VIDEO: Governor Highlights Guam’s Growing Poverty; Looks to Era of Guamanian Prosperity

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Guam – In his first state of the island address Governor Eddie Calvo focused on the island’s poor and his vision of how all Guamanians can prosper.

 

Read the State of the Island Address

“The 1980’s thanks to the leadership of my father, Governor Ricky Bordallo, Governor Joseph Ada were at the height of economic development and wealth in this island. we can re-emerge we can be stronger and we can create the Guamanian century of prosperity,” said Governor Calvo.

Governor Eddie Calvo focused much of his speech on how Guam could use the military buildup to usher in the Guamanian century of prosperity. It’s something he said can only be accomplished with the cooperation of the legislature. “The opportunities are right in front of us but it will take a collaborative effort to bridge this island from it’s near poverty to the prosperity that we all want,” he said.

The governor spoke about some of the dismal numbers that reflect the struggles that many Guamanians are facing. For example he said the latest employment reports show that 11,500 workers on Guam earn minimum wage, 6,510 people are looking for a job, and more than 43,000 adults are not working. In total nearly 50 thousand Guamanians are not earning an income and at least 43,000 Guamanians are on some form of public assistance according to the governor. “Today my dear people too many Guamanians are living in poverty,” he said.

The governor spoke about how the island must break the cruel cycle of poverty. His ideas include strengthening education and strengthening the economy. “The people of Guam want their tax refunds now,” said the governor adding, “It is by far the single largest request that is made by constituents, paying the refunds in full right now will without a doubt solve the financial troubles of thousands of Guamanians.” To pay out tax refunds Calvo is looking into financing GovGuam’s deficit. This means some form of borrowing effort to enable GovGuam to pay off some of it’s debts including tax refunds.

The governor pointed to the signing of the programmatic agreement as a major milestone that will bring an era of unprecedented opportunity to the island of Guam and he thanked Guam State Historic Preservation Officer Lynda Aguon for signing it. “My fellow Guamanians, this morning I dedicate the state of the island address to the silent courage and kind hearted heroism of State Historic Preservation Officer Lynda Aguon,” said Calvo.

While the governor touted the economic prosperity that will come from the military buildup he also made it clear that he would not stand for any colonialist actions. “Congress in the dead of night and without even the courtesy of informing our congresswoman decided that it should make a profit on Guam by selling to us what is rightfully ours. I have news for congress that the water at FENA does not belong to you,” said Calvo adding, “Not one penny will be spent for what is rightfully ours.” The governor said this was another reason for Guam’s need to achieve self-determination. “Congresswoman Bordallo please take a message from me back to my republican colleagues in the house of representatives. Remind them that our party stands against imperialism and the over-reaching arm of the federal government. This my dear people is yet again a clear reason why we must exercise our right to self-determination and I will be working with Senator Respicio and Senator Pangelinan on funding our long awaited plebiscite,” said Calvo

The governor also noted that the military buildup could not be seen as the height of prosperity for Guam and that the island would have to build a sustainable future one that will allow Guamanians to prosper beyond the buildup. The key to Guam’s sustainable future, said the governor, is the education of Guam’s children. Which is why he will soon be signing a classrooms to careers initiative.

The governor also thanked God for sparing the island from the tsunami that devastated Japan and he pledged to provide as much help to Japan as Guam could.