Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Guam, CNMI reunification recommended

Guam, CNMI reunification recommended

Wednesday, 18 November 2009 05:21
by Jude Lizama | Variety News Staff

THE concept of unifying Guam and the CNMI in order to achieve more progress on political self determination is “very valid and realistic,” according to United Nations advisor, Dr. Carlyle Corbin, who spoke during a public forum held last week at the University of Guam in Mangilao. “It’s a very important initiative to bring together the CNMI and Guam notwithstanding the history. The history, I have been told, is delicate,” Corbin added. “Certainly, in the end, it is a very good opportunity. The question is: What will the unified entity become?”

Corbin said some feel that the unification of Guam and the CNMI would create greater opportunities to become the 51st state of the United States, while others feel unification would allow for a more autonomous society closer to that of free association.

On the issue of privatizing the island’s various assets such as its utility agencies and the Port Authority of Guam, the U.N. advisor stated that “These are essentially political decisions of the political leadership,” and added that “The political democratic process of bringing these issues to the leadership is the way to deal with that.”

“It would be the way to deal with it if the status was different; you’d still have to deal with the elected leadership in a representative democracy,” Corbin said. “It is a threatening scenario if, in fact, the privatization has certain implications for how to move forward.”

Corbin said the island’s ability to survive without military protection from the United States “is a very valid concern among the population, so it’s a very serious matter.”

With regard to current events, and military strategy and defense, Corbin cited the island’s close proximity to North Korea as a possible concern. “That has its own dynamic in terms of its [North Korea] negotiations in the six party talks on whether there is going to be an agreement on the denuclearization of DPRK. This is critical for Guam to follow very closely because the first point of attack could very well be Guam.”

However, the U.N. advisor said it is more about the island’s ability to shift away from a situation where the possible absence of the U.S. military would not necessarily be critical to the economic sustainability of the territory.

“In doing that, what would be important for the territory would be to move forward to a more modernized political relationship with more autonomy and powers to engage the international economic system; that way, there will be more opportunities available to grow the economy from the inside-out, as opposed to from the outside-in,” Corbin explained.

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