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Ypao Point legislation narrowly passes; Guam governor vows to veto the bill

Updated: Feb 24

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

A bill designating Ypao Point in Tamuning as the site of a new Guam hospital narrowly passed the Guam legislature on Friday and will be dead on arrival at the governor's desk.

Bill 185-37, authored by Sen. Chris Barnett, passed by a vote of 8-7. It will require 10 votes to override the governor's highly anticipated veto.

“The governor has been clear from the start–a new hospital at the abandoned Ypao Point site hands today's problems to tomorrow's patients–all at the cost of millions of dollars in new debt and fewer chances at shared costs with the federal government," Krystal Paco-San Agustin, communications director, said in a statement. "For this reason, this measure will meet a clear and certain veto.”

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has been pushing to build a new hospital in Eda Agaga located in Barrigada-Mangilao after giving up the Navy-owned Eagles Field property.

Chris Barnett

“If she rejects this legislation, she’s rejecting the facts that favor Ypao Point as the new hospital site," Barnett said. "Building at Ypao would be faster, more feasible and more fiscally responsible than building where the governor wants to build, but that’s not according to me. That's what the facts say.”

Along with Barnett, Sens. Joanne Brown, Christopher Dueñas, Jesse Lujan, Sabina Perez, Dwayne San Nicolas, Telo Taitague and Speaker Therese Terlaje voted in favor of the measure.

Sens. Frank Blas, Thomas Fisher, William Parkinson, Roy Quinata, Joe S. San Agustin, Amanda Shelton and Vice Speaker Tina Muña Barnes voted against the bill.

Citing a study conducted by Matrix Consulting Group, Barnett said Ypao Point is accessible to more people and more practical.

While the governor plans to spend $100 million in American Rescue Plan funds to install all-new infrastructure from the ground up, Barnette said the Ypao Point option would only cost $25 million to upgrade the existing infrastructure onsite.

"That means we save $75 million on infrastructure alone," he added.

Considering the urgent need to replace Guam Memorial Hospital, Barnett said selecting a site that is "ready to go right now" should be a no-brainer.

Eda Agaga, on the other hand, will require years of site studies before construction can begin, he added.

“Instead of facing the facts about Ypao Point, Adelup has created laughable fictions about it. Little fire ants, salty air and a faultline are just some of the 'arguments' this administration has had against building at Ypao Point," Barnett said.

The senator also took the governor to task for her lack of a transparent plan.

“The governor has spent the last couple of years going back and forth to Washington to meet with DOD and the federal government about the medical complex, but we still don’t know enough to make an informed decision about her proposal," he said.

"What we do know is the condition of the Guam Memorial Hospital won’t allow us to sit around and wait for more details about Eda Agaga," Barnett said.

“While Adelup asks why we can’t 'Dream Big,' in reality, the legislature has been working to address the healthcare problems the Leon Guerrero/Tenorio administration has either created or promised it would solve. The legislature has had to force Adelup to make improvements at GMH and find money to bail out the hospital," he added.


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