Easter past and the entire family (on my wife's side) did not camp out on Mt. Tapochau as has been for the past years. My old folks left for the mainland followed by my daughter's boyfriend who left for Texas as he joined the Air Force.
Then there's the 3 day 2nd Refaluwasch Symposium held last week from Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I was able to attend all the 3 days' function and one subject that I really find interesting was the monument that is suppose to be created (right here) in our very own backyard. With a stroke of the United States' President, this area (containing 3 islands-Ascuncion, Urakas and Maug) to the most northern tip of this Archipelago, will unfortunately become "a monument, a sanctuary, a not take zone" and if that's really not a mouthful, how about "a Federal takeover" of what is and has been a playground for local fishermen who go as far north looking to a good catch to bring back to their families. With a stroke of the United States' Presidents' pen (be it permanent marker or a cheap government issued pen), the 3 islands including 200 miles of the vast surrounding water around them, becomes "federalist" where locals no longer can fish-let alone, take anything-A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G and E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
PEWS says creating such a monument will bring tremendous $$$ to the CNMI that will greatly assist the local economy but has yet to identify where this is coming from or how much. That it will bring more tourist from the world all over who will in turn spend buku bucks just to go and see this monument but what is there to see other than the vast body of water surrounding these 3 islands. Are the tourists or visitors if I may, really are going to dive the deepest water in the world called the Marianas Trench, proudly wear and advertise something identifying them as "I DOVE THE MARIANAS TRENCH" or something like that.
Anyone (including you and I) can make up the same design except, maybe put a little manta'kiya on it, print it up on the back of a thousand or so t-shirts and sell them to our visitors who either come out here to snorkel or dive the local dive spots as they too will be considered to have dived the same Marianas Trench. Heck, our islands are close enough to the trench-that qualifies one to wear such an apparel already.
Personally, I think PEWS should seriously look at the 2 bomb pits on Tinian and work on having it declared a National Monument. These served a great deal during WWII which eventually brought the war to an end. Concentrate on giving these locations a major face lift to include the old runways (that can be utilized by the anticipated military build-up) remodel or rebuild the old Japanese communication facilities and bunkers and once included in the list of National Monuments, people all over will start coming. Now that's worth calling a monument, something that can be easily visited by plenty and not just by a handful of visitors.
Leave the 3 most northern islands alone! Don't even think of them and their surroundings as a National Monument because they're not. They're our islands and our livelihood.