By Johnnie Rosario
(Tumon, Guam) Today is the first day elderly veterans are allowed to shop on the military bases since base commands revised rules, and lines of them - longer than the tax refunds lines in 2011 - are wrapping around the commissaries. They include elderly and disabled veterans and retirees. This is happening now.
In a video address from Congressman Michael San Nicolas this morning, Mr. San Nicolas addresses this issue and again calls on the military command to end this division in its rules, which are unique to Guam.
"We've already written to the admiral about not excluding our Guardsmen, our Reservists, our retirees, and our veterans from being able to access the base on the weekdays. That still has not changed. As a matter of fact what has changed is they carved some of that weekend time to make room for those who are 60 years or older. That's a good thing, but they're only carving out of the same group that we're trying to give more access to. And so we're going to be following up with another letter to the admiral. They're not doing this in Hawaii. They're not doing this anywhere else in our country. They're not excluding our Reservists, our Guardsmen, our Veterans, and our retirees anywhere else in the United States. There's no reason why that exclusion should be taking place on Guam. I know that since our first letter the military has implemented limitations on how much stuff can be bought at the commissary. They've implemented limitations on the frequency of people coming in to maintain the social distancing. Those things are good. Now that those things are in place, let's get our Guardsmen, our Reservists, our Veterans and our retirees up to a level of parity similar to the rest of the country."
"We're going to be following up with another letter on that and we're hopeful that this gets resolved quickly. I'm also taking this up with the top brass out here in Washington, D.C. Because we already have enough inequities as it is with our veterans services and the treatment of our people out on Guam with the access they have to military benefits, etc. We don't want to be making it any worse, you know, by creating this environment where our people are getting treated differently than anywhere else in America."