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Guam legislators approve port authority contract bill

Guam legislators approve port authority contract bill

Legislators in Guam have approved a bill giving the Port Authority of Guam the ability to contract with private firms for the 'management, operation and maintenance' of port facilities and cargo handling equipment at the island nation's commercial port.

   Bill 165, introduced by Guam Republican Sen. A.R. Unpingco, now heads to the governor's desk for consideration.

   If approved, the port authority's board of directors would be authorized to issue 'requests for proposals' soliciting bids from qualified firms. The bill also details the structure of such RFPs and the process by which they can be solicited and awarded. The contract limits on the RFPs — five years with options to renew each five years for a total of 20 years — mirrors many of the leasing terms for mainland terminal operations. This could set the stage for the port authority to bring in a private terminal operator for the commercial port.

   Highlighting the unique and tight-knit nature of the nation's population, the bill contains a conflicts clause that states, 'No contract awarded subject to the provisions of this act shall be awarded to any party who has a blood or marital relationship to the third degree of consanguinity with the general manager of port, a board member of the port,' member of the legislature, or I Maga ‘lahen Guahan (a Chamoru cultural group).

   Guam, an organized, unincorporated U.S. territory, maintains policy relations with the United States under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs.

   The island government has been forced to focus new attention on the island's port facilities due to an impending $13 billion relocation of 8,000 U.S. Marines and 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam. The U.S. military is set to begin construction activities in 2010 for the relocation, which will include the transfer of a missile defense task force and see the construction of a new wharf at the port to handle aircraft carrier groups.

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