Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Opinion :: One voice

Opinion :: One voice

Wednesday, 03 February 2010 01:19

GOVERNOR Felix P. Camacho’s recent initiatives to hold public hearings to listen to the people’s sentiments on the military buildup and his new efforts to hold workshops on the draft environmental impact statement may have come a little later than expected, but, as the hackneyed saying goes, better late than never.

The workshop presentations were designed to provide an overview of key issues identified in the draft study and to help residents better understand the implications of the military buildup. This drive, according to a press release from the governor’s office, is part of the Governor Camacho’s “One Island, One Vision, One Future” concept.

It’s a fancy-sounding slogan, rendered vague by its abstractness and a lack of cohesiveness in the community. Sure we are one island, gearing up for a future filled with hopes for progress and promises of a better life. But our visions are scattered all over the place.

Some officials are detached from the sentiments of the community. The community feels alienated from their elected officials. The community is divided between the pro and anti military. Sitting on the periphery are the uninterested lot. The bickering among our elected officials indicates the lack of a collective strategy to advance a common goal.

President Obama is coming to Guam in March. Guam may be a significant aspect of the national defense plan. But we can’t be too optimistic that the president will spend a lot of time on island and sit separately with individual groups or individual branches of the government.

Instead of bashing Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo and accusing her of being a federal mouthpiece, her fellow Democrats must reconcile their differences with her. The governor and the legislators must patch things up.

As speaker Judi Won Pat and Sen. Ben Pangelinan suggested, the community needs to find a common ground.

We have found at least one area where reaching a common ground is a possibility. For example, Governor Camacho’s request for the Department of Navy to postpone the Marines’ relocation beyond 2014 and Sen. Judi Guthertz’s “stretch out, spread out” strategy must be worked out and reconciled into a better thought-out official proposal.

But there is one key observation that clearly every one agrees on: At this point, Guam is not ready for the military buildup.

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