Governor moves against government corruption

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (PNC file photo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has initiated several steps aimed at addressing government corruption.

In her special public safety address, the governor said she has asked the Attorney General of Guam to exercise his existing authority to receive confidential public complaints and to independently investigate, and prosecute abuses of power—in any agency or branch of government.

If any impediments of law exist, the governor asked that the Legislature remove them with all due haste.

“If additional resources must be found, our branches must come together and find them,” the governor said.

In addition, the governor has asked that the Legislature work with her and fix the Guam Community Police Review Commission, which has remained dormant and ineffective despite it being reconstituted a year ago.

While its mandate is laudable, the governor said the review commission’s purview must be expanded beyond the confines of GPD and the legislature must recognize that no commission can receive complaints, make findings of fact, recommend disciplinary actions, or suggest legislative changes without meaningful support and clear guidance from our lawmakers.

Finally, the governor will require that any person permanently appointed to lead a law enforcement agency, or become its deputy, will be subject to the same polygraph and psychological evaluation as a director of the same agency—whether they are subject to legislative confirmation or not.

The governor stressed that these policies are not meant to persecute those who faithfully enforce the law; they are meant to punish the lawless.

“Let me be clear: the vast majority of law enforcement officers in this community are good people. We appreciate and respect that they run toward the danger—not away from it; that they so often place the safety of our families above time with their own,” the governor said.

She added: “But, recent events force us to confront hard, uncomfortable truths, that a few of those charged with enforcing the law may in fact be breaking it. And while everyone is entitled to his or her day in court, we have to acknowledge that we have been here too many times before. We have seen those we entrust with power corrupt our communities with drugs, exploit women, and rob us of the faith we place in each other. And slowly, when things don’t change, trust turns to fear and fear becomes frustration.”