Senators finally choose hospital location, governor threatens veto that will delay project further

The Guam Legislature today took the first meaningful step toward the development of a hospital to replace the failing Guam Memorial Hospital facility: It chose a location.

In an 8 to 7 vote, a bipartisan majority passed Chris Barnett’s Bill No. 185-37, which directs the governor to build the new hospital in Tamuning. The de facto site is Ypao Point, which ranked above the governor’s preferred choice of Adacao in an independently-commissioned study by Matrix Design Group on where the hospital should be built.

“Ypao Point is accessible to more of our People – that means we save more lives, according to the Matrix study,” Mr. Barnett said in a news release issued shortly after the passage of his bill. “The Governor plans to spend $100 million in ARP funds to install all-new infrastructure from the ground up on back road. Building at Ypao Point only requires a $25 million upgrade to infrastructure that’s already in place – that means we save $75 million on infrastructure alone, according to the Matrix study. Ypao Point is a better place to build a new hospital. Again, not according to me, but according to the Matrix study. That’s why I introduced Bill 185, and I think that’s why my colleagues voted to pass it.”

Dwayne San Nicolas cast the deciding vote, having previously voted for the governor’s bill that chose Adacao and against Mr. Barnett’s bill, when both were considered last month and both failed to garner the eight votes needed to pass. The reason both bills failed in January despite all 15 senators voting and there being only two options on the table is because Frank Blas, Jr. voted ‘no’ to both bills without offering any alternative. Today the legislature reconsidered its January decision on 185, and Mr. San Nicolas voted for it, along with the seven who originally voted in favor of it in January.

Several steps remain, including the proposing of financing, authorization of that financing, bond issuance, procurement for design and construction, permitting, and other regulatory matters that must be met prior to a notice to proceed on construction. None of those steps may be taken any time soon, as the governor’s office already has said it will veto Bill No. 185, stymieing any further progress.

“The [g]overnor has been clear from the start–a new hospital at the abandoned Ypao Point site hands today’s problems to tomorrow’s patients–all at the cost of millions of dollars in new debt and fewer chances at shared costs with the federal government,” a statement without attribution from the governor’s office states. “For this reason, this measure will meet a clear and certain veto.”

There are no alternatives that have been proposed to the Tamuning location, either from the governor or senators. Senators already rejected the governor’s preferred site location, Adacao.

“Governor Lou Leon Guerrero says she will veto this bill. If she rejects this legislation, she’s rejecting the facts that favor Ypao Point as the new hospital site,” Mr. Barnett said.

“Instead of facing the facts about Ypao Point, Adelup has created laughable fictions about it. Little fire ants, salty air and a fault line are just some of the ‘arguments’ this administration has had against building at Ypao Point. Ever since Eagles Field, Adelup has chosen attacking via press release, misinformation and name-calling over discussing the future of our People’s healthcare on the merits. I think it’s because there aren’t many merits and even fewer facts that can convince or compel support for the Governor’s proposed medical complex at Eda Agaga. That’s why we’ve seen politics and propaganda play a prominent part in preventing meaningful discussion and debate.”


  • David Lubofsky

      02/23/2024 at 7:30 PM

    Every day that the Governor plays this game or her puppets is a day that someone will die at the current house of horrors known as GMH thru negligence and mismanagement

  • It’s ‘my way or the highway’.

    Arrogance is not Public Administration!

    A veto of the Bill will continue to delay building a new Hospital; and the existing GMH remains a Frankenstein dominion in a deteriorating state.

    Governmental agencies not working together is not Public Administration.

    Perhaps a short class in Public Administration for those in power is appropriate.

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