Guam – Governor Eddie Calvo says that when he is in Washington D.C. he’ll focus on the Guam military buildup, the programmatic agreement, and other issues including war reparations and the visa-waiver program.
he Governor lewaves for Washington D.C. on Wednesday, February 23erd.
The governor’s trip to the nation’s capitol will focus on the military buildup and the programmatic agreement. In fact the governor says he spoke with Navy Undersecretary Robert Work this morning (Friday) about the progress of the programmatic agreement negotiations.
When he last met with Work the governor pushed for an agreement that would include what he refers to as the four pillars namely, that 24/7 access would be allowed to Pagat village and Pagat caves, that the military would reduce it’s overall footprint on Guam, that they would use a one Guam approach to the buildup and a Green Guam approach to the buildup.
“I would like to ensure that those four pillars are dealt with some of it within the programmatic agreement some of it within parallel agreements I would like to do it before I leave but if not then when we sit down there in Washington D.C. that’s the best opportunity to work with the folks that can make those decisions that can speed up the bureaucrats to ensure that the best interest of the people of Guam are formalized or ratified in the programmatic agreement and other necessary agreements that need to be made,” said Governor Calvo.
While the meetings in Washington will be focused on the military buildup there are a lot of other issues that need to be resolved, including some longstanding issues. “It’s important while we’re out there to focus on the military buildup but also to use this as leverage for other areas,” said Calvo.
For example things like war reparations or even the visa-waiver program that would allow easier access to Guam and the CNMI for tourists from China and Russia. “This is an issue that’s so important for Guam to expand our tourism industry and it’s actually critical for the CNMI because without it, it could be another nail in their coffin in terms of their economic situation. I believe that if the Department of Defense comes up to the plate and advises homeland security that they do not have an issue with the parole visa waiver program as a matter of fact if they would back us on it then some of the concerns of the homeland security has as far as I’m concerned become irrelevant,” said Calvo.
The Governor is also concerned about the developments of the Futenma marine base relocation. Okinawans are opposed to relocating the base to a northern coastal rural province. Secretary Gates has said that without the relocation of Futenma there will be no movement of marines to Guam.
To discuss this matter the governor will meet with officials within the State Department. “The Department of State has a lot at stake, this is a treaty that is again pushed forward by the Department of State so I would like to see them as also champions for Guam’s cause and with the issues in regards to the internal politics of Japan the state department would probably be the closest federal entity in dealing with those issues,” explained Calvo.
While in D.C. the governor will also ensure that funding from Japan goes to local civilian infrastructure as well as military infrastructure.