Guam – After being pressed by Senator Rory Respicio, Acting Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, Peter Salas Calvo, today [Tuesday] affirmed that he would support the decision of the Guam SHPO and would not bow to purported pressure from the Federal Government or the Governor to sign the Programmatic Agreement.
The Programmatic Agreement [PA] would govern how historical sites and cultural artifacts would be handled when uncovered by construction projects associated with military buildup. For it to become effective, the Guam State Historic Preservation Officer [SHPO] must sign off on it. But Guam SHPO Lynda Aguon has refused to sign the PA in its current form. Aguon has previously told PNC News that she thinks the Navy should host public hearings on the PA.
The SHPO works under the Director of Parks and Rec and some have speculated that Pete Calvo was appointed to over-rule Aguon’s objections and sign the PA so that the buildup could proceed without further delay.
However at his confirmation hearing this morning, under questioning from Senator Rory Respicio, Pete Calvo said he has not been asked to sign the Programmatic Agreement and would not.
Sen. Respicio: But, the Chair also asked the question that I already wrote down in my notes here. I wrote down the Programmatic Agreement and I wrote down where you sign it. There’s a difference between telling this committee that you recognize Ms. Aguon to be the SHPO and that she’s going to provide all the technical review that5’s required. But in anyway do you anticipate that …have you or will you be asked to sign the programmatic agreement?
Peter Calvo: I’ve never been asked. If I’m not needed to sign the Programmatic Agreement …I don’t see a necessity for me to do so.
RESPICIO: “Whether or not I support you depends on whether or not you defer to Lynda Aguon. That’s all I want to hear. Regardless of the political pressure that is going to be put on you, that’s not your place to sign that Programmatic Agreement. I want to ask you for the record, will you just then defer to Lynda Aguon who is the SHPO for Guam and that whatever she decides to do with the Programmatic Agreement you will support?”
PETE CALVO: “Yes. I will support Lynda Aguon.”
RESPICIO: “So if they ask you to sign your going to say its Lynda Aguon’s signature that has to be on that document and I’m going to defer to her?”
PETE CALVO: “Yes.”
RESPICO: “You have my support sir.”
Respicio later explained in a news release that he wanted assurances that the SHPO would be allowed to do her job. He called Calvo’s commitment not to interfere “Good news,” which will “dispel and notion that Mr. Calvo will even entertain the possibility of bypassing Ms. Aguon and signing the PA.”
Read Senator Respicio’s Release:
DPR Director to Defer to SHPO on Programmatic Agreement (Hagåtña, Guam)
Expanding on a brief news release sent out earlier today, Senator Rory J. Respicio said that he wanted assurance from Acting Parks and Recreation
Director Peter Salas Calvo that Guam State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) Lynda Aguon will be allowed to do her job, which includes dealing with the Programmatic Agreement (P.A.).
“The Camacho Administration took away her authority and gave it to the Parks and Recreation Director. The current administration is dragging its feet in returning this designation to Ms. Aguon, even though it is prescribed by statute,” Respicio said.
“Mr. Calvo’s statement that he would defer to Ms. Aguon as the person authorized under law to sign off on the agreement, is good news, and hopefully means she will be re-designated, and that he will not be bypassing Ms. Aguon to sign the P.A. himself.”
The confirmation hearing took place this morning (Tuesday, February 8) at the Legislature’s Public Hearing Room. Under questioning by Senator Respicio, Mr. Calvo, said that he would not be the individual signing the contentious federal document.
“Ms. Aguon has been at the center of this firing range/training range issue,” Senator Respicio said, “And I’m concerned because the Department of Defense has given a deadline. I’m also concerned about some of the news stories we have been seeing which portray the Administration as ready to cave-in concerning the agreement,” Senator Respicio said.
“Recent news stories have reported that the P.A. will be signed if the military puts its buildup concessions in writing and many people are concerned that the historic preservation process is being bypassed. Peter Calvo’s comment assures us that the decision will be made by the appropriate individual.
This is about the long-term future of our island and people, we have to stand up and support people like Ms. Aguon.