Adelup has defended the use of funds for the Pacific Islands Development Bank, saying that it is a “smart” investment that will help the people of Guam.
The administration was reacting to a letter sent by Sen. James Moylan which asked Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to divert money from PIDB to the Guam Police Department for the hiring of more police officers.
“When we spend millions a year to help Compact Citizens on Guam, it’s smart to invest a fraction of that to help them help themselves. If we really want to fight crime, people in this region need the economic tools to choose jobs instead of jail cells. That means we need more economic growth in this region, not less,” Adelup said in a statement.
According to Adelup, PIDB acts as a financial institution for this region—most especially in places like the FSM, the RMI, Palau, and the CNMI.
With PIDB’s help, Adelup said these communities can open businesses, expand existing ones, build homes, or develop infrastructure.
“That makes these island nations and their people less reliant on Guam and our taxpayers. That’s a massive potential return on investment, especially considering the same opportunities are also available to Guam as well.”
But in response, Moylan said that while he appreciates the administration’s intent in assisting neighboring communities with development opportunities, the reality is that until GovGuam cleans up its house, assisting others financially becomes a greater challenge.
“We clearly have a shortage of uniformed personnel in our various public safety agencies, a growing drug epidemic, and law enforcement officials continue to seek support for much-needed equipment, that the $1,000,000 being expended annually to fund the PIDB would certainly be more beneficial staying on island and in keeping our communities safe,” Moylan said.
He added that there are many other cost-effective ways GovGuam can assist these neighboring communities.
For example, Moylan said the administration might want to consider looking into partnerships between the Guam Community College, the Guam Department of Labor, and the College of Micronesia to provide opportunities for those migrants choosing to relocate to Guam, to not only better acclimate into the community, but also prepare them to enter the workforce or seek higher education.
“This investment would come at a fraction of the cost appropriated for the PIDB, while providing economic benefits to both our island and this region,” the senator said.