Lou Leon Guerrero

Q: Before we dive into the economy, how would you choose to introduce Guam to international audiences?

Guam has been kept as a secret paradise, and one of its major uniqueness lies in its people. We are of Austronesian origin, with a rich history influenced by Spanish colonization and Western culture. Despite being part of the Marianas chain, political influences led to Guam being separated from other islands.

Our pristine environment, beautiful beaches, and diverse marine life make Guam an ideal destination for various water sports and activities. Importantly, we operate under US standards and laws, offering stability for potential investors.

Q: As the report aims to showcase Guam’s potential for investment, what specific opportunities do you see in the territory, especially in sectors like construction and tourism?

Guam offers significant potential for investment, particularly in construction, spurred by military investments and a thriving tourism industry. Our legislative framework mirrors that of the US, making it an attractive option for investors.

Beyond construction, there are opportunities in agriculture and other sectors. We hope to diversify investments in Guam and highlight the various possibilities the territory holds.

Q:What are some insights into specific projects and initiatives that Guam is currently undertaking?

Certainly, in the 90s, I created the Healthy Futures fund by taxing tobacco. We focused on prevention, making it cost-prohibitive for youth to indulge in smoking. The funds generated were allocated to healthcare, education, and programs addressing tobacco and drug-related issues.

Additionally, I introduced legislation banning cigarette smoking in public settings, further promoting a healthier environment.

Q: Regarding Guam´s achievements, the territory has made significant strides in education, fiscal matter and health. To what do you attribute Guam’s success in these areas?

Leadership has played a crucial role in Guam’s achievements. Our competent administration and cabinet, strategically placed directors, and a commitment to our vision have been key factors. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, our focus on education, quality healthcare, safety, and prosperity has remained steadfast.

In the financial realm, we successfully stabilized our finances, retiring an $83 million General Fund deficit within two and a half years of taking office. Even during the pandemic, we’ve experienced a surplus, thanks to fiscal discipline, understanding the need for corrections, and collaboration with the legislature.

Q: Looking forward, what are Guam’s main development ambitions in business and social spheres?

Our current focus revolves around sustainability, particularly in light of climate change. We’ve embraced the 17 sustainable goals outlined by the United Nations. Stakeholders came together to strategize on achieving these goals, which include making Guam carbon-neutral by 2045.

This initiative extends beyond our borders, with a Micronesian challenge urging regional partners to join in. Our concern is not just environmental but also economic, as we aim to reduce our reliance on imported goods and foster food sustainability through aquaculture and agriculture.

Q: Can you elaborate on Guam’s specific plans for aquaculture and agriculture development?

Absolutely. We are actively working on developing a robust aquaculture industry. Committees, alliances, and research partnerships with our university are in place to ensure its success. By renaming the Department of Agriculture to include aquaculture, we are emphasizing its importance.

Guam’s pathogen-free waters make our export products, particularly aquaculture-related, highly attractive to Asia. This not only promotes economic diversification but also ensures food sustainability for our island.

Q: Can you tell us more about the importance for Guam’s economy of collaborating with international companies and investors?

We are members of the US Select USA, a conference hosted by the US Department of Commerce, attracting over 3000 international investors. Guam’s strategic location and military activities make it an ideal place for investment, particularly in construction, residential development, and technology.

With 11 undersea cables, Guam is poised for data warehousing. The American regulatory framework adds value, ensuring fairness and legality for investors.

Q: You mentioned the potential synergy with California and Silicon Valley in the technology sector. Any progress in that direction?

Major technology players like Google and Microsoft are expressing interest. We’ve secured $156 million in broadband funding from President Biden’s connectivity vision. Guam is strategically positioned for progress in technology, providing opportunities for investors to explore.

Q: What message would you like to convey to potential investors and partners interested in Guam’s development?

Guam is more than just a destination; it’s a thriving community with a vision for a sustainable and prosperous future. We invite investors and partners to join us in our journey toward economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Together, we can make Guam a model for resilient and thriving island communities. 

Q: As part of the mission to raise visibility for Guam, what would be your final message to those interested?

Guam is a developed island in the North Pacific, offering a unique blend of paradise and business opportunities. Successful investments have been made, and Guam is now at a pivotal point for growth. I encourage investment in technology, data, aquaculture, and pharmaceutical additive manufacturing.

With low taxes, English as the primary language, and a robust education and healthcare system, Guam is an attractive destination for international investors, particularly from Asia. It’s a pivotal moment for Guam’s development.