Group calls Calvo's actions "cowardice" for letting bill lapse - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Group calls Calvo's actions "cowardice" for letting bill lapse

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Now that Bill 19 has lapsed into law, the backlash begins as anti-gambling organization Keep Guam Good is calling out Governor Eddie Calvo for not only refusing to sign the bill but for not vetoing it either.

Keep Guam Good is disappointed in Governor Calvo's action - or lack thereof - with Bill 19. "When you blame others because of the difficult situation that you're in, when you don't listen to the people after you've asked them then it's very cowardly to kind of have something become law in the middle of the night under the cover of night, that's cowardly," said Keep Guam Good's Jackie Marati.   

In a strongly worded release Tuesday morning, Marati says while Governor Calvo claims he is anti-gambling, his refusal to sign the bill and at the same time refusal to veto it is "not leadership, that's cowardice. He blamed political powerhouses, he blamed processes, yet he chose to have poorly worded helter-skelter bill become law," she said.

Governor Calvo in his special address Monday said he didn't sign Bill 19 because of the way the bill was handled and the amendment to ban bingo and cockfighting didn't receive any public hearing. He further chose not to veto the measure because it would provide something meaningful to the hospital. Marati thinks otherwise. "This is not about funding the hospital, this is not about a tax law this is absolutely a piece of special interest legislation intended to benefit super special interest that is people who have had their machines licensed since 2001," she said.

The governor has said that based on his legal counsel's opinion, the bill was not about gambling but rather about taxes in which a legal memorandum was issued last week explaining the bill. Keep Guam Good says the governor is hiding behind his legal counsel's opinion. "He sought our input, he wanted to use social media, he wanted to use letters and phone calls yet in the end he didn't use a bit of it because he decided to let it become law it was very clear the opinions were in favor of him vetoing Bill 19," Marati said.

Governor Calvo meanwhile says he has no regrets at all with Bill 19 adding that while Keep Guam Good may want to make everything illegal in Guam like bingo, cockfighting and lotteries, he believes it should be done in the right way with proper input from the public. "So I think with Keep Guam Good they should look at a proper venue for vetting this to the public and I'm sure they would not like to see this done without a property hearing from the people. So though I may not agree with the statements they've made I respect their right to make those statements," he explained.

Deputy press secretary Phil Leon Guerrero adds the administration won't be engaging in a war of words but instead says they're focusing on other efforts to Keep Guam Good. As for cowardice, he says it's quite the opposite. "So when the legislation came to him, it wasn't perfect but at the end of the day, the governor is there to make tough decisions and some of those decisions are how to best deal with the important issues that are facing our people," said Leon Guerrero.

Bill 19's main author Senator Chris Duenas meanwhile says he does not have any comment at this time.

READ KEEP GUAM GOOD'S RELEASE

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