Guam Governor Considers Declaring FSM Consul General 'Persona Non Grata'

Calvo unhappy FSM refuses to assist his effort to remove convicted criminals

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Sept. 9, 2016) – Gov. Eddie Calvo said he may declare the Federated States of Micronesia’s top diplomatic representative in Guam as persona non grata, or unwelcome.

The governor stated the possible move in a letter to FSM President Peter Christian.

The governor’s office released the letter Thursday morning as Calvo’s administration recently sent several FSM migrants who were convicted of crimes on Guam, on one-way tickets back to their island nation.

The governor’s action stems from FSM Consul General Robert Ruecho’s recent letter indicating that the FSM office would no longer confirm for the government of Guam if a convicted criminal is a citizen of the FSM. Instead, Ruecho has stated in a recent letter, GovGuam needs to follow the process established through the FSM Justice Department’s immigration division in Pohnpei state.

Calvo wrote that he hopes President Christian would reconsider Ruecho’s action.

“As for the consul general himself, if you confirm this is his attitude toward our people, then I declare him to be persona non grata by the government of Guam,” Calvo wrote.

Calvo also wrote to Christian about Guam and the FSM’s shared past — as communities “scorned by subjugation by imperial masters.”

“You and I have the difficult duty of shepherding societies scorned by subjugation by imperial masters,” Calvo wrote. “Today the master is our colonizer. Despite your independence, our colonizer is your supposed benefactor, imposing security and transportation demands upon the vast terrestrial and marine resources spanning your great nation.”

Ruecho wasn’t available when reached at his office, and hadn’t returned a phone call for comment.

Certain officials in the FSM government have said the issue of deporting FSM citizens is between the U.S. government and the FSM. Under the U.S.-FSM Compact of Free Association, thousands of FSM citizens are allowed entry into the United States, and the majority of them have chosen to live in Guam.

A Hawaii-based advocate of FSM and other Pacific islander issues, Vid Raatior, cautioned that Calvo’s stance could turn the governor into “the new Trump of the Pacific” — if the federal government and the FSM don’t step in to protect FSM immigrants in Guam.

“I don't appreciate the governor bullying FSM convicts as pawns in his ultimate fight against the U.S. federal government” regarding GovGuam’s request to get more federal funds as a host of FSM migrants, Raatior said.

By focusing on the so-called “bad apples" in the FSM community in Guam, Raatior said in an email, the media focus shifts from “the majority of FSM citizens in Guam who are positively contributing, hardworking, law-abiding, civic engaged, caring, compassionate, loving, and tax-paying.”

“I'm afraid for the rest of the (Compact of Free Association) citizens in Guam,” Raatior said.

“What will stop the governor from deporting others deemed as unable to support themselves in … Guam?” Raatior said, adding later: “What will stop him from deporting the rest of the COFA citizens who are houseless, living in low income housing, relying on food stamps, failing in school, struggling with unemployment, using Guam's healthcare, struggling in homeless shelters?”

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2016 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Add new comment