Monday, August 21, 2006

Governor Must Represent Guam, Not the Feds

from The Marianas Variety

A couple of weeks ago I accompanied Lt. Gov. Moylan on a fact finding trip to Okinawa in anticipation of the Marines move. On this trip were several Senators and village Mayors as well.It was our intention to fill in the information void, or shed light on what we believe is an information blackout, about the full details of this big move.

Many of us are concerned that Governor Camacho has not taken a sufficient lead in devising a comprehensive plan to address the glaring needs of the community. Some of us also felt that not enough urgency has been devoted to the effort to outline the civilian community’s needs and to aggressively and immediately pursue the resources to address these needs. Many of us feel like we are being washed along on this gigantic tsunami with no one steering the ship of state.While Governor Camacho has stated we need approximately $2.6 billion dollars of infrastructure improvements to maintain the quality of life in our community, I find it very troubling that he has divided this request into two parts.

One part of about 945 million dollars is his preliminary request,
while the rest is left out there somewhere to be funded at some unstated future point. It seems incredibly short sighted not to fully state our community’s needs up front, and to demand that they be met as part of the Marines move to Guam.

Instead of working with us to define our true needs and to seek our support to get the most and best of our community, the Governor seems to be pulling in the opposite direction. Governor Camacho seems to be doing all he can to “manage” information so he can appear to be a “good boy” to the federal government. He seems to want to be perceived as a good federal government team player while no one is going to bat for our community. You do not have to take my word about this, you can read it for yourself in the Governor’s own words.

Here is a letter dated July 7th he recently wrote to Delegate Bordallo, whining about our visit to Okinawa. Here it is:

“Hafa Adai! As Governor, I stand by my commitment that the Government of Guam recognizes the U.S. Department of Defense’s role in brokering the agreement on the realignment of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in the Western Pacific. You and I committed on behalf of the people of Guam our support to bring 8,000 Marines to Guam over the next 6 years to complement the mission of the U.S. military in our region.I am concerned about recent media reports that the Lieutenant Governor of Guam is leading a contingent of Senators of the 28th Guam Legislature and Village Mayors to visit Okinawa prior to the completion of the negotiations of the Alliance Transformation Realignment. The proposed visit to Japan is expected to take place on Monday, July 10th, 2006. Given our commitments, this action is counter to protocols we had established in partnership to ensure the integrity of the ongoing negotiations of the U.S./Japan Agreement. In light of this development, I have asked the U.S. Department of Defense for their guidance on how to approach this matter locally.The Civilian-Military Task Force, which I established through Executive Order last month, is the entity on Guam currently involved in the strategic planning process to accommodate military expansion by addressing various infrastructure and quality of life concerns shared by local and military segments of our community.

The Task Force is responsible for the coordination of future visits to the proposed U.S. Marine Base sites in Guam and their counterpart military installations in Japan to gather additional information to further assist in the planning process.As adjustments are being made to the Guam Master Plan currently with the U.S. Pacific Command, such actions for our elected leaders to engage Japanese government officials are counter to the discussions Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Asia and pacific Affairs Richard Lawless and U.S. Pacific Command Deputy Commander Lt. General Daniel Leaf had with us in Guam and the direction given at that time on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense.While I agree that we all must be responsive to the desires or our constituency to understand more about the military expansion into Guam, I believe that it must be done in a manner that meets the needs of all parties involved.Our partnership is critical in ensuring successful outcomes for the greater good of the people of Guam and the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces expected to be deployed here in the future.”

So in short, Governor Camacho believes we have to subordinate our interests to that of the U.S. military and the federal government.

I beg to differ. Both our community and the military must give equal treatment to both our interests. Only in this way can we both prosper.

This is a lesson our Governor must learn – he represents us not the federal government.

No comments: