Under the Pala Pala VII
Governor Fitial Should Resign
The next time I log onto the Internet to read the online version of the Marianas Variety or the Saipan Tribune I would like to read the following headlines, not necessarily in this order:
“Unessential Government Employees Let Go”
“Unqualified Department Secretaries and Division Heads Replaced”
“Dog Shelter Construction Begins”
“Legislature Passes Balanced Budget”
“Legislature Votes to Reduce Legislature Size, Spending”
Remember when Secretary of Lands and Natural Resources Ignacio Dela Cruz asked the Pew Charitable Trusts for $300 million per year “in cash with no strings attached” while on camera? That kind of behavior turns off investors and I’m sure it wasn’t the only time a Fitial Administration official has used his position to ask for a payoff.
Dela Cruz starts at 2:33
This kind of behavior in our government has to stop. I am tired of reading headlines like, “Human smuggling defendant is governor’s masseuse.” That’s right, in case you missed the January 14, 2010 headline in the Marianas Variety, Governor 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.
I mean it when I say I want Governor Fitial to succeed. We all succeed if he succeeds. If he improves the way government functions, government services will improve. The economy would improve if he ended the political graft and corruption permeating his administration; the environment would improve if he enforced our existing environmental laws; and crime would decrease if he properly funded the Department of Public Safety and if the Attorney General Office prosecuted criminals with the same gusto they attack the buffet at the Hyatt. We would all win.
Governor Fitial has the power to stop the Shenanigans. If he does so life will get better; continue with the status quo and we will all suffer.
Getting back to Rub-a-dub-dub-gate, this will have serious implications for all of our lives, not just the governor’s should he be convicted.
Governor Fitial will only be in power for a maximum of 4 years, 11 months, and 27 days (assuming he’s not impeached, convicted, or resigns, not that I’m counting). Some very big decisions concerning our relationship with the United States are being made right now and I wish our current governor wasn’t screwing things up for future leaders. I would like to think that when the younger, more educated voters who have seen more of the world get their chance to lead, they will do a better job. But we are going to have a very big hole to dig ourselves out of if this governor refuses to stop digging. (Perhaps the cause of his back pain?)
One of the first questions that comes to mind regarding Rub-a-dub-dub-gate is how will this affect the Chinese and Russian visa waivers? The Chamber of Commerce has been asking the Department of Homeland Security to include China and Russia in a Mariana Islands-only visa waiver program to benefit our economy. DHS has a number of concerns regarding this. This is a very important issue.
Governor Fitial argues there should be local control of immigration, going as far to sue federal government for control, yet there he is breaking out of jail a prisoner being held on 22 counts of attempting to bring an unauthorized alien into the United States.
Remember, this wasn’t some Joe Nobody removing someone from court-ordered US Marshall custody; the duly elected leader of the Commonwealth did this. It would have been another story if it had been say, um, any other living person on the island besides the governor.
Is this scandal going to engender the trust and confidence of the Department of Homeland Security? Or are they going to think they are dealing with a third world strong man lying through his false teeth? Probably the latter.
Goodbye visa waivers.
Governor Fitial has also violated the public’s trust. This controversy begs so many questions.
Why is the Department of Public Safety using public funds (manpower, vehicles, gasoline) to deliver Chinese girls to the governor’s mansion?
Everyone on Saipan knows the Chinese massage parlors are fronts for prostitution. Was this a massage or a “massage?”
Does the masseuse have a work permit to “perform” this kind of work? If not, why is the Governor hiring illegal aliens?
Was she paid? If so, what did she do with the money when she got back to jail? If not, did the governor use his office to unjustly enrich himself?
And most importantly, who in their right mind would break someone under US Marshall custody out of jail so they could get a massage? Are there no other girls able to perform a “massage?”
These are questions the public deserves to have answered.
And even though we are only three days into the second Fitial term, it is not too early to call for his resignation. We shouldn’t have to impeach him. We shouldn’t have to wait for him to be indicted. He has shamed himself, shamed his office, and shamed us.
Governor Fitial should resign.
Under the Pala Pala is the weekly commentary of Angelo O’Connor Villagomez. To subscribe via email visit www.AngeloVillagomez.com.