Guam – A law that was recently passed would allow the government of Guam to purchase property in the Gun Beach area of Tumon to be used as a public park and cultural center. While the administration believes that now is not the time to make such a purchase there are also questions as to who actually owns the Gun Beach property.
Senator Ben Pangelinan introduced the bill that became a law that allows GovGuam to issue bonds backed by the tourist attraction fund to pay for several tourism related projects.
For example, the construction of a museum, flood mitigation in Tumon, repairs to the Plaza De Espana, and the purchase of property in Gun Beach or Gogona beach in Chamorro and the FaiFai beach area that lies just around the corner.
“The idea would be to purchase that property and over the years we would discover the history and unveil the history of Guam that’s buried underneath that area by archeological digs and so forth. So it would be an ongoing project it would be green space and it would allow for the exploration of Chamorro artifacts in those areas that are undisturbed at that time so it’s almost like an archeological park that we would develop much like we have in Machu Pichu.,” explained Pangelinan.
Machu Pichu is an ancient Inca city in South America that pangelinan says is an archaeological park and a huge tourist attraction for Peru. But not everyone thinks this is a good idea at least at this time.
Governor Calvo’s chief of staff Frank Arriola says, “I think it’s a good idea it’s not a bad idea I think timing wise it’s not where we want to put our priorities at this point in time,” adding, “Our priority as an administration has always been to help those who are most vulnerable so health care issues, the Guam Memorial Hospital needs pharmaceuticals and supplies that’s gonna be a definite top priority. Education, capital improvement projects on the education system side, ambulances, having working ambulances, those are very very critical components.”
Pangelinan says that the tourist attraction fund shouldn’t impact GovGuam operations much as most of those funds are used for tourism related projects and to fund the GVB. As for which lot GovGuam is eying, the law doesn’t specify any particular lot but rather allows GovGuam to purchase any lot in that area that is up for sale.
There were two lots identified during the public hearing as being up for sale. One is owned by the Taitano family and is known as FaiFai beach. The other is owned by a Korean company called Hamil.
This property however is under dispute as former Senator Ted Nelson has laid claim that it is his ancestral property and in fact has been disputing this in court for the last 8 years. Nelson says that land surveys were manipulated and his ancestral lots were taken, but he’s all for the idea of GovGuam purchasing the property. “I will not be an obstruction to any effort of a cultural center or whatever they want to build I certainly I welcome it I testified my only concern is that we want justice. I don’t want to be dragged to court like what I’ve been doing for the last 8 years if they want to pay for it they’ve got to pay me first for my land,” said Nelson.
Pangelinan says that the law doesn’t require them to purchase the property at any set price and that it only authorizes them to purchase land if it is available and if they can negotiate a fair price.