Economic Development Measures Passed to a Vote in the Legislative Assembly | Local News


Economic development was at the center of Thursday’s legislative session, with lawmakers discussing measures to establish a new transshipment industry as a ‘third strand’ of the economy and calling for federal support for the financing of a new building. sustainable for a fishermen’s cooperative.

Both measures were added to the session’s agenda at the request of Vice-President Tina Muña Barnes and will be put to the vote.

Bill 2 aims to facilitate the growth of a new transshipment industry on the island by establishing a working group to coordinate efforts between public and private entities and other partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to the vice president, she has been in talks with the Biden administration and met with the senior economic recovery adviser who has expressed interest in using Guam not only as a shipping hub but also as a potential meeting point. for raw materials.

She also expressed interest in improving supply chains across the Pacific and cited a United Nations study that examined the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on supply chains in the region.

“Pacific island nations have been cut off from the outside world, preventing them from accessing basic commodities, essential health care supplies and their only source of income, which is the export of local products such as fish and copra, has also been discontinued, ”she said. .

The Port of Authority of Guam was a prime candidate to fulfill the role of a maritime transport hub in the region, Muña Barnes said, citing the port’s ability to remain open and operate throughout the pandemic.

Senator Telo Taitague expressed concern about the lack of funding identified in Bill 2. She cited testimony from the Guam Economic Development Authority during a public hearing on the bill, according to which the agency did not currently have funding to support the project.

Taitague expressed support for the measure, but said: “I hope this is not one of those legislations that have been around for quite some time, as I have known some working groups that have been implemented by this organ and adopted by this organ which has not even been started.

Muña Barnes clarified that there was no funding deemed necessary yet, and that there would be the possibility of returning to the legislature for other appropriations when needed. GEDA, she said, was also willing to incorporate resources and manpower that had already been allocated to other economic projects that Governor Lou Leon Guerrero had deemed necessary.

Amendments were passed to add the chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the chairman of the Philippine Guam Community, the chairman of the Korean Chamber of Commerce, and the chairman of the Guam Entrepreneurs Association as unlawful members. to vote.

Senator Sabina Perez also called for the president of the University of Guam and the director of the Department of Agriculture to be added to the working group. The amendment was adopted without opposition.

Fishermen’s cooperative

The speaker Thérèse Terlaje also presented Resolution 63, which was introduced at the behest of Del. Mike San Nicolas. The resolution calls for the support of the United States Congress for funding an expanded Fishermen’s Co-op facility. San Nicolas said he is seeking federal resources in upcoming rounds of community project funding.

A new facility could provide the opportunity for a Guam longline fleet and increase the capacity of the fishery to support community jobs.

“I would like to congratulate the fishermen’s cooperative, the local fishing community and the public for showing patience as we continue to face the various challenges, said the vice president, “and despite all of this , we are moving closer to fishing co-ops with a vision of a sustainable facility that Guam can truly be proud of.

Public Law 27-24, which allowed the cooperative to expand its facilities at the Gregorio D. Perez Marina, was passed by Guam’s 24th Legislature in 2003.

The speaker relayed plans for the new facility, as outlined by Association President Manuel Duenas, during the public hearing for the resolution. These would include a seafood handling receiving dock, a processing and storage room, a new customer showcase providing fish from the cooperative and a learning center. maritime.

The total cost of the reconstruction is around $ 6.8 million, the speaker said, of which $ 3 million has already been funded along with an addition of $ 995,000 from the port authority. Federal funds are being considered to cover the remaining $ 3 million.

“Members of the fishing community have waited so long, I mean, for some it’s almost their lives, that they have waited to see this facility,” said Senator Joanne Brown, “I have good hope… that we can finally see the many dreams and hard work of many in our community come true.

You can reach journalist Joe Taitano II at [email protected]

This article originally appeared on Pacific Daily News: Economic Development Measures Passed to Legislative Assembly Vote

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