A new plan to fund reparations for World War II survivors raises concerns that must be addressed.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero recently announced her administration’s plan to use local funds to pay claims to war survivors. Other claimants, including descendants of survivors, would have to wait for the reparations as the fixes to the federal Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act go through the lawmaking process.
Del. Michael San Nicolas said he supports the intent of Adelup's quick payout but has concerns.
One concern is that Adelup’s plan could cause a possible delay in issuing the remaining payouts.
Another concern is the possibility that some will be paid twice – once by the local government and again by the U.S. Department of Treasury via the Loyalty Recognition Act.
In light of these concerns, it’s no surprise that doubts are casting a shadow over Adelup’s plan to help war survivors.
To be clear, we support reparations for those survivors, and we want to see them compensated before it is too late. However, we don’t want to see the war claims process delayed or jeopardized.
The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio administration should have taken the obvious step to minimize confusion. It should have discussed its plan with San Nicolas, who already was working on a possible solution in Congress.
The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio administration also should have discussed with local lawmakers the impact of using the local funds to pay the claims. Could some of the millions in local funds be used on other pressing needs?
We don’t know why Adelup kept the delegate — who was elected by the people of Guam — out of the loop. But we do know our elected officials need to work together on efforts that are in Guam’s best interests.
Island leaders must work together not just on the war claims process but on other issues as well. Regardless of whether there are disagreements for personal or policy reasons, leaders need to put aside their differences for the greater good. Island residents, especially our manåmko’, deserve nothing less.