Guam senators on ‘educational’ trip to Taiwan

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes and Senators Kelly Marsh-Taitano, Clynt Ridgell and Telo Taitague are in Taiwan to meet with Taiwanese officials.

Four senators are currently in Taiwan on a mission to learn best practices that can be applied to Guam.

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes and Senators Kelly Marsh-Taitano, Clynt Ridgell and Telo Taitague hopped on a plane to Taiwan on Sunday to meet with Taiwanese officials.

“Taiwan is an important economic sector in this region. They have many industries from agriculture, manufacturing, as well as tourism. Our islands share many similarities. How we can learn from their successes and emulate this on Guam is crucial for our island,” Speaker Barnes said.

She added: “We have been meeting with many agencies in Taipei. We met with the energy experts who talked about their priorities including incentivizing energy efficiency in homes, businesses, and the government; increasing their renewable energy portfolios for secure domestic production; as well as their goals in the future. We also met with the agricultural grads who spoke about how they link information technology with farming methods and how they encourage young people to farm as a career. We talked about gender issues and how Taipei is growing with a woman leader. We have more meetings planned, especially meeting indigenous groups of Taiwan and how Taiwan grows, strengthens, preserves, protects, and promotes their ancient cultures and traditions. We are often tasked with finding creative solutions. Taiwan has made tremendous growth over the years and has tackled problems creatively. We look forward to seeing what we can work on to grow Guam.”

One concern was if the senators’ trip was proper since it was paid for by the Taiwanese government.

But Sen. Ridgell said the Legislature’s legal counsel was consulted and they were advised that the trip was “okay.”

Sen. Kelly Marsh-Taitano also said she paid for her own fare.

The senators are scheduled to return to Guam on Friday.


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Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.