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Governor standing by Bamba, too

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Another person Governor Felix Camacho has stood by through thick and thin is his chief of staff, George Bamba.  The latter continues to be active with the operations at the Port Authority of Guam despite the Office of the Attorney General recommending he be admonished for his involvement in a port contract with Parsons Brinkerhoff, which subcontracted a community outreach program to a company where Bamba's daughter-in-law is employed. 

"Well, what does it mean?  Do they mean to send me back to kindergarten or what?" Bamba said. "They've determined that I've did nothing wrong except that I should be admonished.  I said, 'Wait a minute, this is the case!'  I made a call given the urgency of the situation and the need to modernize the port that PB, who had the contract for the port. As I was telling the AG's Office, John Weisenburger, I said the last plan that ever went to the legislature that needed Legislature approval was dead on arrival."

Weisenberger, the deputy attorney general, completed a review of the procurement.  While the AG's Office found that there wasn't a conflict of interest that would constitute ethical violations under the procurement law - they determined that the procurement of the community outreach program by the General Services Agency at the direction of Bamba violated Guam law because the acquisition of the program was beyond the scope of the original procurement of the port master plan and should have been a separate procurement of professional services. 

Weisenberger, through the investigation, noted that PBI had failed to develop and implement a web portal even though they had been paid for work that was never completed. Weeks after the legal review was issued, Parsons Brinkerhoff announced the completion of the web portal.  

In the meantime, Bamba continues to work with the agency this time in trying to secure funding for port upgrades. With the recent denial of the $50 million TIGER grant, Bamba says the Camacho Administration is moving forward and that he met with the port board this week to develop a new strategy to come up with the money to modernize Guam's lifeline.

He said, "If you can't solve the first choke point to the military buildup, the buildup's not going to happen regardless and they turned us down for the tiger grant, but that's not going to stop us."

Bamba adds he will be meeting with the port again next week when board chairperson Monte Mesa returns from off-island.

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