WASHINGTON, D.C.—Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina announced Friday nearly $1.5 million in grant funding under the Office of Insular Affairs’ Technical and Maintenance Assistance Programs to the government of Guam to support a number of priority needs identified by the governor.
A unique but exciting project will be the renovation of the Guam Seal historical park, where the scene depicted in the Seal of Guam will be recreated as a three-dimensional, interactive and interpretive display and transformed into the historical, cultural and educational site it was meant to be. Funds will also go to improving customs data management, training public auditors and violent crime prosecution investigators, and building capacity in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The University of Guam’s Center for Island Sustainability, founded in 2009 to conduct research and recommend policies for building community resilience against the effects of climate changes, will also receive a portion of the funds.
“While we are not able to support all of Guam’s identified needs, I am pleased to provide this initial support to the Governor’s Office in these high priority areas,” said Kia’aina.
– Living Seal Park Project: $273,054 to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, as “Keeper of the Seal” to renovate the Great Seal of Guam Park. This project will develop the park into an interactive, educational, historical landmark, which also falls along the Hagatna Walking Trail that provides an educational walking tour of the historic landmarks in Guam’s capital city.
“I am very pleased with [Friday’s] announcement approving these projects for Guam, and in particular our proposal to revitalize the Guam Seal Park,” said Guam Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio. “The funding will be used to upgrade the park with landscaping, bronze sculptures, benches and lighting, enhancing this landmark for our residents and visitors.” Tenorio met with Kia’aina in Washington, D.C. attending the National Lt. Governors Association meetings.
– Customs Data Management System for Guam Ports of Entry: $626,000 to the Customs and Quarantine Agency of Guam for a new Customs Management System, critical to enhancing services, capturing vital data and increasing the level of security at Guam’s ports of entry. The information captured by this new system will be used by government agencies for strategic planning in the fields of education, health, social services, public safety, and infrastructure.
– Guam’s Center for Islands Sustainability: $335,156 will support the University of Guam’s Center for Island Sustainability, considered the tip-of-the-spear for environmental sustainability dialogue in the region. The CIS was launched six years ago to focus research, policy-making, and action on the immediate needs of the region facing climate change.
“The stability of people’s livelihoods and island economies on Guam and in the Pacific depend on resiliency in all areas such as infrastructure, water and energy management,” said Kia’aina. “We are pleased that such a center exists to help communities manage resources and develop resiliency.”
– Public Accountability: $76,000 to the Guam Office of Public Accountability in partnership with the Office of the Inspector General to train and provide internship opportunities for existing audit staff.
“This funding supports a partnership with the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General,” said Kia’aina. “Through this program we build Guam’s capacity to promote efficient and effective governance.”
– Sexual Assault Investigation Training: $51,050 to the Guam Office of the Attorney General for Sexual Assault Investigation Training for Law Enforcement. The project will train officers in the methods and technological strategies for dealing with violent crime perpetrators and their victims. Funds will also be used to provide training in licensing and certification, and purchase mobile forensic equipment, which has the ability to retrieve, decode, and analyze information from devices such as phones and tablets.
“Communities [in] Guam must be safe from violent crimes such as sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence,” said Kia’aina. “We are pleased to support the Attorney General’s Prosecution Division to help ensure that such crimes are sufficiently investigated and do not go unpunished.”
– Support to Chief Medical Examiner: $71,808 to Guam’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the acquisition of a reliable specialized vehicle to be used by the office for the transport of deceased persons from crime scenes; procurement of surgical tools for the Chief Medical Examiner to perform efficient autopsies; and purchase of office computer equipment and furniture.
“The Chief Medical Examiner and staff need updated tools and resources to perform their work more efficiently and effectively,” said Kia’aina. “I am glad that we can be of service.” (DOI/OIA)