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Programmatic Agreement signed

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - "Lynda is a courageous woman," Guam governor Eddie Calvo noted. "I think all she needed was support. I can't go back to the past but when this administration came in, we understood the responsibilities that this hardworking employee of the Government of Guam had and we gave her all the back up."

She held the key to unlock the door to Guam's economic prosperity that would result from the military buildup and after intense negotiations with the Navy - Guam State Historic Preservation Officer Lynda Aguon signed the Programmatic Agreement. Aguon's signature is one of four required making the PA a legally binding agreement. 

Governor Calvo in a press conference this afternoon said today we opened a new and exciting chapter for all Guamanians, saying, "One thing we do know with the signing of this Programmatic Agreement, about a billion dollars worth of projects will start to commence. There's already been about $200 million that has already been awarded that will come out immediately and the remainder the $800 million will come out through the bidding processing."

Aguon in a letter to senators explaining why she signed the PA, thanked them for their support and felt that it was important to let them know that Attorney Arthur Clark, who is the governor's chief policy advisor, listened to her and constantly sought her advice. It's apparent Aguon wanted to ensure senators knew that she was not pressured to sign the document and that Clark not once dictated to her what should be included in the PA.

Rather she noted that his persistence produced provisions in the final version that the Defense Department rejected in prior negotiations. Aguon went onto state the final document, although not perfect provides for all the signatories and the public be engaged every step of the way as an assurance that our historic properties are treated with special care, recognition, and respect, that access to them is not a privilege but a right.

Said Clark, "My goal was to listen to as many stakeholders here in Guam who had a voice in this and to take their concerns into consideration and to make those negotiating points when we met with the department of defense. As a result, we've received a lot of concessions that weren't on the table initially."

Those concessions including 24/7 access to Pagat Village, the shrinking of the federal footprint by the end of the buildup, and a "One Guam" and a "Green Guam" approach to military activities, the exclusion of Pagat Village and caves from the surface danger zone. DiD fund a cultural artifacts repository and that the Defense Department nominate two historic sites to the National Register annually.

Committee chair on the Guam Military Buildup Senator Judi Guthertz said that although she has not seen the document that Aguon signed, she "can only pray that is in Guam's best interest", adding, "I trust that she will do right by the people of Guam and was judicious in her deliberations prior to signing off on the Programmatic Agreement."

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