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 Terra Firma in the middle of nowhere

By Vincent Akimoto

Details of the Lou Leon Guerrero Guam Memorial Hospital fiasco will, no doubt, be studied for years to come.

But some things already seem clear. At the beginning of this manufactured hospital crisis, politics seem to have impeded the free flow of honest facts.

Rather than argue truth about Ypao Point, GMH administrators especially hospital operations chief William Kando spent hundreds of taxpayer dollars conjuring up an alternate reality of little red ants, limestone caverns, and hypersexual rhino beetles.  

Lacking a sane argument against the immediacy and cost-sensibility of the GMH Ypao site solution vis-a-vis other GovGuam properties, Governor Lou has been reduced to ad hominem attacks debasing this sacred land shared with the Chamorro Cultural Center and the Naftan Mañainata (ancestral reburial site).

Without any verifiable tectonic reports, Governor Lou made dead-on-arrival pronouncements about Ypao Point’s seismic safety and concomitant doom-and-gloom fiscal implications.

According to the magahaga, this unevacuated Chamorro land was too dangerous, too unstable, and simply not usable, although no data or tangible evidence was ever provided. Indeed, the only recorded tectonic performance for Ypao Point is 25 years successful service as the home of the original Guam Memorial Hospital.

Showing ultimate disrespect to the 45-acre land donated to the people of Guam by the honorable Frank D. Perez, Governor Lou said Ypao Point was not suitable, not safe enough to be the site for Guam’s public hospital, healthcare facilities, or for human habitation.

After royal gaslighting and fecal lambasting by Adelup’s best wordsmiths, the Guam Economic Development Agency was left to go to the global investor market with a besmirched Ypao Point property whose highest and best use was to be a forever dumpsite for GovGuam's toxic waste, PCBs and storm debris.

To bring the GMH debate back to reality, we have diligently scoured the universe for facts, not twisted Adelup fiction. Searching for the veracity of GMH’s imminent seismic danger at Ypao Point, we found no official declaration of such a thing.

Homeland Security, Public Health, Public Works, the National Geographic Society, nobody has confirmed Ypao Point as an uninhabitable earthquake danger zone. In fact, GovGuam has infamously been trying to lease the land out to the Chinese to build a Dragon Hotel Casino. Furthermore, the Chamorro Cultural Center just recently celebrated Chamorro Month there and no one tried to stop them.

Turning then to Adelup’s allegation that Ypao Point is too small and too congested, we searched for evidence in the GovGuam Master Development Plan. No such statement besmirching Ypao Point was found in the GovGuam record. A review of contemporary hospital development in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific reveals all hospital projects completed on land parcels 45 acres or less.

No Pacific islands hospital medical complex 100 acres or greater has been contemplated in more than a decade. In 2024, "smaller is smarter" has been firmly established as the modern hospital post-pandemic paradigm.

Furthermore, no evidence exists in the Department of Public Works documents that verifies Ypao Point is too congested to support a new GMH. As we speak, DPW is completing a fancy new traffic roundabout and major highway safety upgrades in the immediate Ypao Point vicinity.

All federal and local emergency contingency plans have already incorporated the Ypao Point/ GMH area as the center of civilian acute medical care.

Furthermore, the Tamuning village community has embraced and prudently invested its infrastructure development towards maintaining the Ypao Point area as one of Guam’s premier healthcare and business-resort destinations.

Fact: Governor Lou’s choice property for her 100-acre megopolis of healthcare,

Sagan Hinemlo, is a place newly known as Eda Aga’ga (nee: Oda Aga’ga). This land is undeveloped and sits atop earthquake faults, red ants,\ and the life-giving Barrigada limestone aquifer.

Fact: There are not enough sewer lines in Eda Aga’ga to prevent toxic human bio-medical hospital waste from leeching into the island’s water supply and contaminating it with something much worse than ta’ki water.

Fact: The highway to Eda Aga’ga is not ready nor has legislative funding been identified to make it ready. Currently, Route 15, the Back Road to Anderson remains a two-lane, poorly-developed Highway to Heaven with a well-deserved deadly reputation as one of the worst roads on Guam.

By comparison, tiny Route 14B Ypao Road is a 1.5 mile access street to Tumon Bay and is still under construction after 15 years of GovGuam management. The stark reality is that the Back Road to Anderson needs 15 miles of sewer, water, and major highway development before Eda Aga’ga can ever be considered for significant civic expansion.

The facts speak so harshly against Governor Lou’s lavish Eda Aga’ga plan that major stakeholders have already voted against it with their feet. For example, The Department of Mental Health has decided to proceed with major renovations on its Tamuning campus in anticipation of explosive psychiatric disease and substance abuse crisis brought about by the ongoing military buildup.

Mental Health’s Tamuning facilities are relatively new and their funding has been augmented recently with millions of federal dollars. Governor Lou’s plan to uproot this enterprise and plop it down in Eda Aga’ga in the next five to seven years has no evidentiary support nor any articulated rationale.

Despite optimistic statements by Governor Lou, federal Veteran’s Affairs officials have not confirmed any participation in the Sagan Hinemlo development. The VA is quickly completing the construction of a brand-new VA clinic in Dededo with recent discussions for further expansion at that site.

Furthermore, the Department of Public Health announced that it could no longer wait for Governor Lou’s grandiose plan and has proceeded with the construction of a critical $32 million Centers for Disease Control laboratory next to the University of Guam campus slated for completion by June 2026.

The fact is that Governor Lou’s extravagant Eda Aga’ga plan goes so far out on a limb to build something that the Guam healthcare community never needed while failing to prioritize the immediacy of an existent medical crisis. Adelup’s political team is thus unable to put the Governor’s wishful plan together because separate agencies keep moving on due to competing needs.

In a time when reality takes precedence over wishful thinking, the people of Guam are forced to make tough, urgent, life-or-death decisions every day. Too many Chamorros have already left Guam because local healthcare is not good enough for their family and themselves today.

The Government of Guam’s multi-million dollar fact-finding Matrix report found Ypao Point to be the most cost-effective, time-sensitive, and realistic option to build the new GMH. Eda Aga’ga was never even an option.


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