Given the entrepreneurial environment of Guam, there is always a business opening somewhere, whether it’s a new development with tenants, a standalone restaurant or retail offering, or a new service-oriented business.

And the Journal will usually feature one or more of these endeavors in its pages, as a hopeful developer or owner contacts us for coverage.

Part of any interview is typically that all-important question – when will the business open?

And that’s when the all-familiar difficulties of predicting how long the permit process will take becomes apparent again.

While permitting, licensing and inspections are an important part of ensuring safety and conformity for island residents that patronize businesses, the process has become so painful that it’s a deterrent.

It still takes intestinal fortitude to predict at what point to hire staff, at what point to begin procuring the essential but expensive products the business will surely need, and at what point to start marketing.

Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio, Herbert Johnston Jr. and the members of the task force are not only familiar with the problems, they have also come up with solutions.

That’s an excellent beginning.

As 2023 begins, numerous businesses are eager to open doors in what is still a depressed island economy.

It’s time for those implementing the recommendations provided by the task force to forcefully step up and move forward.

A request for proposal for the online permitting was delayed by a protest to the bid. But that’s been resolved and the government is now in the final stages of the procurement process. That’s good news. Hopefully, once the procurement is done, it won’t take long for a contract to be signed so the vendor can create the site where online applications can be found, filed, reviewed and completed.

And whatever approval process or processes will become the regulatory norm must be laid out so that investment by local and off-island entities can finally begin to see the returns due them.

Permitting and licensing need to be natural steps on the road of opening a business, not an insurmountable barrier. mbj