Ethics Committee chair Senator Esteves subject of ethics complaint in AAFB protest
Senator Fernando Esteves at Andersen front gate during the Sep. 23rd protest.
Guam resident and Vietnam veteran Barry Mead has filed an official ethics complaint with the Guam Legislature against Senator Fernando Esteves, who serves as chair of the body's Committee on Ethics, based on his actions during a Sep. 23rd protest at the Andersen Air Force base gate.
According to Mead's complaint, addressed to Guam Legislature Speaker Benjamin J. F. Cruz, the actions of Senator Esteves during the protest against the planned Northwest Field firing range "flagrantly" violated the terms of his oath of office:
"His ranting and yelling 'Call the base commander! Call the base commander!' is just one indicator of his conscientious disregard for his oath of office and the Standing Rules of the 34th Legislature. The other indicator is through his social media page where-in he asserts to incited civil disobedience and disregard for the Constitution of the United States."
The Pacific Island Times account of the demonstration read in part:
"The majority of the protesters, bearing signs and chanting slogans opposing the range, remained on the other side of the road from the gate entrance.
When additional Guam officers arrived, protesters were told several times that blocking the entrance violated Guam law. Police then arrested Harold Cruz, chief of staff for Senator Wil Castro. Senator Fernando Esteves argued with the officers, but wasn't arrested. The demonstrators shortly freed up the intersection, retreating back across the road after Esteves said the anti-range protest message had been successfully delivered."
Mead noted that Esteves also serves as a sergeant in the Guam National Guard and cites provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice which apply to uniformed military members.
"[Under] Article 89 of the UCMJ Senator Esteves did show, and exhibit a behavior and disrespect for a superior officer. Article 117 stipulates “Any person subject to this chapter who uses provoking or reproachful words or gestures towards any other person subject to this chapter shall be punished as a Court-Martial may direct.”
Following the filing of the complaint, Mead further commented about subsequent warfare on social media: "Mr. Esteves comments on Face book have insulted the deaths of every American soldier that died for this island in WWII, with his comment “America abandoned Guam during WWII and they did not liberate Guam out of kindness.” The person who put up the page originally took it down because it got so bad one woman even feared for herself. And, Esteves was in the middle of it!"
After receiving an official copy of the complain, Senator Esteves' comments were relayed by his office:
“Fear of my personal well being has never affected my decision to do what I feel is right, and I am always prepared to face the consequences of those decisions. I believe being a public official should not automatically put me on the wrong side. It just means that I have to take a side. History has proven that what is right isn’t always popular and what is popular isn’t always right.”
Esteves said further: “We all have responsibilities. The Ethics Committee has a responsibility to address complaints filed. I have a responsibility to protect the human rights of Indigenous CHamoru People and our environment against all odds. And Mr. Mead believes that he has a responsibility to complain about it.”
Barry L. Mead
Mead's formal complaint:
The Honorable Benjamin J. F. Cruz
34th Guam Legislature
163 Chalan Santo Papa
Hagàtña, Guam 96910
It is with a heavy heart that I must file this “Ethics Complaint” towards Senator Fernando Barcinas Esteves. He has flagrantly violated his oath of office,
“I SOLEMNLY SWEAR (OR AFFIRM) IN THE PRESENCE OF ALMIGHTY GOD THAT I WILL WELL AND FAITHFULLY SUPPORT THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES APPLICABLE TO GUAM, AND THE LAWS OF GUAM, AND THAT I WILL CONSCIENTIOUSLY AND IMPARTIALLY DISCHARGE MY DUTIES AS A MEMBER OF I LIHESLATURAN GUÅHAN.”
In that through his recent actions during a protest in front of Anderson Air Force Base he has not followed his oath. His ranting and yelling “Call the base commander! Call the base commander!” is just one indicator of his conscientious disregard for his oath of office and the Standing Rules of the 34th Legislature, per Rule XIX, §19.02 (c). The other indicator is through his social media page (attached) where-in he asserts to incited civil disobedience and disregard for the Constitution of the United States.
Lastly and though not tied directly to the Guam Legislature, but again an indiscretion that brings discredit to his office is his blatant disregard for the Military Chain of Command, clear a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice as a Sergeant in the Guam National Guard. Where-in under Article 89 of the UCMJ Senator Esteves did show, and exhibit a behavior and disrespect for a superior officer. Article 117 stipulates “Any person subject to this chapter who uses provoking or reproachful words or gestures towards any other person subject to this chapter shall be punished as a Court-Martial may direct.”
It is for these reasons that I bring this charge of an ethics Violation before the 34th Legislature.
Barry L. Mead