2020 Editorials

15 May - GDP: Administration Can't Defend the Undefendable

The letter in the Post today is another “Thank me. I’m welcome!” moment from the LG/T Administration. I understand why Jayne Flores, one of the top media specialists in the Leon Guerrero Tenorio Administration (even though she in not in a “media role” at the moment) stood up to defend the “undefendable.” Someone had to do it and the current media team; still smarting over the “MUTEGATE” debacle, isn’t up to it.
I say “undefendable” because in a democracy taxpayer funds are meant to be used for the benefit of the “many,” and not just a few politically well connected INsiders.
In Flores’s letter to the Guam Daily Post editor, she states that someone needed to take care of the people in quarantine, and asks the question: “..if not us, then who?” How about the 34 people laid off by the hotel that normally would’ve handled the housekeeping functions taken over by very highly paid government employees? How about bringing back members of the laid off hotel kitchen provide three meals a day, instead of awarding another illegal contract?
Placing highly paid government employees into positions formerly held by low paid service workers; displacing them from their regular jobs, cutting off the flow of money to people, who in the best of times, struggle from paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet is “undefendable.”
The premise of her argument becomes more “undefendable” when you consider the fact the regular housekeeping kitchen employees have run out of money and food, and are desperate; while highly paid government employees rack up extra hours, differential pay, overtime, and (if the Governor has her way) very soon – retroactive double time pay.
Having government employees working in the hotel to provide services that were contracted to be provided by the hotel is also “undefendable” when you consider that it appears taxpayers are being “double billed” by hotels that have food, housekeeping and laundry service in their contract; and then through additional contracts to other providers for the same services.
Where does the money taxpayers are paying the hotel to provide services go?
The appearance of corruption may or may not be accurate, but the Administration’s continued refusal to comply with existing laws and hiding transactions behind a veil of secrecy is also “undefendable.”
Defending spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money meant to benefit the people of Guam, without competition, oversight, fund certification, or signed contracts is also undefendable. It smacks of the kind of abuse we were warned about more than two hundred years ago when Thomas Jefferson said: “So, it should not be surprising if sometimes public officials do not heed the voice of the people and go about doing whatever they wish, using their power and authority to enrich themselves and those closely allied to them.”
It will be interesting to see how many government officials consult with their attorney's before signing any of those contracts, in the face of growing public resentment and potential legal or RICO actions.
The Leon Guerrero/Tenorio Administration campaigned that they will be the “the most transparent and accountable” administration in the history of Guam. Evidence to date proves there is a huge difference between campaign promises and governing reality; and that in and of itself is “undefendable.”
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