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Special task force will address Compact impact

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Hundreds of millions of dollars exist in unreimbursed Compact impact for Guam. However, the Governor's Office is hoping the formation of a special task force may finally help in addressing gaps and deficiencies on the longstanding issue.

Last year, it was estimated the impacts from the Compact was about $125 million, but according to Governor Eddie Calvo's chief policy advisor Arthur Clark, if you look further back, its estimated to be drastically more. "If we go back to the beginning of the compact we're close well if you throw in FY2013 we're probably at the billion dollar mark now as far as what we feel are unreimbursed impacts," he said.

Clark says that's an alarming figure adding some of the challenges have been noted in reporting templates between the Department of the Interior and the Government of Guam - a matter of concern not only on island but to others in the Pacific as well. "The lieutenant governor of Hawaii,, Governor Guam and CNMI all discussed this reports issue and agreed that we would work together to develop a template primarily because we asked DOI to provide one and they said that's not there job. But they're critical of the reports were using but they're not going to tell us what we need to do to make it right," he said.

The reports outline the impacts of the compacts and recommendations for corrective action. And in order to overall address the gaps and deficiencies regarding the impacts of the compacts of free association on the territory along with the reporting templates, a special task force is in the works. "We're working on trying to get a task force in place then so we can take all these issues and address them and start coming up with a comprehensive plan to go forward and start addressing these issues," he said.

He adds no definitive names have been set in stone, but he has had discussions with some former senators on the Compact impact issue. He says its only in the initial discussion phase but hopes to have it empanelled sometime this year. Ultimately Clark says, its an initiative that needs to be done. "The federal government comes back with here's why we can't help you any further because you have some gaps whether its relative to deportation, computing the amounts of the impact the total effects so to the extent its incumbent on us to shore up our house and make sure we have everything in order to present to the federal government it will certainly help us when we go make petitions," he said.

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