Guam – On Thursday the Guam Land Use Commission will decide upon two applications for conditional use permits to build barracks for temporary workers. One of the permits is requesting the ability to house 860 temporary workers in the Royal Hawaiian Apartments in Tamuning. The other permit is for 700 temporary workers at the Hotel Mai’ana. The “We Are Guahan” coalition has expressed concerns with these plans because workers would be stuffed into small rooms. “We Are Guahan” member Julian Aguon says that they want to see the workers treated humanely. “What you have is a situation where seven people will be living in units as small as 450 square feet so what we’re talking about here is seven people sharing a single toilet a single shower and a single sink,” said Aguon.
“We Are Guahan” is also proposing ideas to mitigate some of the potentially negative impacts by having Gov Guam implement a ten dollar annual fee per worker to the barrack owner. This would generate money to allow Gov Guam to hire the employees necessary to make sure that all contractors comply with Guam law. “We Are Guahan” has other concerns dealing with temporary workers as well. “My concern personally is that the Department of Defense has consistently assured the people and the government of Guam that we would use our own local workforce first why then are we going to bring more than 18 thousand temporary workers from off-island when now Guam has an unemployed population of roughly 17 thousand almost that same number?” questioned Aguon.
Aguon says that while many feel that the military buildup is a done deal Gov Guam needs to use it’s permitting powers to ensure that the negative impacts of the buildup aren’t as bad as they threaten to be.