I saw many dignitaries and businessmen from Guam while we were in Saipan for the inauguration of the new government. It was a day of great hope for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, as the governor’s office and the Commonwealth Legislature were sworn-in upon a mandate of sweeping change.
That change, we have learned since that day, will be a slow and painful process filled with sacrifice by the people of the Commonwealth. The past seven years, our brothers and sisters there have endured the “pillaging and plundering” of their government by the previous governor, Ralph Torres. Those are words from the new chief executive, Governor Arnold Palacios, whose transition team reported corruption so corrosive, there are few options to the survival of the government this fiscal year.
Along the way those seven dreadful years of the Torres regime, ill-motivated politicians and businessmen from Guam decided to take part in the plunder. Now, the people of the Commonwealth are footing the bill.
I saw many good people from Guam at the inaugural festivities. People like Simon Sanchez and Glenn Leon Guerrero, who were there to cheer on their friend and classmate from the Father Duenas Memorial School Class of 1974. The executive of Bella Wings Aviation was there; and his products and services can enhance the economy. There was a doctor, who advocates veterans health; his services may be needed. But there were others, and they know who they are and what motives they have, who I saw and just knew were lurking for the next opportunity to make money off the people of the Commonwealth without equal or greater value to trade.
We are comforted in knowing the Palacios-Apatang administration, and the Commonwealth Legislature have their guard up about anyone who wants to have anything to do with the power and money of the people’s government. The people have gone through so much already. The people have to pay for the sins of the past. It would be a travesty of justice if yet another greedy person from Guam milks the coffers without anything of true value to offer in return.