Governor bats for inclusion in Compact negotiations; asks for official status for Guam

FSM President David Panuelo, RMI President Hilda Heine and Palau Vice President Raynold B. Oilouch met with Mike Pompeo, Secretary of the US Department of State in an anticipated bilateral meeting in Pohnpei to discuss the COFA and other matters.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has written a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo asking that Guam be included in Compact renegotiations and be given official status.

The governor pointed out in her letter that Guam is the U.S. jurisdiction nearest to the FAS with a shared history as indigenous people who traversed the Pacific.

“Our political relationship with our Pacific brothers and sisters is collaborative and meaningful. Guam feels strongly that as either a participant or an observer, our shared histories with the FAS and also the U.S. will add value to the future renegotiations of the Compacts of Free Association,” the governor wrote.

For as long as the Compacts have been in place, the governor said Guam has always voiced concerns of the costs that the Compacts have had on GovGuam’s public services and finances.

Specifically, the free migration provision (P.L. 99-239 Section 141(a)) allows FAS citizens to travel to the United States and its Territories for purposes of education or employment.

Given the history and strong political bond embodied in the Compacts, the governor said the intent is admirable in that it affords FAS citizens opportunities beyond what may be available in their developing nation.

However, she said the costs to the government of Guam, even with U.S. assistance meant to offset Guam’s expenditures as host to FAS citizens, has been prohibitive.