Speaker Muña Barnes' statement on the USS Theodore Roosevelt

Speaker Muña Barnes
Speaker Muña Barnes

Speaker Muña Barnes' statement on the USS Theodore Roosevelt

Office of Speaker Tina Muna Barnes

Buenas Yan Hafa Adai! May God’s many blessings be bestowed upon each and every one of you.

This morning, our Maga’haga had informed me of her decision to allow for our brave men and women from the USS Theodore Roosevelt to be housed in our local hotels.

From my discussion with our Maga’haga, I have been informed that this decision was made with the mutual consent to put the safety of our Island Residents first.

Based on her conversations with Admiral Aquillino, Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, as well as Rear Admiral Menoni, Commander of Join Region Marianas, our Governor and our Military leaders share the same concern: that must we keep the Residents of Guam, and the Sailors of the USS Theodore Roosevelt safe.

As such, only sailors who have been TESTED and CLEARED of COVID 19 will be allowed to disembark on our shores. This means, each sailor who sets foot outside of the perimeter of Naval Base Guam, has had a swab taken, it has been sent for testing, and upon the receipt of negative results, then only are they are permitted to venture into a facility outside the fences of a Naval Installation.  

While sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt will be housed in our local hotels, I would like to point out that the United States Armed Forces have implemented policies to ensure that there will be no contact with local residents. This means, sailors staying in our hotels, are prohibited from leaving their rooms, prohibited from venturing onto our beaches, and US Military Healthcare and Security personnel have been called in to provide care and security within the confines of each hotel. Policies are also being implemented as we speak to ensure that there will be NO CONTACT among the sailors of the Roosevelt and hotel staff.

Furthermore, as an added measure, the Guam Army National Guard will be deployed to provide perimeter security outside each facility. I had reached out to Joint Region Marianas, and they have informed me that all available facilities within their inventory, from Gyms, Warehouses, Barracks, those will be utilized before facilities outside the fence is utilized.

Seventy Five years ago, the predecessors of the Sailors on the United States Roosevelt gave their all to liberate our island. Today, over 20 sons and daughters of Guam, have joined the ranks of the United States Navy and are on board the USS  Theodore Roosevelt as they do their part in providing for the freedoms, which we take for granted.

I understand our community has concerns regarding the decision that our Governor has made – but I want to assure each and every one of you, that your concerns are being heard, your suggestions are being considered, and all actions of this Government of Guam are focused on keeping our fellow Guamanians safe. I understand our history with Uncle Sam may not necessarily be smooth sailing – but during times like these, we must put our differences aside and do what is right for Humanity’s sake.

To our Heroes on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a month and a half ago I had the privilege of flying onto your ship and observing firsthand the professionalism and dedication which each of you possess in doing your part to keep our loved ones and nation safe. I wish we were under different circumstances where I can personally welcome you to our shores again and exhibit the warm hospitality and Spirit of Inafa Maolek our People are known for. During these trying times, I want to assure you, that this Government of Guam will do our part to ensure that you are kept safe, while we ensure that all measures are taken to stop the spread of COVID-19.

To the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, grandmothers, grandfathers, children, and loved ones of our Heroes on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt, as a wife of a retired serviceman, and mother of a Proud service member, I stand by your side as we  pray for a quick resolve of this predicament.

God Bless our Sailors, God Bless America, and most importantly, God Bless our People of Guam!

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You can watch the address here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjNo3bftsYY&feature=youtu.be

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