Monday, May 18, 2009

Committee on Decolonization makes budget request

By Sabrina Salas Matanane
Published May 18, 2009

The Committee on Decolonization's executive director, Jim Underwood, appeared before the Legislative Committee on Appropriations this morning. The agency is requesting $177,000 for Fiscal Year 2010, that's only $2,000 more than the current fiscal year; and evidently, the entire budget is going to pay for salaries. The agency is comprised of just three people.

Committee chairman Senator Ben Pangelinan empathized with Underwood, saying the agency and the plebiscite are not a priority of the Camacho Administration. It was also revealed during today's meeting that the Commission hasn't had a meeting due to a lack of quorum in the past four years. As a matter of fact, Senator Eddie Calvo just found out today that he was even a member of the board.

He said, "I had not been informed on that, again I'm thankful I'm on the commission. I'm not to sure what responsibilities, I will be making a formal request for a commission meeting. As far as I'm concerned, both as policymaker and now a as a member of the Commission on Decolonization, this island is going through some major changes we've been 100 years under American tutelage I think it's important we have to put some momentum under this we have to move forward. And enough of the status quo."

Only 200 people have registered thus far for the plebiscite. According to Director Underwood, he is still looking forward to holding the Chamorro-only vote in the 2010 General Election, this despite not including funding for it in his 2010 budget request.

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