Guam - Just this week top officials from the Navy visited Guam and claimed "Pagat was off the table" as the site of a firing range for U.S. Marines. But the statement has caused some confusion over just what the Department of Defense's definition of Pagat is.
Chief Program Office of the Guam Preservation Trust Joe Quinata said he had mixed reaction when he heard the news. Quinata says he is pleased the governor is supporting their efforts but is disappointed information regarding the boundaries of Pagat are not clear. He says when his office speaks of Pagat Village they are referring to all the cultural property of Pagat and the land that surrounds the historical site.
"So you are looking at coast around that area and not just not just the cave or not only just the cultural resources you find next to the cave but really from the head trail of Pagat all the way up that the traditional cultural property of Pagat," he detailed.
"I think Joe raises a good question," noted Attorney Leevin Camacho with We Are Guahan. "Why is DoD defining what Pagat Village is, why do we have to rely on their representations of what the DoD has said, 'OK, we are not going to touch this particular track of land'? You know, I think there are experts like Joe and Lynda Aguon, who know that that whole area is rich in cultural facts and history."
We Are Guahan is one of the groups who has sued the feds, claiming the DoD broke the law by identifying Pagat as the site for the range without fully researching alternative sites. Camacho says contrary to concerns voiced by some senators in recent weeks if Governor Eddie Calvo signs the Programmatic Agreement it will not affect the lawsuit they, as well as the Guam Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation filed in November of last year.