Palacios invites Senator Nelson to visit CQA

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Guam – CQA’s invitation to visit their department may put to rest the perceived political tension between Senator Telena Nelson and Customs Acting Director Eric Palacios.

It is no secret Senator Nelson is reluctant to move Palacios’ nomination to the legislative floor for a vote. She has made it clear in her letters to Adelup and the media that she received concerns from the public and has reported that the government appointee does not have the support of those he is intended to lead.

In a letter dated August 6, the senator wrote to Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio:

“Unfortunately, with the concept of ‘rank-and-file’ in leading our men and woman of Guam CQA, I do not believe that Mr. Palacios had the right experience necessary to lead the agency. This agency is charged with being the ‘front line’ in protecting our island’s points of entry, thus deserving of more than just a charismatic leader … I did not advance Mr. Palacios’ confirmation to the floor because I felt he did not have the support of the men and women he was asked to lead.”

She reiterated her position two days later on Newstalk K57’s Mornings with Patti. On the talk show, Nelson revealed a little more about the concerns she received from various men and women at Customs, including Palacios’ alleged abuse of power as acting director.

Since then, Eric Palacios’ nomination packet has not seen its day on the session floor and remains in Nelson’s office. Now Palacios is extending an olive branch and requests that the senator visit Customs and see for herself if he has the agency’s support. He writes:

“I welcome Senator Nelson’s visit and would be glad to take her to any and all of our ports of entry to meet our officers and gain a better understanding of the work we do for the island. I would be glad to accommodate her visit whenever the good Senator’s schedule permits.” He adds, “I would also welcome her taking the opportunity to determine first hand whether the workforce supports or opposes my appointment and leadership.

Meanwhile the Governor has released another statement admonishing and now questioning the the lawmakers’s credibility, following their FOIA request to the Attorney General’s Office that revealed a three-day delay between the date Nelson sent her letter to the AG and the date the AG stamped ‘received.’ Calvo’s statement reads:

“The obvious sequence of events shows it was never the intention of Chairwoman Nelson to officially inquire the opinion of the Attorney General. It was her desire to ensure that the nomination of Eric Palacios would never come to a vote on the floor. I find it ironic that the Chairwoman questions the integrity and credibility of Eric Palacios when the facts show that her letter was not sent when she said it was.”

He then asks whose credibility should be questioned: Eric Palacios’ or the senator’s.

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Jolene Toves
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.