Monday, October 26, 2009

8 is a lucky number, yes?

The eight (8) come together this past weekend. Boni and I shared a wonderful weekend as it played out a little hectic, but in the end, rewarding as new lessons were taught, feeling and emotions were let out to show how love was in the air at our family home in Papago, Saipan.

Our oldest, Tony, with his drivers license was able to go out on Friday to the movies, he saw the movie "SAW VI", I am envious I love the SAW movies... The rest stayed at home, relaxed knowing full well that we will have activities set up over Saturday and Sunday. A few days we have them all, this is the first picture of everyone together... They are all growing so fast, one day Boni and I will sit back and say to ourselves that we have accomplished so much for our deserving children and one day I look forward to everyone coming back to visit expressing their joy and happiness of a love that they share altogether that was instilled by both Boni and I.

The day continues as food, drinks, deserts and games entertained everyone at Mikaela's 1st birthday party held at the Giovanni's Hyatt Regency Saipan. Boni and I are her godparents, and low and behold I was asked to show exactly how low I can go... Without my girls, Peyton and Wayannie, I probably would not have gone that far throughout the limbo competition. In the end, we got second place, team work paid off.

Yup, it paid off alright, the payoff came with a soar back and thighs... Ooops, has it been that long since my last workout?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Set Your Examples...

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” is an American Proverb used over and over again in topics of sexuality, sauces, and in general lament terms of society. My use of this quote is on the basis of society.

Year after year our Commonwealth has faced many challenges, all of which require tough decisions to make and whether they are the right ones or the wrong ones, we must all remember we are a young nation learning to crawl before we can walk. Some may disagree in what I am about to say, but in my personal views, I address only what I believe to have seen and experienced.


I would like to start of my comment on the very fact that the Commonwealth Development Authority (CDA) is working on the development of a business incubator, personally it’s about time! Isn’t this what the agency is spearheading, encouraging small business development? How far will this go? A set up of the incubator is a great move, but you must also remember that many people in the Commonwealth who may have a desire to establish a small business cannot fork up the necessary 20% requirement for funding, will there be a plan to stimulate this? I for one believe that it is the middle class men and women who make up the economy of any nation. It is solely on the basis that they are the hard-working individuals who look forward to the American Dream, but then again, dreams are complacent, and in most cases, what is already at hand is enough.

With CDA in this movement, I congratulate the positive reconfiguration of the defunct Pacific Gardenia Hotel. The next steps would be on how to maximize the use of this facility as well offer cash flow packages for serious small business entrepreneurs.

On Retirement Fund

An accrued liability of over $1B is so hard to swallow. As I was growing up, the government retirement plan was the way to go. Everyone wanted this security, the plan, the benefits, and the desire to live comfortably after serving your years of requirements have become the “Commonwealth Dream”. Today this dream has become the nightmare. There have been many talks on how to make this change from a liability to a profit generating agency that can be self-sustainable. Purchases in stock market to manage cash flow, but that’s a gamble, the new policies of a redefined class retirement plan, but that too still possesses the old class benefits if paid for to meet the required amounts, the increase in retirement contributions from employees today, but then again, will the fund survive? What will happen to the funds invested by each and every individual, and lastly the new DC plan, which is quite the same as a 40lK plan. There is also saying that “if it is not broken don’t change it? This is in reference to the 401K plan. Private companies use this form of retirement plan for their employees, it is merely the employees who decide THEIR contribution to THEIR pension.
I am sure there are many difficulties hindering movement with the fund, but with all due respect, it is the mere valued benefits that have sucked the funds dry over the years. These benefits include but are limited to the 20-30% increment bonuses, the double-dips when they were accepted, the allowance of the funds to transfer to adopted grandchildren or great grandchildren from those who have retired and have passed on.

These benefits are great for those families and individuals who are receiving it. It is not your fault that you are subjected to my topic, but again, I look at the Commonwealth and not on my very own interest.

On Commonwealth Ports Authority

The CPA had a qualified Executive Director walk out of its doors prior to his contract expiring on the basis of Board micro-managing. How shameful could this be? Has the Board forgotten what their fiduciary duties are to the agency and not that of controlling the very movement of day to day operations? I can see Former executive Director Camacho’s frustration, the Board is designed to regulate policies and procedures as well account for the expenditures of the agency at a certain level, but not to uphold the operation in the clasp of their hands. I recall several complaints about former chair Rex Palacios on how he was going to or has set up an office for his own at the ports. I find this quite odd. If he wanted that office, he should have applied for the Executive Director Position and not be a board member chair.

It is sad to see that the government through some agencies is moving as if they belong to an individual or group members of a board for personal gain or personal acknowledgment in power. Remember the Public Lands Board? Now that was ridiculous.

On New Investment for the Commonwealth

On and on again you hear about the sales of a green card in Asia if you set up a business here. Kilili addresses this as a concern, the government keeps a steady hand on the basis of nothing is done wrong as of yet.

However, we do not know exactly what is being said out their. A company would say “invest with us in the CNMI, $100K - $250K and YOU will GET a U.S. Green Card! Hmm, to me that is appealing if I so desire to have the green card. Yet under false pretense, this would have a negative connotation on the islands we call home, are we allowing outside influence to depict what the Spaniards call these lands many moons ago” Islas de los ladrones? Where is our national pride? In our current time, it is these foreign sharks that have a keen interest on making a quick buck by utilizing a rumor of green card opportunities in the CNMI.

The end result is, we are the ones who will be called the liars and thieves for sucking up the funds from the hard-working middle class citizens from other nations looking for their American Dream!

As I close out this post, there are so many other areas that have issues that could be addressed like our CHC, DPS, CAC, WAO, but I’ll save that for a later time. If we do practice and observe the American Proverb “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”? We may be more susceptible to being mindful of our actions.

About Me

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Just a simple man who loves and cares for his family. Personal views with life in general, business and challenges in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Sharing what we have through publications BISON Relations push out for everyone to keep abreast of what's happening in our beloved island home, Saipan.