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    Thursday, November 23, 2017-7:05:12P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Status quo ‘unacceptable’; Guam governor prefers statehood

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo said he believes the resolution adopted last week by the United Nations is “a victory on the road to self-determination,” and he hopes that road leads to statehood.

The resolution was introduced by the U.N.’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee, also known as the Fourth Committee. The governor testified at the U.N. last month in favor of the resolution, which calls on the United States to cooperate fully in efforts to promote self-government on Guam.

Click to enlarge
Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo points to an electronic sign identifying Guam as an NSGT, or non-self-governing territory, during a visit to the United Nations last month.  Photo courtesy of the Office of the Guam Governor
Ned Pablo and Jayton Okada wave a Guam flag outside the District Court of Guam in March to protest a decision earlier this year declaring Guam’s political status plebiscite unconstitutional.  The Guam Daily Post file photo

During an interview, the governor acknowledged that he didn’t necessarily agree with everyone else who testified in favor of the resolution.

“Each one had a different outlook on it, but that is the voice of Guam,” he said.

Eighty nations voted for the resolution. The United States was one of only nine nations to vote against it.

The governor took exception to remarks made by the U.S. representative who objected. The American diplomat was quoted as saying that many on Guam preferred “the status quo” over independence or other options.

“The status quo is just unacceptable,” the governor said. It means Guam has no voice in legislation passed in the U.S. House or Senate, and no voice in the election of the U.S. president. “How can anyone who represents a democracy believe in the status quo?”

As for his own preference, the governor said, “I have no problem with statehood. I’m an advocate of statehood, personally. But I’m not going to try and influence the Commission on Decolonization.”  

The governor revived the Commission on Decolonization six years ago. The commission has been leading efforts for a non-binding political status plebiscite that offers the choice of independence, statehood or free association with the United States.

During his testimony before the U.N. on Oct. 4 the governor cited a recent federal court ruling declaring that the proposed plebiscite on Guam’s political status violated the equal voting rights provision because it limited voting to native inhabitants.

He said U.S. laws have put a strain on “native rights.” He asked, “Who protects the native inhabitants of Guam from being marginalized in their own home?”

“I understand the United States’ interests and we have respected its laws, but I also ask that the federal government understand the interests of our island and respect our wishes,” the governor said. “As I Maga’lahen Guahan, I have a duty to my people.”