HONOLULU — The Department of Interior hosted another Island Business Opportunities conference on Nov. 13 and 14 drawing hundreds of participants.

The Secretary of the Interior island heads of state and other government dignitaries attended the conference. The conference had an ambitious agenda to include discussions on topics such as: large infrastructure projects and planned growth; military contracting opportunities; aquaculture opportunities; and hospital and healthcare services.

“This conference is about opportunities. It is about opportunities offered. It is about opportunities that can be seized. It is about opportunities that if seized will multiply producing more opportunities ” Dirk Kempthorne Secretary of the Interior said.

Sen. Alan R. Seid chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the Olbill Era Kelulau Palau’s National Congress told the Journal that the conference had been a positive one. “There were a lot of good exchanges. It’s a good medium and something the Department of the Interior should be given credit for. It’s very good for the region and puts a lot of relevant businesses together.”

Peter R. Sgro Jr. president of International Group Inc. attended the conference in large part as chairman of the Guam Hospital Development Forum which is presently finalizing its business plan for potential investors. He told the Journal “There are certainly obvious economic benefits for Guam on the horizon and the level of interest on Guam by those attending was noticeably more than the other insular areas. There will be everyone and their mother seeking a piece of the military dollar here.”

Sgro said investors while obviously welcome should be fully participating members of the business community on Guam. “We as a community including the business community need to support that these businesses pay the same taxes and fees local businesses do. There needs to be an aggressive effort not only by the government of Guam but also our business community to ensure an equal playing field with the many off-island companies that will come here and eventually leave once the military opportunities are no longer available.

“I personally thought the conference was very positive and provided great exposure for Guam. We just need to ensure that in our effort to invite more off-island companies to Guam they pay the same licensing fees  taxes and other costs those of us that are here no matter what must pay.” MBJ