Last year, the Northern Mariana Islands were wrecked by Supertyphoon Yutu. It’s interesting to compare and contrast mainstream media reporting on the Yutu disaster in comparison with Puerto Rico.
Most notably, other than some low-key coverage of the event as it occurred, there has been almost no media coverage at all of what happened in the Northern Mariana Islands. In order to get news from the area, I have to resort to sites like Radio New Zealand and local newspapers. This is in contrast with Puerto Rico, where the media regularly produces “human interest” articles highlighting the suffering of the population and blaming Trump for the island’s devastation.
The Northern Mariana Islands, on the other hand, are much less important politically and also much pro-Republican than Puerto Rico, so the media cannot be bothered to write about them.
Currently, the islands are suffering from a major cash crunch as expenses from reconstruction and economic problems related to the hurricane pile up:
“The state of cash flow is scary, as we are really low on cash,” Atalig told the lawmakers. But he added that payroll and retirement obligations remain the government’s priorities.
He said revenue for the first quarter of FY 2019 was $45.4 million which is 4.7 percent less than the projection. In the second quarter the government collected $25 million only or about 20 percent of the projection, he added.
House Minority Leader Edwin Propst raised concern about the 2.5 overtime pay that some cabinet members recently received while “many ordinary government employees who are in the frontline of recovery have yet to receive theirs.”
A Radio New Zealand article from last week sheds a little more light on the subject, showing that the island’s economy is having the same problems as most of the other Caribbean islands hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017:
A combination of tepid tourism numbers and record-low taxes from the lone casino operator on Saipan has placed the Northern Marianas in a financial crunch.
The CNMI is expecting a budget shortfall of $US29 million this fiscal year, as the islands continue to rebound from the destruction of Super Typhoon Yutu, which hit Saipan and Tinian in October last year.
In March this year the CNMI welcomed a total of 32,295 compared to 53,714 in March 2018.
Our correspondent said the government is also concerned it will not meet its $US23 million obligation to retirees this year.
It’s my hope that with these posts, I can get word out about what is going on the territories to at least a few more people. Our corrupt and feckless media can’t be counted on to cover them except when they think it benefits the Democrats in some way.