Calvo: Stop military construction; federal refusal to unfreeze H2B last straw for Guam gov
Governor Calvo made similar points about the H2B situation during a recent meeting of the Guam Contractor's Association
If Washington won't stop continued denials of skilled foreign workers for Guam projects, Governor Eddie Baza Calvo is demanding an immediate end to military buildup construction while the Record of Decision and Programmatic Agreement that underlie the multi-billion dollar defense effort are reassessed.
“I have been provided no viable options by anyone in the Federal Government and now must resort to options not considered before,” the governor wrote to acting Director James W. McCament, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. “I have directed my Senior Staff Advisor on the Military Build Up to begin the process of informing the Department of Defense of my desire to request a total stoppage of any further military construction on Guam, while we reassess the Record of Decision and Programmatic Agreement.”
Despite numerous calls and letters to Department of Labor, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services in the last two years, there has been no resolution to the problem created with the denied requests to augment local labor workforces with skilled laborers.
“Unfortunately, this H2B denial, which started with the bureaucrats of the Obama Administration, continues to linger. In so doing, it is not only hindering our island’s economy but I believe it is risking our island and our nation’s security as well,” Governor Calvo said. “I consider this a clear and present danger to the safety and health of the people of Guam.”
In his letter to McCament, Calvo notes the harm caused by the continued denial of skilled foreign workers. These include increased costs of construction that is pricing everyday Guamanians out of building their homes and is inflating overall costs in construction. Fewer companies are bidding for military and civilian projects.
A critical upgrade of the Guam Memorial Hospital’s labor and delivery annex has to be re-bid because no companies bid for the multi-million project in the first round. The situation is strangling small construction businesses and the U.S. Navy also recorded its first ever “bid bust” for a $36.5 million project — all due to a lack of skilled workers.
In Washington, the National Defense Authorization Act continues to be debated but only provides half the solution for Guam, contrary to the “One Guam” tenet of the four pillars of the buildup offered by the the Defense Department to the island. The governor further believes that any further construction within the base will only worsen the situation outside of the gate.
“The lack of a complete solution sends a message to the people of Guam that we are NOT partners in this movement forward,” the Governor Calvo wrote to McCament. “This message saddens me to the core, especially considering our people’s continued patriotism and loyalty to the United States.”