MY fellow retirees, pension beneficiaries and the entire Retirement Fund membership, I know we are troubled. The perilous verdict on our livelihood may happen soon. But do not waver and delay in our actions. Time is of the essence. I beg you to come forward and participate in the discussions.
This is very painful, I know. We are at the moment when financial problems are affecting the entire world. I know and feel what many of you are thinking. The dark days will certainly happen if we maintain the status quo.
After you read my letters to the MV editor, I’ll respect whatever you may think of them. I’m not doing this for myself and my family. Just look at all the criticism against me for expressing my opinion. Why should I continue to risk my reputation? Because I believe with conviction that there is hope for the Retirement Fund.
The only viable option is to allow for the reduction of benefits proportionate to the available resources. The CNMI government must also pay what it owes the Fund.
I have an enormous inner knowledge of how the CNMI government failed in its obligations.
The Retirement Fund was terribly hurt when a law was passed to stop remitting what was due to the Fund.
Obviously, the CNMI government dishonored its contractual obligations to the Retirement Fund. That is why the court declared that law unconstitutional. The court also ordered an award of $230 million that the CNMI government must pay the Retirement Fund.
So what prospective investor will trust this kind of attitude from our leaders, tell me.
I ask you to wake-up and face reality. The trust was lost!
Who was courageous enough to stand up and protect the Retirement Fund? Wasn’t it the members themselves?
I don’t need your sympathy but members need to speak out to support the reduction of benefits.
Here are other things retirees can do:
We need to lobby our elected representatives. They are the one’s creating the laws for the Retirement Fund.
Be active in the Commonwealth Retiree Association.
Attend Retirement Fund board meetings and ask questions. Let’s get informed about the Fund from now on.
Attend Judge Govendo’s hearings regarding the Fund’s case.
I ask all elderly retired members to discuss the need to protect the Fund during their meetings at church or elsewhere.
Place informative posters around the island. Go on television and radio for question and answer interviews. Call the assistance of the media to interview elderly retirees who will discuss the importance of maintaining their pensions.
I opposed and still oppose the idea of the pension obligation bond or POB. You cannot solve a debt/deficit problem by incurring more debt/deficit. You’ll just create more burdens on the commonwealth. Refinancing a debt will increase not decrease your obligations. A big no to a POB!
I also encourage Fund members to form a Political Action Committee that will place legislators “on notice.” CNMI retirees are a strong voting bloc!
Likewise, we should urge the governor to veto the derivative action bill. Do not allow third-party special interest groups to intervene in the Fund’s business.
My fellow retirees and members we need to get tough. The time to wake-up is NOW!
God bless the Retirement Fund and the CNMI!
NOEL M. SORIA
Virginia Beach, Virginia