Guam Country Report
Guam is a stable, well-developed democracy administered by Governor Lou Leon Guerrero as an unincorporated US territory. Crime is not a major concern for foreigners, although rates of violent crime have risen during the past five years. More than 17,000 immigrants have made use of various small Pacific states’ Compacts of Free Association with the US to move to Guam, which has struggled with the costs associated with their presence. Guam remains one of the most prosperous islands in the Pacific, with the economy driven by the island’s role as a US naval base. However, Guam suffers from its dependence on a narrow tourism-services base, especially in the current COVID-19-affected environment, and its financing from the US federal government to cover fiscal shortfalls.
Guam enjoys strong links with the US, particularly as it uses the dollar and falls under US jurisdiction. The government welcomes foreign investment, especially US and Japanese. Infrastructure is well-developed by regional standards: Apra Harbor is the largest natural deep-water port between Asia and Hawaii, and a modern highway system covers the entire length of the island. However, corruption is a problem in the public and private sectors, particularly with respect to the prioritisation of local infrastructure projects. Labour relations do not pose a major operational risk. Occasionally, the US government imposes new labour rules over wages or visas, particularly for projects involving the military.
Crime is not a serious security or safety concern for foreigners in Guam, although rates of violent crime had increased during the past several years. Drug trafficking and abuse remain problems for the authorities; the main drug trafficked into Guam is crystal methamphetamine, and rates of methamphetamine and marijuana use are relatively high. Prescription-drug abuse is on the rise, as it is in the United States. Drug trafficking has also fuelled a rise in firearms- and explosives-related crime. Sexual violence is reportedly a major problem, with Guam having one of the highest rates of reported rape in the United States.