There were a lot of mixed emotions during Wednesday night’s village meeting held in Mangilao to address the recent machete attacks along University Drive.
Many island residents expressed their anger at the incident. However, many more offered solutions ranging from increased police presence to establishing more youth programs, increases in alcohol taxes and even deportation.
But there was one common sentiment — someone must be held accountable.
Local physician Dr. Vince Akimoto insists on a “persona non grata” system until the issue is addressed.
“FSM government please tonight, take responsibility for the 500 who are ruining Guam, now! Because it’s too much effort for us to come together again for another murder or rape usually involving your own citizens. I’m gonna ask that we extend this promise to make our community better to the entire FSM leadership as a persona non-grata until this is resolved. Until the Mayors Council agrees that all bad actors identified by the GPD and the mayors themselves have been transported back to their place of origin, at the expense of the FSM,” Akimoto said.
Other speakers pointed to the federal government’s failure to uphold their promises of support, one of them being a victim of the Mangilao incident herself, former Senator Judy Guthertz.
“The federal government has not done its job, it’s like a deadbeat dad when it comes to the compact agreements and we need to hold them accountable,” Guthertz said.
A longtime resident of Mangilao, Rosie Blas also points a finger at the feds.
“This is a federal government problem. The local government, you need to make the hard call. You need to quit being nice and saying that this is just happening now because it is not just happening now. This has impacted everyone in this room every single person. People need to be held accountable,” she said.
FSM Consul General Teresa Felipin also reiterated the FSM community’s stance and condemnation of the actions of a few of their citizens.
“I personally implore on the general public that this is not the FSM. These behaviors that we’re seeing … these misbehaving attitudes of young people… this is not the FSM people. These are actions, independent actions of a few young men who have gone to this extreme where people are very fearful for their lives and the safety of their communities,” she said.
How about beefing up law enforcement?
Guam Police Department Chief Stephen Ignacio said one of the key takeaways he heard during the meeting is the need to increase law enforcement presence and law enforcement officers.
“And as we speak we have 24 police officers that are going through our police academy now. They’ll be starting next week on Monday. In addition to that, in our FY 2020 budget proposal, we will be advocating or fighting for an additional 40 officers,” Ignacio said.
Mark Mirror, a resident of Mangilao, said the problem with some youths is there’s nothing for them to do.
“I was a youth once. I did a lot of stupid things because I was bored. This is a youth center, but what programs does this youth center have? Nothing!” he said.
An announcement of when the next community meeting will be held has yet to be made.