A Department of Interior delegation led by Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Douglas W. Domenech has arrived on Guam and visited members of the Guam Legislature on Monday.
According to Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes, she requested the meeting upon learning of Assistant Secretary Domenech’s visit to Guam as part of his Pacific tour.
Accompanying Assistant Secretary Domenech are Basil Ottley, the director of policy, and Dwayne Peterson, Guam’s desk officer at the Office of Insular Affairs.
According to the Speaker, this is the DOI team’s second visit to Guam this year, and they have always made themselves open to conference calls regarding issues pertaining to Guam.
“While it is a challenge to get our concerns heard in Congress, I am grateful that members of the Trump administration have taken the time to learn about our issues and engage in dialogue to improve life on Guam,” the Speaker said in a release.
During the meeting, the Speaker said the issues brought up were war claims, self-determination, COFA renegotiations, coral reefs, and climate change.
With regard to war claims, the Speaker said Domenech disclosed that the Trump administration is just waiting until the local passage of Bill 181-35.
“They are in support of the local efforts. Currently, there’s $24 million owed to the people of Guam just sitting in a lockbox at the Department of the Treasury for Guam’s war claims,” the Speaker said.
Another issue discussed was how to get Guam involved and be part of the conversation during the renegotiation of the Compacts of Free Association.
According to the Speaker, the Assistant Secretary mentioned that the State Department will be undertaking “a listening session” within the region starting next month.