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Written by
Rory J. Respicio

An open and transparent government is the foundation of our democracy. Our people need and deserve a free flow of information from their government in order to ensure that public institutions are honest, accountable and truly serve the public interest.

Unfortunately, there is an increasing veil of secrecy descending upon government operations. The flow of political rhetoric is on the rise but the availability of facts about our government is on the decline. This is true whether we are talking about tax credit awards in lieu of cash payments, the use of public funds or the actions of government boards.

Issuing volumes of press releases is not a substitute for hard information and real transparency. It merely reduces government communication to public relations, marketing, hype and propaganda. True transparency is allowing members of the media, the public and other elected officials to shine the light of public scrutiny on all parts of the government.

This is a principle that all segments of the community agree upon, but is not necessarily practiced in reality by our government. For that reason, we must reform the statutes that ensure public access to information and strengthen the accountability of government officials for their actions.


Written by Jerick Sablan
Pacific Daily News

The newly approved Guam Freedom of Information Advisory Council could meet as soon as next month.

The council's creator, Sen. Rory Respicio, said the council aims to ensure that residents have the information they need about the government.

"The public's right to know is sacred and this FOIA Council will ensure that those rights are always protected," Respicio said.

Respicio yesterday announced that he appointed four people to be on the council -- Sen. Tom Ada, Pacific Daily News President and Publisher Rindraty Limtiaco, Guam Business Magazine Publisher Maureen N. Maratita and Santa Rita resident Barry Mead.

The Legislature's executive director, Vince Arriola, appointed Bernadette Sterne Meno as his designee.

The other members of the council have yet to be appointed by the governor and the legislative speaker.