Editorial: MSA’s $8M contract could have provided $1,300 grant to every person on Rota and Tinian instead

Every man, woman, and child who lives in Rota and Tinian could have received about $1,300 cash each with the money the former Torres administration instead decided to obligate to Marianas Southern Airways.

(Pictures below depict the price lists of certain groceries at a store in Tinian. The picture was taken today)

Among the chief defenses for the contract by MSA’s officials was the desire to reduce the cost of inter-island travel for residents of Rota and Tinian, who already struggle with astronomically high prices of gas, utilities, and basic staples of living. According to the sole source contract, which has since been canceled by the new Palacios administration, in return for the subsidy, MSA was to cap the prices of airfare at below-market rates for a few months.

But what if the Torres administration had decided to invest that $8 million another way? Rather than subsidizing a new domestic carrier, whose president happens to be friends with former Gov. Ralph Torres and his brothers (and the purchaser of $771,000 in land leases from Vincent Torres), what if Mr. Torres had instead invested that money directly into every man, woman, and child who lives in Rota and Tinian?

Each man, woman, and child could have received a $1,300 cash stimulus; or

Each man, woman, and child could have received $25 every week for a year; or

Each man, woman, and child could have received 13 cases of whole chicken; or

Each man, woman, and child could have received 27 sacks of 50-lbs. Diamond G Calrose rice.

But this deal – conducted under the table and unknown to the public until Secretary of Finance Tracy Norita had the guts to gut the contract – was never about what was good for the peoples of Rota and Tinian, or the entire Commonwealth for that matter. There was no consideration for their welfare, their sacrifice, or their ability to survive.

For the Torres administration, it was about cronyism, greed, transactions, and absolute corruption. And anyone connected to that corruption must, must go to prison.


  • Mabel Doge Luhan

      03/11/2023 at 1:45 PM

    You obviously don’t know anything about government operations. Giving out checks to people instead of a single payment to MSA would’ve been logistically impossible. Do you know how difficult it is to collect six thousand kickbacks?

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