HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Oct. 30) - The Port Authority of Guam is planning to hold public hearings on updated rules and regulations for its marinas, which include fee increases.

According to Port spokesman Mike Henderson, the rules and regulations initially were adopted in 2000, but never made it through the office of former Gov. Carl Gutierrez. The Port decided to hold another round of hearings, Henderson said, to give the public a chance to submit testimony.

While it's a good thing to open the rules and regulations to public scrutiny and comment, what this should be is a first step toward privatizing the Port's Hagåtña and Agat marinas.

The government of Guam has no business being in business. These marinas could be run much more effectively and efficiently by a private company. After all, the government says it wants to bring in new investment and business; selling the marinas is one way to do just that.

The company or companies that take over the marinas will employ residents to maintain the facilities and operate the marinas. In addition, they would pay taxes on the money they earn. Right now GovGuam realizes no tax revenue from the marinas and is wholly responsible for upkeep.

The sale of the two marinas is the perfect first step toward privatizing the entire operations of the port. Again, this would serve to attract new business and investment to Guam, and increase the private sector work force and tax revenue for the local government.

The company that takes over port activities must be familiar with joint-use port procedures because our facilities are used by the military as well as commercial interests. It also must be experienced with how to best capitalize on potential federal funding and grants, and have a solid, long-range master plan that balances development with environmental concerns.

Most of our elected officials have acknowledged the need to streamline and reduce the size of GovGuam, and know that part of that requires privatization. Let's get moving in that direction with the Port, beginning with the marinas

October 30, 2003

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