- By Pacific island Times News Staff
Vigilance Committee: Administration working in 'secrecy'
The Vigilance Committee, a local watchdog, is raising concern about Covid-19-related decisions made by the Leon Guerrero administration"behind closed doors."
“There is a growing concern in the community regarding the transparency of decision-making made on behalf of the people of Guam by the governor and the powerful few seated on or seated as advisors to the governor’s Physicians Advisory Council," the group said.
"Except for properly convened executive sessions and other meetings expressly authorized by public law to be closed, meetings held behind closed doors or meetings held in secret, whether it is done in-person or using various electronic forms of communication for conferencing, is a violation of the Open Government Law."
The Vigilance Committee sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, demanding
public records of the following: rosters of members who attend the governor's Physician Advisory Council meetings; operating rules, especially those rules regarding the use of various types of communication mediums, such as: video-conferencing; various electronic forms of communications for face-to-face conferencing, or the like; and minutes of meetings held since its inception.
"These conditions and this type of behavior — to discuss privately what should be discussed in public — robs our people of their right to know why government officials, elected or appointed, and government representatives have made decisions on behalf of the community keeping them in the dark and violating their right to fully participate in the process,” said Lee P. Webber, president of Vigilance Committee.
“It is our idea that public officials and government representatives work for the people of Guam to do good for our community and to follow all the laws of Guam, particularly the Open Government Law. Access to meetings or public information should never be hidden by a pandemic or shrouded in a cloak of secrecy or confidentiality.”
Webber further stated, “A government that chooses working in secrecy over openness and transparency engenders tyranny, damages the concept of checks and balances, and loses the trust of its people. Our people demand transparency with government decision-making.”