Friday, September 11, 2009

Upheaval On Guam's Horizon

What Full Congressional Voting Rights Could Do For The Territory

Blas To Conduct Village Hearings This Month

By Jeff Marchesseault

GUAM - They say that every crisis presents an opportunity. But even if one argues that there is no crisis in Guam's military buildup, another can certainly rebut that Guam could easily wind up with the short end of the stick if its leaders don't fight for every inch of opportunity they can gain from a massive Department of Defense project that has a lot less to do with what's good for the people of Guam and a lot more to do with what's good for the security of the world.

But, as one local senator is apt to point out, these two ends need not be mutually exclusive. What's good for one can indeed be good for all.

And the interests of Guam is just what's driving this determined Guam lawmaker to continue his fight for the unincorporated U.S. territory to have a bigger, more powerful voice in Washington as the island sits smack dab in the middle of a geopolitical reprioritization that will mean nothing less than a reality-changing paradigm shift for islanders. And if the good senator's efforts (and those of like mind) do pay off, then that shift will ultimately be good for Guam.

Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. Blas announced today that he will conduct public hearings on Resolution No. 160 (COR). This resolution requests the committed action of the members of the United States House of Representatives to provide full voting rights and privileges to Guam's representative to Congress on all matters relating to and affecting Guam and the military buildup on Guam.

Senator Blas went on to say that "Major decisions are being made in Congress by individuals who probably [don't] even know where Guam is." This, said Blas, "is evidenced [in] the House version of the Defense Authorization Act; it contained at least two provisions that, if enacted into law, would have a significant impact on our people. What we're asking for is the opportunity to participate in decisions that will affect us."

The first of three public hearings, said Senator Blas, will convene in Barrigada on Wednesday, September 16, 2009, followed by hearings in Yigo on September 18, 2009, and Inarajan on September 23, 2009. According to the Senator, the hearings will start at 6:00 pm. A final hearing, if needed, will be conducted at Guam Legislature's Public Hearing Room.

All those interested in sharing their views are invited by Senator Blas and attend any of the three public hearings scheduled for this month on Resolution No. 160 (COR).

For more information, the Senator can be reached at his office 472-2527.

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