Moylan wants PIDB funding diverted to public safety

Senator James Moylan (file photo)

Senator James Moylan has written a letter to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero asking her to divert money from the Pacific Islands Development Bank to the Guam Police Department for the hiring of more police officers.

During the senator’s inaugural “Community Forum on Public Safety” in Yigo, Moylan said there was a public demand for increasing the number of police officers that patrol the island’s neighborhoods.

During the fiscal year 2020 budget discussions, Moylan said one of the items resurrected was funding for PIDB, which is pursuant to Public Law 22-148.

“From our discussions with various parties, this statute has not been funded for a number of years, and while I believe that the government investing in programs such as the PIDB has long term benefits, when it comes to limited resources and priorities, public safety is very critical to our community,” Moylan said.

He added: “This is why we are in the process of introducing legislation to repeal the provisions of Article 9 of Chapter 1, Title 5, Guam Code Annotated. What we would like to request is that if the budgeted amount for the PIBD has yet to be expended for FY 2020, that it instead be considered for hiring additional officers for the Guam Police Department.”

According to Moylan, the $1 million amount budgeted for PIDB is equivalent to hiring around 20 new police officers, which means a pilot program for the senator’s Municipal Police Division (MPD) can be considered for some of the more populated villages.

In response, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero issued the following statement:

“When we spend millions a year to help Compact Citizens on Guam, it’s smart to invest a fraction of that to help them help themselves. If we really want to fight crime, people in this region need the economic tools to choose jobs instead of jail cells.”

“That means we need more economic growth in this region, not less. PIDB acts as a financial institution for this region—most especially in places like the FSM, the RMI, Palau, and the CNMI. With PIDB’s help, these communities can open businesses, expand existing ones, build homes, or develop infrastructure. That makes these island nations and their people less reliant on Guam and our taxpayers. That’s a massive potential return on investment, especially considering the same opportunities are also available to Guam as well.”