(Sunday April 21st, 2013 – Hagåtña, Guam) The Port Authority of Guam (“PAG”) is ready to enter into a $10 million commercial loan that would repair damaged wharfs, acquire a new top loader, and replace its outdated financial system. But, the PAG’s lending institution is requiring the Authority to statutorily waive sovereign immunity—leading, in the case of default, to what General Manager Joanne Brown described as, “…the acquiring of Port property or assets as a result of this.”
Though the PAG supported the waiver of sovereign immunity authorized by Bill 86-32 (COR) at its April 17th public Hearing, Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz wants to ensure that Port property, equipment, and assets are not lost in the event of financial default to a private lending institution.
In a letter sent to Port Oversight Chair Senator Tom Ada, and released by Cruz’s office this afternoon, he writes, “[t]hough a blanket waiver may not have been intended, the consequences of this language may be horrendous.”
In the letter, Cruz proposes two amendments to Bill 86-32 at the invitation of Senator Ada:
1) Affirming that any relief against the Port be monetary only. This would be in accordance with the Government Claims Act; and
2) Allowing the Government of Guam the option to assume the defaulted obligation of the Port—potentially preventing foreclosure on real property and other assets. This option would only be exercised if the government agreed it was fiscally capable of doing so.
Cruz calls his amendments a “working start” And, while he is open to better language, the Vice Speaker concludes, “… [t]he purpose of these amendments is to unambiguously assert that the Port is a public asset which must always remain in the public trust.”
Referenced documents are attached. For more information, contact Carlo Branch at 687-7567.