GHURA released 2020 housing needs findings

SINAJANA, Guam — On Feb. 20, the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority announced in a press release that its Guam Housing Study and Needs Assessment Report is completed. Commissioned in late 2019, the report was done by SMS Research and Marketing Services, a Hawaii-based firm, along with Guam-based PCR Environmental, Inc.

The study found that there is a shortage of affordable homes on Guam, and a second phase of the study, a Fair Market Rents Assessment, is ongoing on will be completed shortly, according to the release.

The report states the purpose for the study is “to make good policy choices the island needs to better understand the local housing market.”

Among other results of the study, the report said population, both local and military, has risen since last year. The cost of housing residents has also risen, both for renters and homeowners.

The report can be downloaded at www.ghura.org.

(See Data Bank on pages 26 and 27 for more findings from the study.)

New commander assigned to AAFB Guam

Sloane

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Brig. Gen. Jeremy T. Sloane, commander of Maxwell Air Force Base’s Air War College in Montgomery, Ala., has been assigned to serve as commander of the 36th Wing, Pacific Air Forces and Andersen Air Force Base on Guam, according to a Feb. 13 release from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The current commander of the 36th Wing and AAFB is Brig. Gen. Gentry W. Boswell.

 

Black Construction, Mace awarded military contracts

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A joint venture of Black Construction Corp. and Mace International was awarded three contracts totaling $27.85 million by the U.S. Department of Defense on Diego Garcia, a British Indian Ocean territory, according to a Feb. 21 release.

The three projects are the following:

  • A 34-meter antenna facility and support infrastructure at the U.S. Naval Support Facility, with an expected completion in April 2021 ($12.3 million).
  • A 13-meter diameter, Radome No. 2 with reinforced concrete antenna footings, internal concrete room, ring wall, heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit, electrical and communication lines at the communication site facility at the U.S. Naval Support Facility, with an expected completion in February 2021 ($7.82 million).
  • A 13-meter diameter, Radome No. 1 with reinforced concrete antenna footings, internal concrete room, ring wall, heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit, electrical and communication lines at the communication site facility at the U.S. Naval Support Facility, with an expected completion in February 2021 ($7.73 million).

Fiscal 2020 Naval Research Laboratory contract funds were obligated for each award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. 

Matson announces fourth quarter and 2019 results

HONOLULU — Matson Inc. reported its fourth quarter and full year 2019 results in a Feb. 25 release. Matson reported net income of $15.6 million, or 36¢ per diluted share, for the quarter that ended on Dec. 31, 2019. Consolidated revenue for the fourth quarter 2019 was $540.7 million, compared to $564.9 million for the fourth quarter 2018.

For the full year 2019, Matson reported net income of $82.7 million, or $1.91 per diluted share, compared to $109.0 million, or $2.53 per diluted share, in 2018.  Consolidated revenue for the full year 2019 was $2,203.1 million, compared to $2,222.8 million in 2018.

 

EU puts Palau back on blacklist; Guam remains on blacklist

BRUSSELS, Belgium — “Jurisdictions that don’t respect international tax transparency and good governance standards must face the consequences,” the EU Taxation and Customs Department said on Feb. 18, as it re-listed Palau as non-cooperative.

The country was first removed in October, according to Journal files. Guam remains on the EU’s list of “Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions” because it has made “no commitment to address [the] EU’s concerns,” the EU said. The U.S. Virgin Islands, Samoa and American Samoa are listed similarly to Guam.

Guam has been blacklisted since 2017, despite a letter of protest by the U.S. Treasury Secretary in January 2018 on behalf of the U.S. territories.

“This process (the listing) has led to the elimination of over 120 harmful tax regimes worldwide,” the EU said.

The Marshall Islands has been removed from the EU blacklist, according to Journal files.

A version of this story was sent to Journal subscribers on Feb. 24.

 

GovGuam agencies, CDC respond to coronavirus threat

ATLANTA and TAMUNING, Guam — As of Feb. 27, there are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19 on Guam. However, the developing threat has caused visitor cancellations to Guam.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is remanufacturing coronavirus test kits due to quality control issues, according to a Feb. 26 release. There is no specific timeframe arrival for the kits to be received by U.S. state-based laboratories or the Guam Public Health Laboratory. Currently, all testing is done at the U.S. CDC in Atlanta, Ga.

The Guam Visitors Bureau and Japan Guam Travel Association have estimated the total number of cancellations are almost 20,000. As of Feb. 25, GVB reported 15,133 cancellations. Additionally, approximately 4,000 cancellations are Japanese visitors, according to Satoru Murata, president of the Japan Guam Travel Association on Feb. 20.

On Feb. 26, Thomas C. Ada, executive manager of the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport Authority, Guam, said there is a total of 107 flight cancellations from Feb. 14 to March 28, which are mainly Korea-based flights.

Additionally, the Guam airport is in the process of procuring a thermal scanner to screen passengers in order to prevent COVID-19 locally, according to a Feb. 21 release. Thermal scanners can detect body temperature and identify hot spots or congestive conditions to alert airport officials.

Ada said the scanner costs $20,000 and is scheduled to be placed at the airport’s Gate 13 in about 60 days.

USCIS accepting petitions, applications

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has begun accepting applications for individuals seeking the new Northern Mariana Islands long-term resident status and CW-1 petitions filed under the Disaster Recovery Act, according to a Feb. 20 release.

Individuals seeking long-term resident status must file Form I-955, Application for CNMI Long-Term Resident Status and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, by Aug. 17, 2020 to USCIS.

For CW-1 petitions, applicants must submit Form I-129CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker, along with a cover sheet stating “CNMI Disaster Recovery Workforce Act Eligible” in large, bold letters and evidence of service or labor under a contract or subcontract connected to relief and recovery efforts. A total of 3,000 permits are available to repair damage resulting from Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu, as well as prepare the NMI for future natural disasters.

The Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act and Disaster Recovery Workforce Act were signature laws authored by Congressman Gregorio C. “Kilili” Sablan. mbj

 

Personnel from Andersen Air Force Base practiced disaster exercises at the airport on Rota as part of Cope North 2020. Personnel from Andersen also went to Tinian during Cope North, which took place in and around Guam from Feb. 12 to Feb. 28. This year, Cope North included personnel from the U.S. military, the Japan Self Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.

Photos by Staff Sgt. Divine Cox of the 36th Wing Public Affairs Office at Andersen Air Force Base