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OPINION | ‘An unprecedented challenge’

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The following are the governor’s welcoming remarks, via Zoom, during the CNMI Fiscal Response Summit’s opening plenary session on April 23, 2020:

GOOD morning, and thank you all for your time in joining the opening of this unique and important summit.

Today, we are working toward accomplishing something new. We are, for the first time, trying to right the direction of the Commonwealth’s finances after accumulation of obligations, expenses, and practices that have been left unchecked since the Trust Territory government.

Understanding the government finances in a regular time is a difficult task, and we have teams of specialists within the CNMI government that have devoted their careers to navigating this so we can provide public services. These times are anything but ordinary, and we are dealing with challenges we in the CNMI and the world have never experienced.

Understanding where we are today requires being willing to take the time to understand the complexity involved with managing the government’s finances. It takes a willingness to commit to search for answers that are not simple.

I know we would like to have a simple solution and a simple, easily understood answer, but looking solely for a simple solution does not get us to a proper solution that will last beyond our efforts.

We also must be willing to let go of our individual self-interests for ourselves, or organizations or our branches. This is an unprecedented event to tackle an unprecedented challenge.

I am ready to work on solutions that are meaningful and complex and to make the sacrifices that are necessary for the greater good, and I ask that all participants do the same in this effort.

We have a chance here to come to a mutual understanding of these issues, and I thank the Graduate School USA and the Office of Insular Affairs for their support in developing this framework for us to collaborate toward reforms and viability going forward.

We have all voiced at one time or another our thoughts on needs for reform — that government is too bloated, that we must reduce expenses, that we must increase revenue. Now is the time to put these thoughts into action.

I believe we can do it, and I look forward to working toward coming together, both public and private, minority and majority, to put our community first and charting our path forward together.

Thank you, Si Yu’us Ma’ase, and Ghilisow.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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