Tuesday, February 13, 2024


 (Posted by Frenchie)

FOREWORD: Last year , following Super Typhoon Mawar, I started writing this essay after I was contacted by several individuals who were testifying about some egregious examples of gross lack of preparedness by our Government's agencies in charge of the protection and the relief of the victims of this catastrophe.

Unfortunately following the collapse of the power and communication grid it became de facto impossible to communicate this column in real time to our readers. While I attempted to send this to our local newspapers, none of them chose to publish it.

As I recently rediscovered it,  and re read it, I thought it was still very pertinent to our situation and decided to share it here, even at this later date.

Following the onslaught of super typhoon Mawar

For the most part, the people of Guam prepared their dwellings and their loved ones for the assault of the incoming fury of God (or as the heathen prefer to call it "Mother Nature"), with a sense of urgency and duty.

We were confident that the homes build following the building codes we had put in place to resist high winds and earthquakes, would shelter us safely.

After the terrible hit, this turned out to be true. Our science and engineering knowledge was able to see us through another natural phenomenon. Yet one thing that showed our limited learning curve, was the collapse of our power and communication grid. It became painfully evident that despite previous disasters our utilities had not "harden" their network adequately.

This was one of a series of examples which showed the limits of our human achievements. The high damage to the International Airport pointed how ill prepared our civilian leaders were. Was it due, to ineptitude, plain arrogance of just laziness? Time should tell, even if our leaders will surely try to hide the ball. This will be determined by the professionalism of our local  journalists, and the willingness of their Editors to tackle the often embarrassing stories.

(Months later, it appears that these medias did not do their job seriously, except perhaps for the exception of Kandit News, the majority of our local media failed to cover the embarrassing short comings of our own government.)

The stark difference between the International Airport and the Air Force Base in getting ready for a natural calamity is astounding. By the same token the results should not be surprising, if and when you consider the fact that a large part of the people from the Government of Guam hold their job ( and by extension their responsibilities) because of family connections, electoral jockeying, or plain corruption. When people without experience and know how are given jobs they are not able to fulfill, we should not be shocked by their lack of performance. The Airport was just the most glaring example of a litany of shortcomings which many greet with a typical islander nonchalant attitude, which in turn puzzled the federal response teams sent from the mainland to assist in the recovery.

Meanwhile, the 800Lb Gorilla in the room, hidden behind an array of distractions, is a situation that should raise the eyebrows of all Christians and people of good will. I pray that what I am going to address can be taken head on by the Charitable side of our Church, which must at least try to remedy (and denounce as such) the systemic economic apartheid put in place by a small cadre of racialist fear mongers and race hustlers, hiding under the guise of warriors for equity, social justice, and choice while promoting a culture of death and separation.

A large part of Guam's civilian population is for reasons of comfort, lack of honesty and political expediency, invisible to the rest of us, and certainly to a large number of government officials ( of the three branches) except perhaps for short periods during election years. I am talking of our brothers and sisters who are forced to live in substandard buildings, usually (but not exclusively) on Chamorro Land Trust leased sections. Hidden in the Jungles of every village are communities of extremely poor families, barely making out a living, often reduced to one meal a day. These structures shelter in good days multi generational families, in wood and tin constructions, often with no used water system, except for a hole in the ground. The hard top roads leading to these compounds are almost always not lit at night ( or early in the morning when children attempt to reach their school bus stops), and narrowing to one lane due to the encroaching vegetation growing unkept. These are the lucky ones, many others have to reach their dwellings through dirt top roads with potholes deep enough to lose a small car. This is where the Chamorro Poors are hidden from eyesight, people with such low level of revenues that unlike the 25 thousand plus Guamanians that left the island following the unilateral shut down of the economy by our governor, could not afford the airfares proposed by our price gauging airline "serving" Guam in order to get out of the rock, in the hope to give better opportunities for their loved ones.

This is where the drug epidemic that has struck our society over the last 5 years has done the most ravages, yet we hear little to nothing about it. Surely the Governor or her trusted side kick, the first openly gay Lieutenant Governor in the Nation are leading the charge about helping these people, since the mantra of their political party, and their electoral campaign is about equity, justice and the rights of indigenous  and individual peoples. "Que neni" as the Romans would say..... What we have witnessed instead during and for several weeks after the typhoon is the shuffling of these persons from one unprepared storm shelter to another.

