Monday, January 18, 2010

Governor Ben Fitial - Not Ashamed

ben fitialIt has been nearly a week since the Marianas Variety reported that Northern Mariana Islands Governor Ben Fitial broke a suspected human smuggler under US Marshall custody who had been denied bail because she was a flight risk out of jail and had four police officers bring her to his mansion so she could administer a massage to sooth his back pain.

On Saturday the Saipan Tribune ran a story with the befuddling headline "Reactions mixed as blogosphere, news outlets pick apart 'massage' incident." If you read the article however, you would see that the mix of reactions range from wanting the governor to "resign, be recalled, or be impeached."

I wouldn't call those reactions mixed. I'd call them decidedly one-sided.

When asked how he would explain the issue to members of Congress in Washington, DC, Representative Greg Sablan went on record as saying, “I think it's not right but I'd also say it's an isolated incident and should not happen again.”


Unfortunately for him, were Representative Sablan to make such a representation he'd be lying. According to the Marianas Variety, this was not the first time Fitial busted this particular masseuse out of jail to administer to his back pain. She was picked up between March and June of last year for loitering and solicitation. In Garapan. Anyone who has ever been in Garapan after dark knows what that means.

And all the governor had to do was make a phone call and she was delivered to his doorstep.

This was not an isolated event; A clear pattern of deliberate abuse of power is beginning to emerge.

According to the Marianas Variety, the manager of the spa where the masseuse worked was completely unaware of what was going on at the governor's mansion.

This means the governor was either illegally employing a foreign worker, which is unethical at best, or if he didn't pay her, using his office to unjustly enrich himself, which is even worse.

He has also unjustly enriched himself with taxpayer dollars. He used Department of Public Safetly manpower, vehicles, and fuel to deliver a federal detainee to his residence and the Attorney General, an office which exists to prosecute criminals, is being used instead to defend one.

It has been nearly a week and there has been no teary-eyed apology, no admission of fault, and no sign of remorse. There hasn't even been a press conference to address the issue.

Governor Fitial has shamed himself, shamed his office, and shamed us.

Governor Fitial should resign.

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