on bananas but our economy is primarily dependent upon a Casino that can’t even open its doors and bring in tourists even before the pandemic. So you don’t have to be an economist to know “it (the casino)is not going to get any better” after this pandemic is over. But you can bet our Republicans are going to be saying the complete opposite in their political argument.
Instability and No Accountability in the CNMI
The main reason the CNMI is looking like a Banana Republic is because of our leadership that is truly unstable and even unpredictable. Heck, we don’t know when or if the Governor is going to jail, which makes the very top of our Government unstable and unpredictable especially when the Senate and the Governor are poised to KILL every Bill that the House will pass — voters still have some work to do in 2022, if we are to clean-up our Government. The Governor even now claims to want to work with the Legislature now that a subpoena is imminent for him to explain his misuse of OUR money, something he promised to do a long time ago but never did — Banana Republic Politics for TRUE! Who does the Governor think he is fooling, as We the People are not idiots.
It is politics as usual when we observed that the AG didn’t move at all when the Governor was literally caught “red-handed” (blood of his crime on his hands) misusing OUR money and yet he moved with lightning speed to help the Republican minority in the house with his claim that the tie-breaking rule was “contravenes”, a word that nobody can readily connect with, to justify the minority’s concerns. The Governor can blatantly break the Law and violate the Constitution but time the Democrats try to extend some sense of accountability in our Government the AG tries to step in an stop them being true to form for a Banana Republic.
The Governor’s Banana Republic Strategy
Governor’s 122.5-million-dollar budget of the Federal funds combined with the CNMI’s Local budget clearly means that “money is not a problem” for our recovery, so WE don’t want to hear any more gaslighting stories. But with the Governor being the sole discretionary source for all of the funds means we are operating like a Banana Republic. Why wasn’t the Legislature given authority to develop the budget for these Federal funds like they do with all the other money the Government receives? The problem was Democrats are in control of the House of Representatives so the Governor simply bypassed the Legislative process for his personal intentions. Yes, people are getting their jobs back but beyond that the CNMI needs to see some real progress given money is no longer an issue.
Cannabis Tourism in Limbo from Banana Republic Politics
While I don’t blame the Cannabis Commission as much as I blame the Governor who is really telling them what to do, 4/20 has come and gone but there was absolutely NOTHING to construct and promote the CNMI’s intentions of having a “Cannabis Tourism Industry.” Why didn’t the Cannabis Commission DO SOMETHING for 4/20, as anything would have been better than NOTHING!!! MVA can’t promote our Cannabis Tourism Industry in the primary countries that our tourists come from because it is illegal in Japan, Korea and China. People returning from the CNMI and found “positive for the use of marijuana” can face very severe penalties including jail.
But there are other countries, starting with America and even all of Micronesia, where the CNMI can solicit tourists and promote our Cannabis Tourism. In fact, making Saipan the “primary tourist destination for Micronesians” could very well be a “gold mine that we are literally standing on” if the CNMI will do the work to make it happen. Just imagine if the CNMI had a real Theme Park to make the CNMI a “Family Destination” for Micronesia instead of depending upon “gamblers from China” who may not even return. Just think what Cannabis Tourism would mean for all of Micronesia given most Micronesians endorse the use of Marijuana. I was pushing for the Theme Park and Cannabis Tourism BEFORE the casino but look where we are in the middle of a Chinese mess created by Republicans. But this past 4/20 which is “Marijuana Day” all over the world was a real MISSED opportunity to start putting things in motion and getting all the CNMI Stakeholder together with a “Local Event” that can be used to send a signal to Micronesia and the mainland of America of the ONLY Cannabis Tourism Industry in the entire Pacific Ocean but like I predicted, the Republicans may NEVER get it done. The CNMI doesn’t even have a single “picture” or anything to use to promote our intended Cannabis Tourism Industry and given the failure of the Government and Cannabis Commission to do anything on 4/20 it is just more proof that the CNMI is operating like a Banana Republic that doesn’t have a clue to rebuilding our economy.
The Insular Cases of a Banana Republic
Delegate Kilili is doing the right thing with his Resolution because these cases are just more proof that the CNMI is operating like a Banana Republic. Holding up cases that are literally “banners of racism” do not have a place in America. Trying to uphold Article XII goes against everything about America that is being taught to ALL students in the CNMI, as it is only the old folks who don’t get it that Article XII violates the SUPREME LAW of our NATON! The people of the CNMI asked to be part of America but being part of America doesn’t mean getting everything FREE from the Federal Government as it also means the CNMI must pay or do its part by treating every American EQUALLY. There is a way to fix Article XII and treat every American equally but if you are blinded by the haze of racism, you will never see the solution. It’s time for the Banana Republic Politics to come to an end and let the CNMI evolve to be the America that it was intended to be when the Commonwealth was created because the Covenant Agreement clearly stipulated that Article XII would only exist for 25 YEARS, which is why the discussion is now front-and-center. Most people know that fighting against fixing or ending Article XII is fatal for those who have learned your lessons from the CNMI’s OWN history of Federal intervention with minimum wages, CWs and Immigration. I’m sure most locals with common sense DO NOT want the Feds to come-in and do away with Article XII, when there is an opportunity to fix it. So stop trying to renege (default) on the deal with America and live up to our nation’s creed like Dr. King said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that ALL men are created equal” and more importantly is everyone’s moral obligation to “do unto others as you would have them do unto YOU”!
To be continued: One People One Direction.
The writer is a retired teacher, former CNMI Board of Education Member, James Madison Fellow (U.S. Constitutional Scholar), a Fulbright-Hays & Humanities Scholar who resides in Kagman III.