Most of us imagine, since we have not better information, (in part because our medias find it uninteresting) that our bloated and inept local government at least takes good care of the most fragile in our society. After all politicians spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (Millions in the case of LLG) to claim that taking care of the poor and the downthrowded will be a priority of their respective administrations.

How should we react then, to the fact that these individuals were evacuated to facilities with no power, no water, often without adequate or working toilet facilities for dozens and dozens of evacuees forced to sleep on wet floors. How could we ferry released hospital patients to these facilities, knowing how fragile they are. Yet this is exactly what happened. These scenes repeated all over the island were not without reminding some of us of the now infamous Metrodome of New Orleans  over 20 years ago, which rightly so scandalized the Nation when vulnerable people were left to care for themselves in dreadful conditions among scared children and petty criminals.

Well meaning government employees, totally lacking resources were left on their own, without leadership to tend overcrowded facilities, in some cases working double and triple shifts in total chaos and without support. Where were our leaders? Apparently they were hunkered down in their well provisioned shelters with backup generators and state of the art communication systems. Despite this it took days, in some cases weeks to address superficially these issues, while our governor was more worried about getting enough water pressure for her personal shower. The disconnect, the lack of empathy could not be more evident.

After years of silence by our Church leaders, regarding the immoral positions of our current governor, probably because her Bank was financing all the parishes on the island as instructed by the disgraced Apuron. The current transitional administration of the Archdiocese missed a huge opportunity to seize the moment (carpe diem) and either shame the administration into action, or take the lead in alleviating  the suffering of the poorest and most in need of our neighbors. Only a few rare pastors and individuals took this issue to task. For the most part the inaction of our religious leaders matched the inaction of our political leaders.

In this dystopian, godless world brought to us by the Lou Leon Guerrero Cook administration, its allies and enablers, where their most pressing goals are promoting a culture of death, and purchasing the silence of Government Employees with previously unseen and unheard of pay increases that are as many insults to private sector workers. A Government that props up consumers against providers, public sector against private sector, Chamorros against all others, innocent babies against women's "rights", students and parents against teachers, the department of education against who ever is in charge of the maintenance of buildings, children against parents, legislature against the administration, doctors and nurses against hospital administration, self appointed elites against common people and the list goes on. Dividing to rule and rewarding collaboration with contracts, jobs and salaries, is not governing it is destroying the core of our democratic system, and the roots of our traditional families.

You cannot govern by ukaz, glossy press conferences and press releases. You cannot claim your experience as a mother, a grandmother and a nurse gives you a special understanding of the challenges faced by the least of us living in abject poverty, the frailest of our neighbors, when your only solution is the unapologetic murder of innocent babies as a panacea to reduce poverty, in order to drape yourself in a veil of moral superiority. That dystopia, that disconnect, that living lie can only lead to such a situation of abandonment.

Perhaps it is time, that faced with such an immoral situation, our Archdiocese and its charity organizations finally take the lead in righting such an obvious wrong, or at least shine a light on this shameful reality.

The old adage told us that: " Bad things happen when good people remain silent" It is clear that in this case our silence amounts to acquiescing to the unacceptable. We as believers, as citizens, as voters have a duty to confront our representatives, both religious and secular in order for them to understand that enough is enough, and WE are not going to take it anymore.

No more hiding the poors in the jungle, no more killing innocent babies under the false pretense of woman's health (which is a glaring lie), no more disenfranchising three quarter of our people under spurious arguments, enough of the lies, and the half truth. You are elected, and selected to do a job, which is to address to the well being of the inhabitants of this island, with a small efficient and honest government, not to line up your pockets and the pockets of your ilks with the hard earned money of the taxpayers.

The clergy which gets its moral guidance from Christ, should think very hard about their duty to the poors, the orphans, the widows, the downthrowded, but most of all to saving souls, which is not going to happen if you remain silent, and by doing so acquiesce to evil.

Tomorrow being Ash Wednesday, I urge you all to reflect deeply on this essential issue, and ask for guidance on how to better solve this glaring societal wrong.


  1. Well said, Frenchie. Thank you. We must keep banging this drum so it becomes as deafening as Poe’s Tell Tale Heart.

    1. Thanks Tim, we must not fall back to our Apuron years, when everyone knew, but no one said anything. Evil is evil, no matter how it is presented. Our silence cannot continue.