Guam – Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio met with Port Authority General Manager Rory Respicio on Wednesday during a tour of the port facility to take a closer look at the operations that manage 90 percent of our island’s imports processed on a daily basis.
After the tour, reporters got a chance to inquire about some contentious issues concerning the port, including the $15-million arbitration award to YTK Corp., which the port continues to dispute.
“The YTK is already going through the court process,” Respicio said. “My position on that is to let it go through.”
In February, Respicio stirred controversy when he made a move to negotiate YTK without a sanction from the Port Authority of Guam board.
The case stemmed from a 45-year lease signed by the port authority in 2001 with YTK, which planned to develop a multimillion-dollar fisheries facility on the Port-owned Hotel Wharf. In 2008, the port authority terminated the lease, which the legislature never acted on. YTK subsequently sued the port for breach of contract.
Despite the board members’ resentment toward Respicio’s action, board chairman Francisco Santos expressed confidence in the general manager’s ability to lead.
“I have a full confidence in Rory,” Francisco said. “And I believe his leadership, also experience not only in Port operations but also in administration. He’s got the leadership to lead and guide the people here at the port. We’ll let him run the port because we don’t want to micromanage.”
When asked if she shared Santos’s confidence in Respicio, Leon Guerrero replied, “Absolutely.”
On the issue of the Port Seven case—in which seven employees were fired from the Port Authority in 2012 for providing illegal benefits and falsifying documents— Leon Guerrero had this to say: “I am very confident that the general manager and the board will follow the orders of the courts. I feel it will be sent through a very objective fair and of course judicial process.”
Tenorio,for his part, said: “It really is about fairness and making sure that people have been treated fairly. And I think that the Port has the process in which they are taking a look at this. Fresh eyes are following the law and making sure fairness is present with the employees. I think that it will probably be clear in what the outcome will be in each individual case.”
Recently, two cases involving former port employees Francine Rocio and Leonora Leon Guerrero had their cases returned to the Civil Service Commission.