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Editorials | Moving forward

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Pretty please

IN light of a global pandemic, international travel restrictions and a nationwide shortage of healthcare workers, we’re hoping that the relevant federal authorities would allow 18 CHCC healthcare workers on CW-1 permits to remain in the CNMI while they go through the renewal process. 

CHCC, like various other local and federal agencies, is dealing with many pressing and vexing matters; but rules, unfortunately, are rules. USDOL and USCIS — both of which are tackling gargantuan tasks — are also trying to do their jobs as mandated by law.

Knowing that they have to work with faraway federal offices and/or officials, all employers in the CNMI, including CHCC, must keep their eye on the proverbial ball to avoid last-minute crises.

To be sure, current federal labor and immigration laws and rules as applied to the CNMI leave a lot to be desired. Happily, they can be amended. Perhaps once this year’s U.S. elections are over, the CNMI can again appeal to the federal government’s sense of fairness. The CNMI can, once again, remind federal officials that implementing a (broken) immigration system in the Commonwealth must, as much as possible, reflect the realities of life in tiny, remote islands with a small population and one hospital.

The chamber of commerce president is right

CANDIDATES running for the House or Senate should listen to the Saipan Chamber of Commerce president.  The CNMI needs legislation that promotes economic growth. And such measures will mostly involve the repeal of current laws that impose onerous costs and other burdens on local businesses that also have to comply with the more onerous costs and other burdens imposed by federal authorities.

“Just as the government does not shoulder the sole responsibility for problems in the community,” the chamber president said, “the private sector cannot be tasked solely with providing the solution through increases in taxes and fines whenever the government experiences a shortfall.”

The Legislature, among other things, should “continue to review legislation that promotes economic growth such as business relief [pertaining to] taxation and certain fees, as well as decreasing the government’s red tape in business regulation.” 

“By making it easier to conduct business,” the chamber president added, “the Legislature will create an environment where businesses can thrive, pay higher [business gross revenue taxes], generating more revenue for our government and our economy.”

Take note that the chamber president is not advocating such a totally discredited but enduringly popular quack-remedy as allowing politicians in government to favor certain politically well connected enterprises while imposing higher costs on consumers and, ultimately, higher taxes on most everyone else. The government and the politicians who run it have done such a marvelous job with CHCC, CUC, PSS, M/V Luta, etc., etc, so we might as well allow them to run the business community, too? 

No. A thousand times no.

Regarding the Hyatt land lease extension

IF a certain law or rule is preventing DPL from sealing a new land lease deal with Hyatt, then that law or rule should be amended. It is not in the CNMI’s best interest to lose another hotel investor, especially Hyatt, a global brand name that employs many local residents. 

Moreover, considering the state of the global economy, and the dismal projections for the tourism industry, it would be senseless to demand upfront, hefty payments from Hyatt and other struggling, barely surviving businesses on island.

Business take all the risks. They must pay their workers, suppliers and other vendors on time whether business is doing good or not. They must pay applicable government taxes and fees, and comply with CNMI and federal rules, however pointless and unreasonable. In Hyatt’s case, all it is asking is to be allowed to continue doing business in a community that it has served well through all these years.

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