Sunday, May 27, 2007

Military Buildup and Political Status

Guthertz wants to return to discussions of Guam's political status
by Jean Hudson, KUAM News
Sunday, May 27, 2007

Guam's quest to change its political status hasn't made headlines, and it may be because the island community is more focused on the relocation of thousands of Marines and their dependents years from now. One senator suggests its all the more reason to bring political status talks back on the table.

Senator Judi Guthertz (D) said, "Here we are, we're going to face the relocation of 8,000 Marines, probably 35,000 other people that will be coming here to support the Marine mission, which include federal employees and their dependents, H-2 workers (some of whom who may be able to bring their dependents if their engineers or technical folks), folks who will be coming from the other islands looking for jobs, and we haven't done anything on political status."

The freshman policymaker says a member of the Military/Civilian Task Force, the group that's in the know about the anticipated military buildup was disappointed to learn that the final draft provided to the Navy for consideration in the environmental impact statement did not mention Guam's future political status, self determination, and self-government. "Our indigenous people are going to be overrun by a completely new population and they're desire for an improved political status will just disappear. They'll never have a voice again," she continued. "They'll be out voted, as soon as these folks gain residency and are able to vote on Guam, They'll be out voted!"

Guthertz says with all the talk and planning centering the relocation, this is the opportune time for the territory to make a case for political status change. Last week Guthertz sent a letter to Governor Felix Camacho urging him to include a section on political status. Recalling the intent of the correspondence, she said, "I basically said this is the time. There will not be another opportunity to do this. This is the most opportune time to begin this discussion and you must include it in your report and you must be aggressive about it."

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