Meeting in Hawaii with officials over Compact impact - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Meeting in Hawaii with officials over Compact impact

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It was late last month when the Governor's Office met with Hawaii state officials and the Office of Insular Affairs over matters with Compact impact. But island leaders were left feeling disappointed over what they call a breakdown of communication.   

For months, the Governor's Office has been working to develop a task force aimed at addressing the gaps and deficiencies over Compact impact. And according to the governor's chief policy advisor Arthur Clark, a meeting in the Aloha State was set to bring progress to this initiative. "I was told that Hawaii had a task force in place, and I wanted to meet with the Hawaii people and the state officials to get an idea of what they have going on," he explained.

Clark says he met with state policy advisor Kendra Oishi along with the Office of Insular Affairs' Kristen Oleyte and Tom Bussanich, who joined via telephone. Hawaii and Guam have shared notes through the years over matters dealing with Compact impact including the reporting template set by the OIAi. These reports outline the impacts of the Compacts and recommendations for corrective action, but as Clark as reiterated time and again, the OIA has been critical of the template but has refused to regenerate a new one.

"It's been a little like pulling teeth in that regard," he explained.

Clark was initially under the impression Hawaii had taken the lead on an initiative two years ago to develop a new reporting template with OIA. However, that wasn't the case as Clark learned last month. Another shocking discovery - Clark was surprised to find out that Guam may actually be more advanced with its reporting template and that Hawaii didn't even have a task force established rather only a working group in place and was in the initial stages like Guam. "I'm disappointed that OIA wasn't able to highlight that for to Hawaii, I was assured that they were in constant communication with Hawaii and working with them to develop this template only when I met with the Hawaii officials, the ones who were working on this, they seemed unaware of the fact that Hawaii was actually supposed to be taking the lead here so there was obviously a communication breakdown here," he said.

He says the meetings however weren't for nothing as he hopes now the federal government truly understands Guam's frustration over the challenges of resolving this long standing issue. He ultimately hopes it may turn a new leaf between Guam and OIA.

"Which is why this last meeting was very positive in expressing these frustration directly to OIA and actually have them acknowledge the value in updating these templates and how it could be used in future legislative initiatives and by the end of the meeting, they did acknowledge that," he said.

Clark says the initiative is still moving forward and is drafting the documents for the appointment of the task force. 

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