Have you ever taken the time to look closely at the overall operations of our government, Legislature or administration and then stepped back and wondered how it ever functioned?
If so, you’re not alone. Much of government functions in spite of itself simply driven by size, money and inertia.
However, during extremely trying times such as these, it is more imperative than ever that it function and function properly with the best interest of the majority of our people in mind.
The primary problem is the definitive lack of competent people to place in the top leadership positions in too many areas of critical importance.
Because of this lack, at times such as these you see one personal disaster after another followed by the rotation of many of these same people into different government positions.
As examples, places such as the Department of Public Health and Social Services and Guam Memorial Hospital are tasked with watching over health operations during these times.
The issues are not the result of the failure of the respective staff members in these organizations but rather those appointed into positions of leadership.
Health care on Guam has been a perennial problem, driven primarily by politics and the placement of political friends into positions that really require professionally qualified leaders.
Heretofore the solution to the pandemic has been islandwide business shutdown, restart and then shutdown once again only to restart and see another flare-up of cases. That should not surprise anyone.
After more than eight months it has been only during the last few weeks that we have seen real movement to aggressively track down and work to deal with sectors of significant concentration of the virus in northern Guam.
Yes, northern Guam also has the largest concentration of the island population so logically it should have been one of the first places for mobile testing to be done.
Two of the key sectors have been the Zero Down and the old Gill-Baza subdivisions. There are also numerous other areas up north that have similar issues.
Additionally, GovGuam has known about these extended families residing in one home in these areas for some time. That in turn potentially yields the likelihood for them being one of the greater breeding grounds for the spread of the virus.
Added to this, the government has continued to allow those areas to exist without proper sewers, septic systems, running water and other basic utility services that should be afforded such subdivisions prior to any sales being possible.
Given these realities one would think that the government would be looking to Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding to supply these areas with proper personal protective equipment materials along with improving the infrastructure for health and public safety reasons.
If we are ever to see these pandemic numbers decline, this government is going to have to get far more serious about how it deals with the problem. And, it must do so without destroying the economy in the process.
If there is blame to be laid on the table for the situation we find ourselves in, the leadership of the government of Guam need only look in the mirror for the answer.
Lee P. Webber is a former president and publisher of media organizations on Guam and Hawaii, former director of operations for USA Today International/Asia, and a longtime business and civic leader on Guam.