by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Today marked the deadline for consulting parties and the Government of Guam to provide comments to the Department of Defense on the latest version of the Programmatic Agreement. Governor's chief policy advisor Arthur Clark says the government's comments were already submitted a week ago and the negotiating process continues.
"As the parties consult and comments are received and as we directly negotiate with the navy here is to really treat this like a contract where the Navy might want to have a 30-day provision and we may want a 60-day provision and there's some negotiating going back and forth and you end up with 45 days," said Clark.
Clark says the Navy has given indications that another revised version of the PA, including responses to comments received on the current draft could be available as early as next week. Clark says aside from concerns about the military's footprint near the historic village of Pagat, he's also negotiating other matters like base access policies and the return of artifacts.
He said, "There's a lot of things that we want that unfortunately a lot of people haven't heard yet and all they hear is what the navy wants and they think this is a one way process - no no, there's a lot of things that Guam wants and a lot of things that people have been asking for certain items and I've taken all these comments and I've distilled them into points that I think that are valid, achievable and in the best interest of Guam and those are the points that I've been pushing in these discussions."