Giving military discounts? DoD extends expirations
Due to COVID “and its impact on ID card site operations,” the U.S. Department of Defense is extending “temporary Uniformed Services ID card expiration policy guidance for all USID cards with expiration dates between Jan. 1 and July 31 as follows:
- Through Aug. 31 for all Foreign Affiliates* and their dependents;
- Through Oct. 31 for the dependents of Active-Duty uniformed service members, and Reserve and National Guard uniformed service members and their dependents; and
- Through Jan. 31, 2022 for retirees and their dependents, and all other US ID card populations.
ID cards that expired prior to Jan. 1, 2020, have not been extended and must be replaced. ID cards with expiration dates after July 31, 2021, must be replaced by their expiration date, according to a June 8 release from the U.S. Department of Defense.
*“Foreign affiliates” include foreign civilian employees, and contractors, but not military personnel, according to the Department.
NOTE: Also, according to the Department, ID cards can also be referred to as “common access cards.”
Bank official faces more charges, allowed to return to FSM
MAJURO, Marshall Islands — Despite an increased number of criminal charges filed against Bank of Guam Vice President and Branch Manager Jackey Salomon on June 4, a Majuro court granted his request to depart the Marshall Islands this week, on a special charter flight to repatriate FSM citizens to Pohnpei.
Salomon was scheduled to depart Majuro early June 8 on Air Marshall Islands after posting a $5,000 bond with the court.
Salomon was initially charged with three counts of tax evasion for allegedly not reporting the actual level of income/revenue his company received and not paying sufficient social security, health fund and gross revenue taxes for a business he was running while he was managing the Majuro branch of Bank of Guam. The alleged tax evasion charges were upgraded June 4 to include allegedly providing financial services without a license and money laundering. The latter is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail and up to a $2 million fine.
At his appearance June 4 before High Court Chief Justice Carl Ingram, Salomon’s attorney Jack Jorbon made the case for allowing him to return home on the special charter flight, while Attorney General Richard Hickson called on the court to order Salomon to remain in Majuro pending the outcome of the court case. Ingram, who had ordered Salomon to turn in both of his passports to the court at the hearing May 31, sided with the defense, setting $5,000 bail, ordering his passports returned, and directing that Salomon can appear for the preliminary hearing later this month by Zoom.
The original three tax evasion charges were filed against Salomon doing business as Global Management Services for which he opened an account at Bank of Marshall lands in October 2019 with two checks totaling $131,000 from the Kili-Bikini-Ejit Local Government.
In an affidavit filed with the charges, Marshall Islands Banking Commissioner Sultan Korean said his office received a suspicious transaction report from the bank regarding deposits over $10,000 to the GMS account that led to further review. This led to the attorney general filing his charges and further investigation by the banking commission.
On June 1, Korean issued a letter to Salomon with a list of 11 subjects related to GMS for which he requested Salomon produce documents for their meeting the next day. Although the Banking Commission has subpoena power, Korean issued this as a request. In the court filing Friday, Korean said Salomon “did not bring Global Management Services business records requested.”
It is unclear how the scheduled departure of Salomon will impact the ongoing investigation into the alleged money laundering and other charges.
Shortly after the initial charges were filed in the High Court, Bank of Guam placed another staff member in charge of Bank of Guam’s Majuro branch (See News Update of June 4 at www.mbjguam.com )
Guam tourism office in Taiwan changes name
The Guam Visitors Bureau in Taipei changed its name to the Guam Taiwan Office on June 7, according to reports in the Taiwan media, to encourage not only tourism, but a broadening of commercial, trade and cultural relationships. GTO also appreciated assistance from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Guam, the American Institute in Taiwan’s commercial section as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of Northern American Affairs had also, according to a report by Focus Taiwan.
Speaking with the Journal from Taipei on June 8, Felix Yen, representative of the bureau, confirmed the name change.
Yen also confirmed that the action will allow not only for tourism but for future potential business investment from Taiwan. “That’s the way to attract more traffic to Guam,” he said.
While GBV has begun to market vaccine tourism for expatriate populations as a first move, Yen said there are plans for outbound tourism from Taiwan.
Both China Air and Eva Air have previously flown on the Guam-Taiwan route. Yen said, “They already got their resume-flights certificates. Now it depends on the opportunities.”
According to Journal files, Guam is among destinations StarLux Airlines applied to fly to in 2020.
In other tourism news, the Bureau of Statistic & Plans is seeking a Request for Proposal for Guam’s Tourism Recovery Plan, with bids due on June 30. Copies of the solicitation are available at the Bureau or from www.bsp.guam.gov.
GVB will award cash and cars as prizes from June 16 in a campaign to promote vaccination on Guam. According to Krystal Paco-San Agustin, winning names will be drawn live on Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero’s Facebook page at 7.21 a.m. (The time is a reference to July 21, when the Liberate Guam campaign aims to reach herd immunity, on Guam’s Liberation Day.)
CBS news team delivers exposure for Guam’s vaccine program for expats
A CBS news team out of Tokyo covered Guam’s vaccine program for expatriate Americans and its plans to vaccinate tourists in a piece that aired June 7, CHamoru standard time.
Experts quoted by the team in a two and a-half-minute report gave mixed reactions.
Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero – who is, as the report said, a registered nurse – took the opportunity to administer the vaccines herself at the University of Guam to the CBS news team, … “sporting a traditional flower head lei,” the news item said.
Following news of Venice (the first cruise leaving port) and Hawaii (no COVID testing) – the report called Guam “a sleepy compact island,” though a description of Guam’s “Instagram perfect aquamarine waters” accompanied tempting footage of beaches and waters, and tourists enjoying Guam’s offerings.
While not direct marketing, the report is sure to get traction in ex-pat circles.
Readers can find the item at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/guam-offering-vaccine-tourism-packages-to-help-kickstart-economy/
Guam risk level now considered moderate
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control lowered Guam’s risk level from 4 to 2, or “moderate,” on June 7. In a June 8 release (CHamoru standard time), Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero said, “This complements our recently updated protocols that allow vaccinated travelers to enter our borders without quarantine.”
Saga of Supplemental Security Income continues
According to a June 8 release from Equally American which advocates for equal rights for residents of the territories, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that Congress has the power to deny otherwise eligible U.S. citizens in the territories access to Supplemental Security Income benefits, based solely on where they happen to live. This came after President Joseph R. Biden Jr. issued a statement that his own DOJ’s position was “inconsistent with my administration’s policies and values.” Last September, the Trump DOJ sought review of United States v. Vaello Madero, a landmark decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that upheld a District Court ruling of the denial of SSI benefits to residents of Puerto Rico. In March, the Supreme Court granted review.
While the DOJ brief defends the discriminatory federal law, it also recognizes that “as a matter of policy, the administration supports extending SSI benefits to Puerto Rico residents.” Indeed, the brief recognizes that Mr. Vaello Madero’s “circumstances forcefully illustrate the case for enhancing aid to needy individuals in Puerto Rico.” But ultimately, DOJ’s position is that “Congress is fully empowered to extend SSI to Puerto Rico in light of the concerns respondent identifies, but its decision not to do so does not violate the Constitution under this court’s precedents,” the release said. mbj