I thought Rachel Ray's garbage bowl at $20 a pop was audacious, but boy have I got a doozie for you. It appears that you can no longer purchase your birth certificate at the court for $10, and that the new price at CHC for a sealed and stamped verification of live birth is $20.00. I called the records office to inquire about concerns from parents who were misinformed that schools would no longer honor previously issued certificates and found out some good and bad news. It seemed parents were lining up to buy new certificates fearing that their children would be turned away from classes if they didn't have this new official certificate.
The good news is the old stamped/sealed certificates are still very much valid, especially in the schools. The bad news is the price is going up, way up. I was informed that because there is a new eagle design and some color added, that the cost will be $50.00 beginning next month (December 15). I was on the phone, but I still did a double take. $50.00! I asked, "is the only reason for the mark up in price the new design?", the answer was yes. I wanted to ask, "are you sure?" but I though I might have offended the very nice lady on the phone.
I did some research and found that the average cost for birth certificates in the CONUS ranges anywhere from $10 to $50, so it's not like we're being taken...exactly. There are customized, commemorative and heirloom birth certificates available for upwards of $120.00. I'm curious to see how our new fancy eagle design compares to the average birth certificate and if it really warrants such an increase in cost, especially in these hard times.
Speaking of design, isn't an eagle completely inappropriate for an official CNMI document? I'm not advocating that we put Saipanda on our birth certificates or anything, but can't we come up with a relevant compromise on a logo? Unless of course it's an eagle wearing a mwar and waving Håfa Adai.