Guam Gubernatorial Debate Cancelled When Governor Pulls Out

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Opponent claims Calvo avoiding questions about family’s tax breaks

By Shawn Raymundo

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Oct. 23, 2014) – A debate originally scheduled for tonight between gubernatorial candidates Gov. Eddie Calvo and former Gov. Carl Gutierrez was canceled yesterday after the governor's office notified event organizers earlier this week that Calvo would not appear at the event.

The Joint Gubernatorial Forum was organized by the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association, the Guam Chamber of Commerce, and the Guam Contractors Association.

GHRA President Mary Rhodes said that on Monday the governor's office notified the joint organizations that the governor had to cancel his appearance at the event.

The organizers had been working with the governor's staff to reschedule but they could not confirm a date at this time, Rhodes said.

She added the event had been planned for a couple of months and the governor's office confirmed Calvo would attend the forum.

Gutierrez said Calvo canceled his appearance so he could avoid answering the question of whether he gave more than $3 million in tax breaks to his family's company, Calvo Enterprises Inc.

"The people of Guam are finally probably going to realize he just doesn't want to answer the question because he got caught," Gutierrez said during a press conference at his election headquarters. "He got caught with something he never thought would ever happen."

Gov. Calvo held a press conference yesterday at Adelup where he said Gutierrez's claims are the "rantings of an angry man and an angry campaign."

He also pointed out that he has addressed Gutierrez's concerns several times already.

"Apparently not only am I dodging the debates, I'm dodging audits," Calvo said. "I made a public request to my opponent that I am willing to have an elected public auditor scrutinize the books at the Department of Revenue and Taxation, look for any potential areas where there is a write off between myself, to any Calvo family member or to any Calvo family company."

Gutierrez also said that Calvo and his campaign team have already canceled three debates, including the Conversations with the Candidates forums the Guam Women's Chamber of Commerce scheduled for Oct. 7 and Oct. 28.

"It's sad that the people of Guam will not be able to hear the facts and for Calvo to tell the people of Guam what he's thinking and tell the truth," Gutierrez lamented. "The people of Guam deserve that you and I discuss the issues. That you and I get the facts out there and let the people decide. You cannot run and you cannot hide."

According to a press release from the governor's office, Calvo never received an invite for the Oct. 28 debate and would have had to decline anyway because he is already scheduled to appear at the Oasis Empowerment Center's Walk in my Slippers event the same night.

Calvo said he was only confirmed to attend three debates, including next week's debate at the University of Guam Calvo Field House. The other two debates were the Guam Economic & Business Forum held at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort on Oct. 6 and Guam Medical Association's Gubernatorial Election Debate at the Hyatt Regency Guam on Oct. 14.

"Those were the only confirmations," Calvo said. "Any other debate or forum that is being presented, there has never been another confirmation from our campaign."

The next debate is scheduled at the newly named UOG Calvo Field House at 7 p.m. on Oct. 30. Tickets to the debate cost $15.

The Hotel and Restaurant Association said it, the Chamber and the contractors' group are going submit the forum questions to the candidates and request written responses so the groups can share them with their members.

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