Ombré Ga’chong: RED FLAG! Is anyone going to say anything about the government-controlled internet program?

Lee Webber

By Lee Webber

Bacon frying, coffee perking, a woman’s eye and politicians all promise more that they could possibly deliver.

The recent announcement from the governor’s office of their five-year action plan – a “living document” as they put it – outlining a comprehensive plan to offer “FREE” broadband high speed internet to everyone on the island is an interesting ploy to vastly increase their span of control.

It certainly makes this writer wonder what Docomo, IT&E, GTA and possibly the Star Link folks think about all this and how it may impact their business.

Besides, ‘There is no such thing as a free lunch!’ Sounds remarkably like the government’s perennial plan to fix the Guam Memorial Hospital, the Department of Education or any of the other failing government entities.

What we have here is another case of politicians wooing people with the promise of being able to belly up to that large sow called GovGuam.

The entity that gets its money primarily from one of three sources: Our tax dollars in one form or another, administrative fees, and federal government funding.

If you ask me, somewhere hiding inside of the word ‘free’ resides the words ‘scam” or more likely the words ‘increased power and control!’ This opens the door for the way the mainland Chinese control the internet for their people.

To me it all smacks of the old phrase, “I’m from the government and I am here to help.”

Let’s see now: poor performance and over spending at the Department of Education; maintenance issues throughout the government (save key political office spaces); not enough ambulances, police cars or school buses that are operable; problems with the island’s water system; perennial problems at the Department of Public Health and Social Services; pothole- and bump-ridden roads further crippled by poorly-planned road construction projects; ongoing dilemmas with Guam Memorial Hospital; underfunded departments that are tasked with enforcement of environmental and safety issues; an improved but continually limping power and distribution system; and the list goes on.

Now I know you are very likely thinking, it is easy for Lee to write about this and other issues that need fixing and the fact that the administration has had ample time to address them. But remember, that is what I do – tweak your thinking – rather than allow you to simply go with the flow.

Given all of the above (and more) things that are in dire need of help, why would any rational elected official want to get into the ‘free’ Internet business? And then, why would the profitable existing internet providers say nary a word in opposition to this suggestion?

If the government were permitted to control the island-wide internet what would that mean for what could and couldn’t be shared? Or even worse what could the government and politicians share over the internet that they will control?

Simply look at the current problems here and across the [rest of the] U.S. involving the government and the control of information.

If this does happen, we will continue along the same dysfunctional path allowing problems to persist, debt to accumulate and those we have been electing and are elected to continue to deliver nothing more than to increase their power over an ever widening swath of our community using our hard earned tax dollars while they personally prosper off of our hard work.

Remember, government produces nothing – it is consumptive and controlling by nature.

If we do not raise a large red flag on this issue, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the situations in which we will find ourselves in the years ahead.

Once they control the internet we are then left with the reality of them coming to us with the infamous phrase, “I’m from the government and I am here to help.”

Let’s make Guam Great Again!



Lee P. Webber is a businessman and civic advocate, the former publisher of the Pacific Daily News, a former president and publisher of the Honolulu Advertiser, and a former director of operations for USA Today International/Asia

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