PRICEY STATUES RAISE EYEBROWS IN STRUGGLING GUAM

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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 1) - Bronze, life-size
statues of 11 former Guam governors and a former congressman were ordered by the
previous airport agency management at a price tag of $2.1 million, which has
been partially paid.

The statues were meant for a museum that was to be incorporated
into a VIP passenger lounge at the airport terminal, said Rolenda Lujan
Faasuamalie, a marketing official for the agency.

The statues and the VIP lounge were part of an estimated $5
million project that is now on hold primarily because of the cost, Faasuamalie
said.

Slightly more than $2 million has been spent on the statues and
the design for the VIP lounge, she said.

A breakdown of the money already spent on the statues was
unavailable as of press time but Faasuamalie said the total cost of the statues
will be $2.1 million when completed.

The bronze statues, made in South Korea, are in their final
stages of creation, she said.

The project is one of the legacies of then-airport Executive
Manager Gerald Yingling, whose management left the airport agency scraping for
cash after such expenditures as:

William Thompson, the airport's new executive manager, said the
$5 million museum project has been deferred indefinitely.

''During these difficult times I felt it prudent to defer this
project,'' Thompson said. Other projects that are not supported by federal
grants are on hold as well, he said.

The airport agency is moving along with projects that are funded
by the Federal Aviation Administration and other federal agencies, such as for
post-Supertyphoon Pongsona repairs at the airport and improvements to the
runway.

The bronze statues include those of the governor of Guam in
1949, Carlton Skinner; former Gov. Carl Gutierrez; and former Govs. Carlos
Camacho, Ricardo Bordallo, Paul Calvo and Joseph Ada.

The bronze statues were ordered when Gutierrez was still
governor. A dedication ceremony for the museum project was held in July 2001.

About a month before the dedication ceremony, the airport bought
two coffeemakers at a price tag of $966.79 for the planned VIP lounge, according
to an audit of Yingling's government credit-card charges.

Around the same time the statues were being crafted, the
government of Guam was having trouble finding cash to repair air-conditioners at
public schools, fix broken water pumps and fund a medical program for the needy.

In an interview early last year, Yingling did say that airport
funds can be used only for activities that benefit the airport.

He was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Gov. Felix Camacho, who was chairman of the legislative
committee that had oversight of the airport at the time the $5 million project
began, was unaware of it, governor's spokesman John Dela Rosa said yesterday.

One of the statues being crafted is that of the governor's
father, one of Guam's former governors.

Dela Rosa said he didn't know if Gov. Felix Camacho's family was
told a bronze statue was being made of former Gov. Camacho.

The airport did consult at least one family, that of former
Congressman Antonio B. Won Pat, which includes Judith Won Pat. They were
consulted regarding the bronze statue. Won Pat was a lawmaker colleague of
Camacho.

Faasuamalie said chances are ''extremely remote'' that the
airport agency will revisit the $5 million project in the near future.

The Antonio B. Won Pat statue will be placed in the airport
terminal, Faasuamalie said.

Now that the VIP lounge project has been deferred, the rest of
the statues will need a place for display.

They may be donated, possibly to the Legislature, an existing
Guam museum or placed in the local courthouse, according to Faasuamalie

April 1, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com 

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