Let’s take a look at the elements that, when life is broken down to the nitty gritty, are essential in assessing quality of life in any particular demographic: housing, nutrition, healthcare, education…
These are the elements that are behind the scenes during key milestones, from managing illnesses, to working toward a career, to buying a home, to building a family, to taking care of your family both young and old, to growing old and many more in between. They are the fundamentals that make up a successful and healthy community.
Yet they are fundamentals that we cannot seem to get right on our islands, particularly where the government is involved. Look at the current issues being discussed daily, many of which are touched on in the stories in this issue.
In real estate, there is not only a shortage in supply of new construction due to H-2 labor issues, but housing costs are on the rise as the median affordability index raises to approximately 4.0, a moderately unaffordable situation for prospective home owners.
In wholesale, uncertain times and legislative threats put pressure on the affordability of the flourishing industry that has managed to bring the quality and variety of products available on Guam up to par with any other market.
In healthcare, our one public civilian hospital on Guam has a major lack of the professionals, equipment and resources needed to adequately treat not only the major cases of illness, but even some daily medical treatments — leading to a meager 2.5% of respondents rating healthcare on the islands as better than adequate in a survey conducted by Guam Business.
Not even the education of our youth is in safe hands, as federal funding cuts loom overhead and cause the Guam Department of Education to assess employees, materials and planned renovations to the already crumbling system that educators and parents are trying to hold together for the children of Guam.
People coming to live on our islands have, at the very least, an expectation to find the fundamentals to build a well-rounded life here. Those of us who already call these islands home should expect the same and demand that public entities are expected to uphold more than the very minimum of existence. Our businesses do it. The government should follow the example of the businesses and business owners who take pride and plan accordingly to offer the best possible products and services for their neighbors on our islands.
Coming back from a recent trip off island, I had multiple people say to me, “Welcome back to our island paradise.” It’s time we brought our fundamentals up to speed with the potential that life in this paradise has to offer.