Tuesday, March 25, 2008

202. Whom do you trust?

Governor Benigno R. Fitial and Lt. Governor Timothy Villagomez have announced their intention to seek another term in office.

Their last election's slogan was "BETTER TIMES." Any one who's been living in the CNMI can attest to the failure of that promise. Personally, I'm not sure I can take much more "better times."

On the other hand, the Pew Charitable Trust has a great benefit to offer the CNMI, with a marine sanctuary protecting the waters-i.e. the Marianas Trench-- around three of our northern islands (Maug, Asuncion and Uracas). I've seen programs on PBS sponsored by the Pew Trust. Their web-site shows them to be a well-established and beneficial organization. Their work is designed to help the environment, including all people within it.

How could we get so lucky?

I mean, this is working in Hawaii, at the world's (now second) largest marine conservation habitat in the world. In Hawaii, they navigated sticky issues like commerical fishing, with a phase out over time as a concession to fishing interests, an exception for traditional subsistence Hawaiian fishing in recognition of the culture, and an exception for scientific research fish collection. They even got President George W. Bush's full support.

So we could have this happen here! Save our environment. Create a larger scientific community with money and research coming in. Protect our indigenous rights. All funded by the Pew Trust!

Aahh, BUT--- how could we have an Administration foolish enough to turn down this opportunity? What could explain the recent failure of our Administration to even meet with the people from the Pew Trust to hear their proposal? Because this is what's happening now.

Perhaps because the Pew Charitable Trust is an honorable organization? Offering no opportunity for kickbacks? no personal benefits? Am I too cynical? Are there real reasons to completely ignore this type of suggestion?

You can follow the unfolding story at Angelo's blog. The comments at Lil Hammerhead's show some nasty opposition to the proposal, but I'm still waiting for rational, logical dialogue on the merits of the proposal. I'd like to hear about research about current use and objectives/goals for fish conservation from WESPAC. What would the true impact be? As Cinta says here, give Pew a chance. [Her rational approach raises my hope.]

Whatever the relative merits of the proposal, at least we should honestly investigate and discuss it. The President of the U.S. spent more than an hour of his time watching a video and learning about the Hawaiian marine sanctuary project. Is our Governor busier than the President of the U.S.? Are we in the CNMI less deserving of this type of investment so that we must run away from it? Or do we, too, honor our islands, our waters, our people and culture, and welcome others who will help us on such a course?

For me, it's all about real "better times."


lil_hammerhead said...

Thank you Jane.

Saipan Writer said...

Really, I should be thanking you. You've taken a lot of ugly on your blog--all for an ingenious way of supporting a worthwhile project. Go figure.