Bank to close branch

Bank of Guam will officially close its Harmon Branch on Jan. 29, 2021 and transfer customer accounts to its Upper Tumon Branch, according to a letter mailed to clients.  

The bank’s ATM is presently operative, but the branch is not open. The Upper Tumon branch has already received accounts from the Tumon Branch, and regularly sees long lines outside of the branch.

Bank of Guam has consistently advocated digital banking, and does so in the letter to clients.

Bank of Guam closed its Santa Cruz Hagåtña branch in September 2017, and its Merizo and Tumon branches in April. The bank told the Journal at that time that its staff had been redeployed elsewhere and said in the letter to clients regarding the Harmon closure that the same would occur with employees there.

The bank has branches in Guam in Hagåtña – where its headquarters is located, Dededo, Mangilao, Tamuning, Upper Tumon, and Yigo, as well as at Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam.


ADB and Japan fund to support Palau clean energy financing

The Asian Development Bank announced Nov. 3 it has approved a $3 million grant to “increase access to disaster-resilient clean energy for consumers in Palau.”

The grant comes from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, a trust fund established in 2000 by the Government of Japan “to provide direct assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable group of ADB’s developing member countries while fostering long-term social and economic development,” according to the ADB’s release.

The ADB-supported Palau Disaster Resilient Clean Energy Financing Project will provide about 900 eligible low-income households and female borrowers improved access to affordable disaster-resilient clean energy financing. The project, through the National Development Bank of Palau as the financial intermediary, will extend loans to borrowers including women, and conduct awareness-raising activities, such as public campaigns and workshops.


Surgeon general supports administration, says tourism and commerce must wait

In remarks to administration officials, media and a general audience the morning of Nov. 5, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, supported the actions of the administration and health officials, underlining island positive numbers (see below) and the islands hospitals capacity, as well as the need to maintain quarantine protocols, testing and isolation.“In four to six weeks we can get this virus under control,” he said.

Adams said the island could duplicate its previous positive numbers. “I know you can do this yet again,” he said. “The number of people with COVID-19 is high and it is rising. A great concern is hospitals in Guam are nearing capacity.” Adams underscored the heed to follow health guidelines and spoke of the prevalence of COVID in minority groups to include the island’s Chuukese population specifically.

The approach to containment should be a community one, involving businesses, faith communities and non-profits he said. Adams said individuals should maintain health and wellness and arrange for flu shots.

Adams took questions from “local media,” who were not identified by name or organization.

On the availability of a vaccine, he said, “I expect that to happen before the end of this year.” He said the vaccine would first be made available to “the elderly, people with chronic medical conditions and healthcare workers,” but made no mention of other community sectors like the armed forces. “Unfortunately, Guam has more than its share of vulnerable populations; you will be getting the vaccine.” He said people should welcome a vaccine rather than be suspicious of it.

Adams said later said that for a contained location such as the island of Guam, “We can get herd immunity by February or March – we really could. We have to remember that science and data will lead the way.”

Adams said that lockdown was not an approved strategy. “We have not been advocating for lockdown,” he said, but also said that adverse situations in locations called for policy. “The way that we avoid lockdowns or shorten lockdowns is by following these basic health measures.” By not doing so, he said, “You force your health officials hands and governor’s hands.”

In response to the Journal’s question asking for his opinion on a two-pronged approach – combatting the virus while opening the economy as Hawaii is doing with pre-testing, he said testing was available with a result in 15 minutes. “We have the ability to be able to open in a controlled manner in any place to tourism with a smart strategy of testing people when they come in, so that you know whether or not they’ve been exposed or not. That is a feasible strategy especially for an island like Guam where you know who’s coming in, you can make sure they get tested before they get on the plane, or on this side before you release them from the airport with results back in 15 minutes.” However, he said, “You can’t even think about that until you get the virus under control; with a 12% positivity rate, that’s not an option that’s even on the table.”

Following the three Ws, he said, would put officials in a position to consider re-opening, he said. Speaking to business leaders, he said, “Reject that false dichotomy, reject that false comparison that you’re either for re-opening or you’re for health. Businesses on the island of Guam should be going around and saying to their employees and to anyone who will listen, ‘We need you to do your part, because that’s what allows us to open and get back to business again.’”

The governor’s office said no further lockdown measures are foreseen at this time.


Latest Guam COVID cases number 42; four additional fatalities announced

Laboratory New Cases Reported on Wednesday, November 4Samples Tested on Tuesday, November 3Total Negative Tests (March 12 – November 3)Total Reported Cases (March 12 – November 4, 2020)
Department of Public Health & Social Services (DPHSS) Guam Public Health Laboratory (GPHL)4228833,6942,514
Department of Defense (DoD)41068,224561
Diagnostic Laboratory Services (DLS)24909,110795
Guam Memorial Hospital Authority (GMHA) Laboratory5615,927346
Guam National Guard (GUNG) Laboratory00170
Guam Regional Medical City (GRMC) Laboratory2304,303263
Private Clinics552 2,989349
Other Laboratories 0N/AN/A2
Probable Case 910158973

NOVEMBER 4, 2020

Total Confirmed:


Total Samples Tested:


Total Negative Tests:


Total COVID-19 Cases:



COVID HOSPITAL CENSUSGuam Memorial HospitalGuam Regional Medical CityU.S. Naval HospitalTOTAL
IN ICU155222


Two additional fatalities were announced Nov. 4, and two Nov. 5 taking the island’s total to 85.


Regional election results

Voter turnout in Guam was 51.96% of 55,880 registered voters, who for the most part elected sitting or returning senators. Top vote getters were Democrat Sen. Therese M. Terlaje, followed by Republican Sen. James C. Moylan and Democrat Sen. Telina C. Nelson. Democrats retained eight seats in the 15-seat legislature, while Republican seats rose to seven.  

Incumbent Guam Delegate to Congress Michael F.Q. San Nicolas took first place, followed by former delegate Robert A. Underwood, with lone Republican William Castro placing third.

A runoff will be held Nov. 17 between the two Democrats. Castro told the Journal, “I have the privilege of considering both candidates as a voter and not as a challenger. I will make a final decision on who to vote for or openly support based on the strengths and value they bring to the position.”

Castro said he was grateful to the people of Guam for the opportunity to have been a candidate and humbled to have received their votes. He said, “I am most proud of how we conducted ourselves during this campaign,” and thanked his family and team of volunteers.

For detailed Guam results, see the Election Commission site at

Results for the Senate and House of Representatives for the Northern Mariana Islands can be found at

From Palau, Journal Correspondent Bernadette H. Carreon reports that after tabulation of votes in all 16 states, preliminary results show Surangel Whipps Jr. leading the race by 1,202 votes in the presidential race over sitting Vice President Raynold Oilouch. Whipps received 4,640 votes and Oilouch 3,438. Whipps is a former senator and CEO of Surangel & Sons Co.

In the Vice-presidential race Sen. J. Uduch Sengebau Sr. leads by 354 votes ahead of Frank Kyota. Sengebau would be the first female vice president elected in Palau since 2001. She is serving her second term as a senator in the Tenth Olbiil Era Kelulau, Palau’s Congress. Sengebau is the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Culture and Traditions and a member of several committees in the Senate.

Kyota is the former longtime general manager for IP&E, which does business as Shell Palau. He retired in October 2016 after some years of also serving as a delegate in the OEK.

Next week – from Nov. 9 – the Palau Election Commission will tabulate close to 2,000 absentee votes.

Palau has 16,760 registered voters, of which 8, 212 voted. mbj