Submitted by Ambrose M. Bennett
(Saipan) WE the People did make the famous FORBES Magazine in 2018, which should have been a warning shot across our Bow that wasn’t even noticed figuratively. Usually a person or their business gets in Forbes for its success but for us it was OUR FAILURE and it is OUR FAULT, our OWN fault, to have given the Republicans full control of our Government – “absolute power absolutely corrupts”! The FORBES story title was “A Failure in Paradise” by Muhammad Cohen who is editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming following nearly a decade as a special correspondent for Macau Business magazine who covers the casino business in Macau and throughout Asia. In his words, not mine “Saipan is a gorgeous island where an ugly casino tale is unfolding. Saipan’s casino story, already depressing, has gotten worse.” I wanted to share this because since the story we all know about the many extensions for IPI that were issued without any penalties but it seems to have been forgotten the IPI has a 2Billion Dollar obligation with 2,000 rooms in their contract with the PEOPLE of the CNMI. We also know the Government gave IPI the Northern Marianas Resort without a contract because the real intent was to use the Resort as part of their 2000 rooms but people like myself and others who just BLEW-IT-UP in the news and on Social Media. Now the Government is supposed to be issuing a new bidding request for investors – just make sure IPI and any of its subsidiaries are disqualified from bidding.
But this is an on-going story and like the article said “failure in Paradise” which could very well be eminent now give the corona virus outbreak that is originated in China. Top executives have left with the FBI making their grand entrance and the pending results. There are virtually no tourists coming from China and there is no end in sight for this to change. So maybe its time WE started thinking about finding another investor from another Tourist destination like “Japan” to take over the project with fewer rooms, especially if IPI continues to demonstrate an inability to deliver. WE the People will certainly have the right if IPI fails to meet the next deadline which we KNOW they can’t make already given our present conditions. It is not going to get better with IPI but WORSE as this virus is going to take months and even a year or more before tourists from China will be safe to travel here. This is truly another one of my “wake-up calls” and believe me I really don’t want to have to say those magic words “I Told You So” but the threat with China and IPI are REAL!
I hate to say it but this casino may really be a failure now or at least for the next year or more as there is no quick end to what has become a global pandemic and WE must be realistic and practical about the BUSINESS our GOP leaders have chosen for us WITHOUT our permission. I KNEW that forcing the casino on the People was going to come back to haunt the GOP someday I just didn’t know WHEN and WHY but it’s here and in living color. It is truly time for a tough decision to be made because we are literally drowning now and there is no rescue on the way at this point in time. I will give the CNMI until the FBI makes their case to start seriously deciding to find another investor to take over IPI’s project as one can believe IPI is looking at this very option themselves if they are good business people. Given the saturation of the coronavirus in China this is not a momentary event but an “economic & social catastrophe” that will have lasting repercussions far past a year from now. There comes a time when you have to just “cut-bait” as we are getting critically close to that point move on stop wasting time when WE can see the looming picture of a big white shark (white elephant - in economic terms) in Garapan with nothing to feed on to survive for another year or more. This is wisdom and a real solution- I Told You So!
The real catastrophe is that WE the People have Ralph DLG Torres for Governor. Our governor FINALLY decided to send the President a letter only after he declares austerity and what really got me was, he didn’t even ask for a penny, just an “advance notice of an impending crisis in the CNMI”. This truly proves how short-sighted our Governor really is as most of us regular folks KNEW almost two months ago that WE were in DEEP TROUBLE. In fact, the Governor should have known at least a month ago when HE was trying to stop flights from China that the CNMI was going to need Federal Dollars or we will be facing a real “economic catastrophe” driven by the corona virus.
This is the FIRST Governor to endorse #45 (Trump) and went to Washington when he was inaugurated for a photo with #45 and the BEST that he could do was send a letter of notice of our impending crisis! Our catastrophe DEMANDED that he “hand-delivered” that letter with a “humanitarian appeal on behalf of the people” for Federal dollars and other assistance with food products we depend upon from China. People are already talking about the “rice” supply is low. This catastrophe demands the Democrats’ “liberal progressive mind-set in being proactive in addressing the problem to directly HELP the People and our children not punish them with cuts they can’t endure” but the Governor is a Republican with a “conservative mind-set of merely managing the problem” which puts all the burden on the People. The Governor has a great reason now to get on an airplane and be on FOX and CNN for something really meaningful to the CNMI and all of America to get us some HELP given the effects and concerns for the coronavirus worldwide – WE have been cut-off GOVERNOR! The Governor can cut and cut and cut until there is nothing left to cut but what he really needs to have done last month or so when he was stopping flights is get busy fighting FOR the People and MAKE things happen FOR the People, which is the Democrat mind-set for real catastrophes.
It is no secret that our Tourism Industry and many of our businesses are now overwhelmingly dependent upon China but what got me was HOW the TRUTH about the GOP in the past came out of the Governor’s mouth when he PROFESSED that “due to a tumultuous past several decades of development and federal regulation, our economy has evolved to the current position of fragility.” He is literally admitting the GOP, who were the only ones in control of our Government, were responsible for the past 22 yrs. of our fragile, unbridled, undiversified, riotous, and uncontrolled economy and he even tried to put some of the fault on the Feds, who does he think he is fooling because its ALL the GOP’s fault for putting most of our hope in China and Gambling! The GOP has literally FAILED the CNMI in creating a healthy diverse economy and the Governor just admitted it with his gaslighting at his best but that letter wasn’t really meant for the People of the CNMI and he made a slip that I caught. If things were truly like the Governor just said then WHY did he tell us PROSPERITY so many times that tooooo many believed him – yes, voters were gaslighted and bamboozled by the Governor.
The Governor went on to state the figures in the tens of millions and how the many agencies would see cuts but he was even short sighted on that not going into the many social adverse side-effects the people are directly facing. He should have been asking the President for MONEY because for me, if the Federal Government can send hundreds of millions to foreign countries for “Political Reasons” then whey can’t the Federal Government give us a hundred million given the humanitarian crisis we are already facing and will continue to face for some time to come. Our Tourism Industry is virtually dead-in-the-water and the best our Governor can do is send a letter. WE the People need a Governor who is going to really FIGHT for the People, because any of us could have sent a letter. The Governor gladly predisposed us to his photo with the President like it meant something, well it’s time to live up to the hype he created with that photo. Does he really have the ear of the President of was he just doing what politicians do – photo ops? This is the MAIN reason that Local CNMI voters on the mainland NEED to vote for the Democrat nominee for President, as the Democrats will be FAR more willing to help us – for TRUE!
Does the Governor want to wait until we are literally drowning to ask the President for money? But the big kicker for me is the Governor still acts like he doesn’t know IPI owes the CNMI over 70 million given all the noise Senator Manglona and the Minority have made about this money. The Governor continues to be more faithful to IPI than the People as he cut work hours and services BEFORE even thinking about asking IPI to simply live up to their contract. Not only do we need to get rid of the GOP in the Legislature we need another Governor and I don’t think we will have to wait another two years if the People will put the Democrats in charge of the Legislature because the Governor needs to be impeached for what he has DONE and for what he has FAILED to Do! To be continued: One People One Direction for a Democrat Government!