GOVERNOR Felix Camacho has vetoed a bill that would require legislative concurrence when transferring any historical properties, antiquities and objects owned by the government of Guam, saying the Historic Preservation Office of the Department of Parks and Recreation is already charged with protecting these sites and objects.
In rejecting Bill 359, the governor said he was worried that politics may get in the way of research.
"Various laws provide the Historic Preservation Office with the necessary resources to regulate activities impacting historical sites and objects," Camacho stated in his veto message.
He said Bill 359 would replace the administrative process of the HPO with a legislative process to remove historical objects from the island without exception, because the original legislation provided exceptions for materials sent off-island for scientific study such as carbon dating.
"If this bill is passed, politics may interfere with sending artifacts off-island for scientific studies," Camacho wrote.
Camacho suggested that the legislature establish rules and regulations to govern the removal of historical objects from Guam along with penalties for noncompliance "rather than creating a process that requires the approval of elected officials who are not experts in these areas."
"This process will ensure consistency, impartiality, and transparency with the treatment of historical objects and allow the experts to determine whether it may be sent off-island," the governor wrote.
"Guahan's historical objects and sites provide valuable insight to the Island's history, culture and people. They represent the cultural heritage of the Island which many Chamorro people take pride in," wrote Camacho. "To ensure the preservation of historical objects and the Island's heritage, rules and regulations should govern its treatment.”