Dengue funding running out; neither governor nor speaker doing anything about it

Spending report required by law not submitted; Speaker's Office unaware of the law

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes

By Troy Torres

(Tumon, Guam) Money may be running out soon to combat the Dengue outbreak, but neither Adelup nor the Legislature are doing anything about it.

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero gave herself the authority to use up to $250,000, when she declared a state of emergency eight days ago on Friday, September 13. That funding is being used to pay the vendor spraying insecticide in the PayLess area of Mangilao and the Swamp Road area of Dededo. The funding also is authorized for use to pay additional costs for emergency responders, and whatever equipment and supplies they may need for this operation.

GovGuam officials may soon be running out of the funding needed to continue the Dengue operation, just as confirmation comes that there are six additional cases of Dengue infection, five of which were locally-acquired.

Linda DeNorcey

The costs are mounting on taxpayers while their government is trying to control a crisis quickly growing out of hand. Meanwhile, Ms. Leon Guerrero and her public health director, Linda DeNorcey, have refused to contain the problem since it started four weeks ago by isolating any of the patients from the bite of mosquitos. With a total of eight infections now in an untold number of villages, it is highly likely that the Dengue mosquitos are quickly populating and that the numbers of suspected and confirmed cases will rise.

In short, the time to isolate patients from mosquitos may be long gone.

Ms. Leon Guerrero and Ms. DeNorcey, however, have had and refused to institute isolation protocols. §19604 of Article VI of the health laws of Guam states that Ms. DeNorcey may “isolate… an individual or group of individuals. This includes individuals or groups who have not been vaccinated, treated, tested, or examined.” Ms. DeNorcey had this prerogative to isolate the first suspected Dengue case on August 19, which was over a month ago, and prevent this outbreak from happening on Guam. But she didn’t. As of today, both the governor and Ms. DeNorcey have refused to isolate any of the suspected and confirmed cases.

As for the increasing demand to meet the funding needs of this growing crisis, Speaker Tina Muna Barnes told Kandit, “Should the governor call I Liheslatura into session, I will ensure that given the importance of addressing Dengue Fever and the impact to the livelihoods of our island residents, our body will act expeditiously. I am confident that especially as our Maga Haga is a nurse herself, she is aware of this matter and is acting accordingly.”

The governor, however, is nowhere to be found on this matter. Questions regarding the impending funding crisis have gone unanswered through today. Jenna Blas, Civil Defense spokeswoman, told Kandit that she will have an answer to this question tomorrow.

The Governor’s Office and Civil Defense also have not responded to our inquiry regarding a mandatory report of expenditures that was due to the Legislature September 18, detailing the use of emergency funds so far. §22402 of Title 5 of the laws of Guam states, “Whenever this authorization is used, (the governor) shall provide a written report of the expenditures of such funds and its source to (the Legislature) and the Public Auditor within five (5) days of such transactions.”

Chirag Bhojwani, senior policy advisor to Speaker Tina Muna Barnes, was unaware of the statute and was unsure whether any such report was transmitted to the Legislature as required by law. A review of the Legislature and the Public Auditor’s websites, however, show no postings of the required report.

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