CNMI: Worse than US...
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CNMI: Worse than USVI

Posts: 2138
Noble Member
Topic starter

If anybody needs to feel better about the USVI, just read some of the stuff at For a US possession, it’s pretty jaw-dropping.

Some background from Wikipedia: “Saipan is the largest island and capital of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean…The 2000 census population was 62,392…The CNMI joined the United States in November 1986. During negotiations, the CNMI and the USA agreed that the CNMI would be exempted from certain federal laws, including some concerning labor and immigration.”

The author of saipansucks is anonymous, but the site is well-ranked in a Google search of Saipan, and it’s linked from about 3000 other sites, and is sometimes referenced by mainstream media, so I suspect that there’s a lot of truth to it. An ex-resident of Saipan, in a posting at tripadvisor says, “While the author does not take a scholarly approach to his subject, the piece is horrifyingly accurate.” is a long page. Some excerpts and paraphrasing:
- Nepotism rules on the islands. Fueled by money paid by American taxpayers and diverted to the far-off territory, politicians run for office primarily for the sake of being in a position to appoint their relatives to high-paying sinecures. Politics in the CNMI is a blood sport. In an election year – which includes nearly every year, since there are primaries when there are no general elections – campaigning starts on Memorial Day, with political signs littering the roadsides. During the interminable election seasons government employees commonly take leaves of absence or sick time from work and dedicate all their time to getting either themselves or their relatives elected. And what do the campaigns consist of? Nothing more than photographs of the candidates with their family names exploding on the landscape. Campaign platforms are non-existent. Elections are family popularity contests and nothing more. One Senator regularly runs for reelection under the slogan "Why not!" The candidate offers not a single reason why he should be given anyone's vote. He is routinely reelected.
- The "success" of the Legislature is measured solely on the number of bills introduced and laws passed, regardless of their constitutionality or their ultimate demise. One member of the Legislature, for example, introduced a bill during the Summer of 2002 to amend the CNMI Constitution to prohibit anyone other than persons of Northern Marianas descent from running for political office. Of course, the prohibition is innate, since nobody else has the slightest chance of being elected.
- Vote-buying is openly argued to constitute acceptable conduct.
- Juries are the trump card of every local politico or public official brought to trial. Defendants know with certainty that they or a friend will have a relative or dependent government employee on the jury. Faced with blatant intimidation by defendants’ supporters glaring at them from the gallery – even the governor showed up recently in the trial of some local drunks who shot to death a 7-year-old girl at a family barbecue, since the local drunks were family members of the lieutenant governor – jurors commonly acquit even in the face of overwhelming evidence of guilt. They know which side their bread is buttered on.
- Bribe-taking is the island way
- When Magellan landed in the Marianas in 1521 he named them "Las Islas de los Ladrones," or "Islands of Thieves." Nothing has changed. Theft begins in the government, but doesn't end there. On the other end of the spectrum, burglaries are so common that some people reportedly bolt their furniture and appliances to their floors. Dishonesty and thievery in the Mariana Islands have been elevated to an art form. Far from being the object of scorn or criticism, personal and public dishonesty is admired – as long as the perpetrator profits from his or her activity and gets away with it.
- Racism in the CNMI is rampant. Laws are passed granting specific legal benefits to members of the indigenous ethnic groups, Chamorros and Carolinians. Local preference laws cover everything from land ownership to employment. "Locals," in any disagreement with U.S. mainlanders, will disparage them with epithets like "haole" and "goddam American." Of note, the locals all hold U.S. passports and depend for their lives and livelihoods on local preference laws and federal government handouts. Many, having stolen vast amounts through corruption and graft, own houses and property in the U.S. Mainland, while other Americans are prohibited by law from owning land in the CNMI.
- CNMI scammers regularly lure paying foreigners to Saipan with false promises of high-paying employment, education and US citizenship.
- Although they have profited mightily from their relationship with the U.S., the locals almost uniformly despise Americans for their stupidity in supporting them with federal money.
- Employers, unable to fire housemaids, would have no choice but to kill them. There really was no other way to get rid of them, and the consequences of murder were non-existent.
- There is arguably more incest and familial intermarriage in the CNMI than anywhere else in the U.S. Spousal abuse is also common. Stories of sexual child molestation appear regularly -- almost daily -- in the local papers.
- Businesses in the CNMI employing more than a small number of people are required to hire locals to make up 20 percent of their work forces. The locals, however, are employed mostly in no-show or do-little positions, collecting income based simply on their "local" heritage. They are not expected to work and they do not work.
- The educational system in Saipan is abysmal. The Northern Marianas traditionally ranks at the very bottom of any list of students taking standardized tests.
- The tap water in Saipan is undrinkable, in spite of receiving 80 to 100 inches of rain a year. Many of the beaches are “red-flagged,” closed due to pollution, every day of the year.
- The inefficiency and corruption infecting the Marianas are monumental.

Posted : November 24, 2009 4:21 am
Posts: 956
Prominent Member

I've never been there so I'm not sure if this is an exaggeration or not...but I suspect that the problems are exaggerated for the sake of publicity. If someone was hell bent on writing a negative piece on the USVI filled with hyperbole they could do so and the result would look much like this. Unfortunately, many items from this site ring true here as well, although I would never say its as bad as this author makes CNMI out to be.

Interesting document though...makes you realize how we need to be vigilant to let our problems not blossom into something larger.


Posted : November 24, 2009 5:26 pm
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