Bloomberg Interviews Calvo; Governor Emphasizes Buildup, Visa Waiver and Compact Impact

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Guam – Among his other meetings in Washington D.C., Governor Eddie Calvo also took time to meet with a panel of Bloomberg editors and reporters on the various issues facing Guam.

According to a release from the Governor’s Office, Calvo spoke with Bloomberg about a wide range of issues facing the island including the military buildup, the China and Russia visa waiver programs, and Compact-Impact reimbursements.

Bloomberg has already issued one story following the meeting which was published in the Honolulu Star Advertiser last Friday.

READ the Bloomberg report on its interview with Governor Calvo

READ the release from the Governor’s Office on the Bloomberg interview in FULL below:

“Our island is getting the attention from major players everywhere—from the federal government, to the Congress, and now with national and international media,” Governor Calvo said. “The more we share Guam’s story, and the more we push for solutions to improve government, fight poverty, and build the future, the closer we get to reaching our greatest heights.”

Military Buildup

The majority of the interview focused on the military buildup. Bloomberg reporters asked how the proposed changes to decrease the number of Marines permanently stationed on Guam will affect federal and Japanese government funds slated to improve the island’s infrastructure.

“No matter how many Marines come to Guam, our infrastructure will reach a breaking point. They will still flush the toilet, they will still turn on the faucet, and they will still drive on our roads,” Governor Calvo said. “Ultimately though, fewer Marines means a more manageable increase in population and a more manageable increased use of resources.”

Bloomberg reporters agreed the reduction of forces moving to Guam shouldn’t necessarily translate to a reduction in money for infrastructure upgrades, because of surge capacity requirements for the proposed rotational Marine units.

On that point, Governor Calvo expressed his support for Marines to be stationed on Guam, rather than be rotated through the island. He also shared a concern that rotating units will not be counted when the federal government appropriates Section 30 money to Guam, which Bloomberg included in the article above.

“I want our servicemembers to have the highest morale possible, so they can best serve our island and our nation,” Governor Calvo said. “Think about what’s in the best interest of that Marine: is it to be away from his or her family for a year or longer? Or is it to live and work on Guam with their loved ones, where they can experience this paradise first-hand and build bonds in the community like our liberators did in World War II?”

China and Russia Visa Waiver Program

Reporters also asked Governor Calvo for updates on the administration’s request for China and Russia to be added to the Guam/CNMI visa waiver program.

“For the first time that I can recall, the federal government moved faster than the private sector,” Governor Calvo said. “I’m happy to report that since the parole authority for Russian tourists was implemented, our island has seen a 300 percent increase in travel from Russia. Not only is Guam a viable destination for Russia and China, but this proposal is in line with President Obama’s plan to increase tourism from places like China and Brazil.”

Compact-Impact

Finally, Governor Calvo spoke to Bloomberg about addressing the inadequate reimbursements from the federal government for Compact-Impact. The reporters were surprised to hear about the difference in the amount the Government of Guam pays to provide necessary services to migrants from the Freely Associated States of Micronesia, and the amount the federal government gives to cover these costs.

“The reimbursement has been woefully inadequate from the start, so we are going to begin seeking offsets that address the money Guam has paid without reimbursement,” Governor Calvo said. “I don’t blame anyone wanting to come to America to seek a better life, but what’s happening on Guam would never be allowed in the states. Can you imagine what would happen if 60 percent of a state’s MIP money was being used on non-U.S. citizens? That is exactly what Guam is doing every year. We need to provide healthcare to these people, it would be un-American not to—all we’re asking is for the federal government to keep the promise it made when it signed these treaties.”