Monday, October 06, 2008

Taotao Tano Attacks Federalization Lawsuit

Cruz criticizes Willens for ‘embarrassing’ lawsuit vs feds
Tuesday, 07 October 2008
By Junhan B. Todeno
Marianas Variety News

TAOTAO Tano president Gregorio S. Cruz Jr. is questioning the integrity of the governor’s special legal counsel Howard P. Willens for urging the administration to sue the U.S. government over the federalization law.

“Today, after 36 years you are saying something is wrong with our Covenant and are now suing the federal government on something that has not taken affect,” Cruz said in his letter to Willens.

Willens was the legal counsel of the Marianas Political Status Commission in the Covenant negotiations from 1972 to 1976.

He was also the legal counsel to the First Constitutional Convention.

Cruz said that since the inauguration of the CNMI government on Jan. 9, 1978, contentious issues and controversies have surrounded the commonwealth.

Local U.S. citizens in the commonwealth, he added, have been pushed in their own backyard by the controllers of their islands’ economy.

“All labor fees collected were intended to be appropriated to Northern Marianas College for the education, training and certification of our local people to eventually takeover positions in the private sector held by non-resident foreign guest workers,” he said.

“The program was eventually derailed and deliberately shut down simply due to self-interest greed and the preference of nonresident guest workers in the job market. A job market Gov. Fitial was well aware off and participated during his tenure as a member of our legislative branch, all the way to being the speaker of the House representing his business constituents and not my local people,” Cruz said.

He said the Fitial administration will not stand a chance in its “embarrassing lawsuit against the federal government.”

The commonwealth has opposed “federal takeover” numerous times in the past, he said, because the local people believed that it was unsustainable and impractical.

“We maintain that [federalizing immigration] now without appropriate accommodations of our economic and social needs, when our economy is so weak, will be counterproductive and is certainly not supported by the will of our people,” he added.

But “we also do not feel that the ‘no modification’ position of our governor is productive, reasonable or in the best interest of the people of the Northern Mariana Islands and the people of the United States,” Cruz said.

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