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  • By Alex Rhowuniong

FSM community seeks better ties with new administration

While most Guam residents from the Federated States of Micronesia may not be personally familiar with Governor-elect Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero, let alone how she works with people, some are hopeful she will build better relations with the FSM community on Guam.

“She's our hope,” said John Patis, public information officer for the FSM Association on Guam.

Under the Compact of Free Association, FSM residents are allowed visa free entry to the United States and its territories, where they are allowed to work and attend schools. The cost of hosting citizens from freely associated states and the increase in the number of crimes involving FSM citizens, however, have been causing an unfavorable situation for Guam.

The Calvo administration’s initiative to deport convicted FSM citizens has caused a strained relationship between Guam and FSM.

Patis is proposing that the incoming Leon Guerrero's administration form a task force to work closely with the freely associated states including FSM, Palau and Republic of the Marshall Islands).

“She stated she’ll work with Freely Associated States citizens,” Patis added.

The overriding factor for the Yigo resident’s near-complete trust in Leon Guerrero he said, is her motherly instincts.

As a mother and a nurse, Leon Guerrero knows how to take care for people under her care, he said. More importantly, she has the heart of the truest natural caregiver, a mother!

Leon Guerrero will officially assume office in January 2019.

“I’m also hoping she'd have a liaison officer at Adelup (preferably a FAS citizen, like Gov. Felix P. Camacho did in the past) as a ‘go-between’ between Adelup and the FAS communities,” said Stan Sablan of Dededo.

Sablan added he doesn’t really know the new governor. “But I'm hopeful that she'd dialogue with the FAS community leaders for a better understanding of our mutual needs,” he said.

Chuuk Sen. Andrew May, who is living on Guam, said he believes she has wealth of information and experience working with FAS citizens. “I believe she will be great for us,” the senator said, “when she became president of BOG, she continued the legacy of hiring FSM citizens.”

Asterio Takesy of Chuuk was her vice president for Governmental Relation in Micronesia, May added. “I have confidence and trust in her to navigate our Island of Guam, and work closely with FAS citizens,” the Dededo resident also said.

Guam-born Ryan Kusto living in Yona was not sure: “Too soon to tell for me. As of now, I am more hopeful than worried.”

Ymenson Namelo from Umatac said he was unsure, too. “But as far as COFA, I don’t see her being prejudice towards members of COFA nations. I’m excited to see what our first lady governor can do for the people of Guam,” he said.

“I hope,” Patis said, “one day we can sit down with Lou and just talk letting her know we are willing to be part of her solutions.”


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