Fisherman’s CO-OP Construction Delayed, Pangelinan Urges GEDA to Take Action

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Guam – Senator Ben Pangelinan has written to GEDA Board Chairman E.J. Calvo asking him to “take action and release the funds for improvements to the Guam Fishermen’s Co-operative Association (GFCA) facility.”

In a release, the Senator states that Public Law 32-56, signed into law last July, appropriated $2-million from the Hotel Occupancy Tax [HOT] Bonds. The money is to be used by the Guam Fishermen’s Co-operative Association [GFCA] for the construction, repair and improvement of its building in Hagåtña.

READ Senator Pangelinan’s letter to GEDA HERE

The Senator says the law requires that the funds be deposited into “a separate trustee sub-account” for the construction project.

7 months after passage of the law, Pangelinan says “no such account has been opened or funded, thus continuing the delay in this project supported by both the Administration and the Legislature.”

In his letter to Chairman Calvo, the Senator asks the GEDA Board “to prioritize this HOT Bond project at their next meeting in March.”

READ the release from Seataor Pangleinan below:

FISHERMEN’S CO-OP CONSTRUCTION DELAYED; PANGELINAN URGES GEDA TO TAKE ACTION

FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE (February 27, 2014 – Hagåtña, GU) – Senator Vicente “ben” C. Pangelinan (D), Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Public Debt, Retirement, Legal Affairs, Public Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation, and Land (Committee), has sent a letter to Edward J. Calvo, Chairman of the Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA) Board of Directors, requesting that the Board take action and release the funds for improvements to the Guam Fishermen’s Co-operative Association (GFCA) facility.

Public Law 32-056, signed into law on July 8, 2013, appropriated $2 million—after a line-item veto by the Governor of the bill passed by the Legislature in the amount $2.5 million, reducing the grant by $500,000—from the proceeds of the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) Bonds to the GFCA for the construction, repair and improvement of its building in Hagåtña.  Pursuant to law, said proceeds are to be deposited into a separate trustee sub-account for project construction.

To date, seven (7) months after the law was enacted, the $2 million grant has not been deposited to the GFCA account.  Pangelinan stated, “No such account has been opened or funded, thus continuing the delay in this project supported by both the Administration and the Legislature.”

In spite of the number of requests made by Pangelinan to GEDA Administrator, Henry Taitano, the progress towards the establishment of the account seems to be at a standstill.  “Setting up the account is the first major step to allowing the Fishermen’s Co-op to begin construction.  GEDA has reported that the account has been established, but I have yet to see an official listing with the account number.  They say that the funds are being transferred, but I don’t see the account.  So, where is the money for the Fishermen going?” questions Pangelinan.

Pangelinan is now calling on the GEDA Board to act.  “I have asked the Board, through Chairman Calvo, to prioritize this HOT Bond project at their next meeting in March.  It is my anticipation that by then we will see the account number listed and that the grant money has been officially transferred to the Fishermen’s Co-op,” stated Pangelinan.

“For those of us who are regulars at the Co-op, we know that we can never push enough for our fishermen.  They contribute significantly to the sustenance of our community.  So, ultimately, our efforts should be to support what they do, and with GEDA’s capacity, we should be able to jumpstart the construction and repair of the Fishermen’s Co-op in no time,” affirmed Pangelinan.