Ombre Ga’chong: The legislature could use some reform, too

The recent brouhaha between Senator Chris Barnett and Governor Lou Leon Guerrero concerning the horribly long delay in beginning the rebuilding of the Simon Sanchez High School brought to mind all of the other horrible delays in fixing far too many organizations within the government of Guam by the current administration.

Kudos to Senator Barnett for taking the public stand to make the community keenly aware of where the problem lies.

Government inaction has long been a problem in Guam and will likely continue into the future but improvements can and need to be made to right the ship of government on our island.

Another area that could use closer public scrutiny is at the Guam Legislature.

From my perspective something that would go a long way in making the legislature far more productive would be to district the seats for the legislature rather than having them represent the entire island.

Individual district senators (much like the current mayors) would be solely responsible to the people within their districts.

It would make the legislature far more responsible to the people and very likely get more accomplished for the island overall.

This really needs to be added to the ballot as an initiative during the upcoming elections. Let the people of Guam decide what they think, in the privacy of the voting booth.

Then this change could be implemented, taking effect during the next election cycle.

Additionally, why not add to this effort by turning the current full time legislature into a part-time legislature with two 45-day sessions – one for dealing with laws and the second to deal with the annual budget.

There could be one administrative office for all part-time senators.

This too can be added as a ballot initiative for the voters to decide.

By districting the legislature and making it a part-time job it would open the floodgates for many qualified citizens to run for office without giving up their business lives.

It would be an encouragement for people who really want to make Guam a better place for all to step forward and throw their hat into the political ring and hopefully bring to the table individuals with far more business acumen than we normally see in this body.

These two adjustments would also make individual senators clearly responsible to the people within their districts as opposed to using the excuse that they represent the entire island. That responsibility clearly rests with the governor’s position.

An effort of this type would also throw cold water on the current situation where people go to the legislature with an eye toward making it a permanent job rather than going there to serve for a short time and remain contributors to the Guam business community.

Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the food and a legislature divided by politics drags the island as a whole into a gutter of despair, infighting and indecision.

It is time for change Guam!

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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