Guam, NMI municipal officials seek non-binding reunification referendum

THE Association of Mariana Islands Mayors, Vice Mayors and Elected Municipal Council Members or AMIM is proposing a non-binding reunification referendum for the CNMI and Guam.

During its 23rd general assembly on Guam this month, AMIM approved a resolution requesting that the governors of Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands hold a non-binding referendum in 2018 regarding the issue of reunification of the Mariana Islands.

Northern Islands Mayor Jerome Aldan, who attended the meeting, said AMIM Resolution 2016-23-03 was introduced by the government affairs committee on Nov. 18.

The committee members are AMIM president and Dededo Mayor Melissa B. Savares, Tinian Mayor Joey P. San Nicolas, Yigo Mayor Rudy M. Matanane, Hagåtña Mayor John A. Cruz, Sinajana Mayor Robert R.D.C. Hofmann, and Pago-Ordot Mayor Jessy C. Gogue.

According to the resolution, AMIM feels it is time to create a joint commission on political status with the help of the University of Guam, Guam Community College and Northern Mariana College so they can study the financial and legal impacts of having two different governments for the same people with the same historical heritage. “Perhaps it is time to once again address the question: Shall the Mariana Islands be reunified?”

AMIM president and Dededo Mayor Melissa B. Savares said it is their group’s desire to ask the executive branch leaders on Guam and the NMI to organize and host a referendum in the next general election, and to be guided by town halls, public input and testimony as well as comprehensive educational studies and reports on the benefits and drawbacks of reunification.

From 1667 to 1898, the Mariana Islands were administered by Spain. After losing a war with the U.S. in 1898, Spain ceded Guam to America and sold the NMI to Germany. In 1914, Japan acquired the NMI which was invaded by the U.S. in 1944.

In 1969, the people of the NMI voted in favor of reunification, but Guam voters rejected it.