Governor: The politics surrounding the pandemic are more stressful than the fight against the virus itself

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Governor Lou Leon Guerrero today said the politics surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has in some ways been more stressful than the fight against the virus itself.

In a lengthy interview with K57’s Patti Arroyo on May 22, Friday morning, the Governor talked about the difficulties and the successes her administration has had in coping with the ongoing crisis.

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“Dealing with the pandemic crisis, Patti, is not as stressful as trying to assure people that the politics that is happening is not what’s going on,” the governor said.

The governor had hoped that the spirit of inafa’maolek would prevail during the ongoing pandemic and everyone from senators to the media and the general public would join in the fight to stem the spread of the disease and protect the community

“In times of crisis you and I know, that politics should be set aside, everything should be set aside and everybody should work together to be safe, work together to get to the end goal. Work together to make sure we contain this virus,” the governor said.

But that hasn’t always been the case, she said

“I’m not seeing that from some of the legislators. Just a few, not all. And there are many that are very supportive. For those that aren’t, I really don’t understand why …You know senators that grandstand. The non-traditional media, social media, that takes things out of perspective, out of context. And for what purpose, I don’t know. All it does is scare our community,” the governor said.

A lot of the recent criticism has been over the way the quarantine hotel procurements have been handled.

“I thought we leveraged pretty good. $100 a night, including 3 meals, including laundry. But they wouldn’t do it room by room. They wanted us to lease the whole building. All three of them wanted us to lease the building. Which to me I was willing to do because it’s a give-and-take,” the governor said.

She added: “We had nurses there. We had social workers there. We had emotional behavioral assistance and resources there. We had three meals a day. We did laundry. We did personal things. Families could come and bring stuff. They could see their loved ones.”

Some have suggested laws were broken and profits have been made by a few.

“People are thinking that I am not following procurement. And as a result of that I have been alleged to misuse funds. Where are these funds going, Patti? It’s very transparent. I have a budget of $117 million. These funds are going back into the hands of our people. These funds are going back to our businesses. These funds are going back to save our community and protect our community.”

The governor added: “So where is the misuse of funds? I don’t know where that is. I didn’t use it for something that is not allowable. I didn’t use it to increase people’s salaries. I didn’t use it to hire more people. I used it for the safety of our people.”

The governor also defended her administration’s transparency, pointing to the numerous ongoing news conferences she’s called and the response to dozens of FOIA requests.

“We have all the records. It’s an open book. I think everybody in Guam has all the information because we are FOIAed every minute of the day. FOIA your email, FOIA your text, FOIA all the information. So now as a strengthening to transparency, we’re putting everything up on the website through the Attorney General,” the governor said.

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