“Para bai hu prutehi, yan hu difende, i hinnenge, i koturra, i lenguahi, i aire, i hanom yan i tano chamoru. This is what we stand for!” – Senator Telena Nelson
Guam – Lawmakers passed a resolution that requests a pause on the construction of the live fire training range complex at the Northwest field until final determinations are made on the series of ranges on Guam and throughout the Marianas.
This substitute version of Resolution 228 also seeks the pause pending the resolution of all pending litigation against the proposed firing ranges in the CNMI. The resolution was ultimately passed this morning (Tues) with a vote of 11-3 but before its passage there was quite a bit of debate. Senator Frank Aguon Jr. was concerned that the resolution was being rushed to passage because he heard that some members of the legislature would be bringing the resolution to the United Nations. The resolution’s author Senator Telena Nelson told lawmakers that the resolution is needed because the original landowners of Ritidian and other opponents of the firing range have tried all other avenues to have their issues resolved but they have gone unheard.
“If we don’t stand up now, if we sit silent and do nothing and wait for a roundtable hearing when we see the publics outcry for me it sends one message. We do not hear you,” said Senator Nelson adding, “Para bai hu prutehi, yan hu difende, i hinnenge, i koturra, i lenguahi, i aire, i hanom yan i tano chamoru. This is what we stand for!”
“In the context of this military buildup, I am in support of it. And it’s not because I’m colonized it’s not because I’m anti any kind of self-determination it’s not because I cow tow to any military power. It’s because of the story of our people. We have more Chamorus living in San Diego than we have living in some of our villages,” said Senator San Nicolas adding, “The people of Guam don’t want to just leave island because they feel like it. They leave island because there is no opportunity.”
Only Senators Tom Ada, Mary Torres, and Mike San Nicolas voted no on the resolution.