Guam – The Mayors’ Council of Guam is moving forward with its plans for this year’s Liberation Carnival festivities, while awaiting the legislature’s decision on whether or not to lift the ban on “games of chance” at the carnival grounds.
Bid packets for vendors interested in participating in the carnival will be available by mid-April and will include what is still allowable by law, according to Angel Sablan, the executive director of the Mayor’s Council.
“If there is any change between now and then, packets come out on the games of chance may come out as a separate packet,” Sablan said. “It will make a lot of difference whether [the Legislature] is going to approve the games of chance or not. But the Mayors Council should come up with their rules and regulations.”
Guam saw the recurrence of gaming debate at last week’s public hearing on Sen. James Moylan’s Bill 29, which would allow the Mayors’ Council of Guam to justify and come up with rules on games of chance at carnivals and village fairs.
Anti-gambling advocates led by Jackie Marati opposed the bill, saying it would pave the way for gambling, which is illegal on Guam.
Casino-style gambling was among the crowd-drawers at the Liberation Carnival in previous years. However, in June 2017, the casino-ban legislation authored by Sen. Telena Nelson lapsed into law, eliminating the gray area that allowed gambling at community fairs.
Sablan said the council is not able to move forward with promulgating the rules and regulations before the Legislature acts on the bill as it would be premature and presumptive.
But other aspects of the festivities are underway.
“We already put out a preliminary schedule of four vendors,” Sablan said. “The carnival starts on June 5 and ends on Aug. 1, which is exactly 60 days.”
Regardless of the length, Sablan said there are plans to bring in big acts to draw the crowd.
“They’re also working on bringing in different acts performers throughout this event and that will keep the people coming,” Sablan said.
The Mayors Council will host a meeting on April 19 for all interested vendors to turn in the bid packets. Bids will be open on April 25 at 6 p.m.