Guam Bar Association questions the candidates at forum
It’s a familiar theme in Guam legal politics, a promise to take on and prosecute wrongdoing by government officials and private sector white collar criminals, which has seemingly never been in short supply, though often not prosecuted.
Douglas Moylan, former Attorney General, says that’s what he did when in office and vowed to do it again by restoring the government corruption division of his time dealing with white collar crime.
“If [I’m] elected, you’re going to see that [division] back in. We will go after everyone who has committed a crime. Certifying officers, I give warning right now. If they misspend the money appropriated by our good senators, we’re going to go after them.”
Candidate G.W. Frank Gumataotao listed a host of scandals for which he said the public is demanding action:
“Chamorro Land Trust? It’s been in the paper. GDOE’s been in the paper. Governor’s office has been in the paper. People are tired of the corruption. They want something done about it. That’s our job as AG. If you can’t do it, don’t bother to go for the job.”
Candidate Leevin Camacho said government corruption called for prosecution, but suggested that the problems may be due to ignorance, rather than outright criminality.
“With the Chamorro Land Trust? It just goes to show that people don’t know what they’re doing. And if the Office of the Attorney General can go in there and tell the people, this is what your responsibilities are, maybe would avoid the improprieties that occurred over a decade of time at the Chamorro Land Trust.” On the other hand, Camacho said, “You can’t try to inflame the community and try to deprive someone of their right to a fair trial.”
The three candidates agreed that much of the burden on the Guam legal system is due to the influx of immigrants from Micronesia as authorized by Washington with no Guam input and little regard for the resulting costs to the island. Governor Calvo has been addressing this by commuting sentences and sending offenders home.
Moylan said he would be more aggressive with deportations making them a condition of plea agreements.
“To be a U.S. citizen is a privilege. Anyone who enters our island, even though the federal government has opened it up, is here as a privilege.” Moylan said he would work with governor and Homeland Security to send those who violate local laws back home. “Those that offend the law should not be among us.”
Camacho said he strongly supported deportation for violent, criminal sexual conduct. Drugs, which all three candidates agreed play a huge role in local crime are somewhat more complicated, Camacho said, causing problems with families that remain after the offender is deported.
Not so fast said Gumataotao, who opposed quick and easy deportation.
“Are you going to let someone have a ‘bye’ just because they’re not from Guam and they committed a crime here? And we’re going to let them go free, just because they go back home? I don’t think that’s right. They’ve got to serve their time before they go home... [In the prison system] they sit around all day just doing nothing.”
Gumataotao said he would rather see convicted offenders pay for their crime through commercial farming and performing needed government work on streets and other government property. For the worst offenders: “Let them out of here and don’t let them come back.”