Prutehi Litekyan calls on Governor and Congresswoman to halt military buildup construction

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The group Prutehi Litekyan believes the Governor and Congresswoman can do more to push the federal government to pause military construction for a planned marine base and live fire training range complex.

Guam – The group Prutehi Litekyan says that while time is running out to save the pristine native forest in NCTS and the Northwest Field, known as Tailalo’ in Chamorro, they are not giving up.  On Friday they delivered a letter to the Governor urging him to stand in opposition to the firing range complex at the Northwest Field.  The group also wrote a letter recently to Congresswoman Bordallo asking her to call for a pause on military buildup construction.

Prutehi Litekyan, translated in English to Save Ritidian, says pre-construction activities for the Marine Base on NCTS have already begun. This includes the removal of native plant species to be transplanted to other areas as well as the removal of ancient artifacts. In light of these activities, they requesting the Governor and Congresswoman to call for a halt to military buildup construction.

“There were earth ovens there from the latte era that were placed there by ancestral hands. Those have already been dismantled and taken apart and removed so each day, each hour that they are contemplating this and remaining silent it really is allowing for the continuation of the dismantling of a very successful conservation area,” said Prutehi Litekyan member Kelly Taitano.

Taitano points out that many of the species of plants and animals that will be impacted by the military construction for both the proposed Marine base and the live firing range can be found nowhere else in the world.

On Friday, Prutehi Litekyan members delivered a letter to Governor Eddie Calvo’s office asking him to stand against the firing range. They were told he was in his office but unavailable to meet them.  Adelup staff were also unable to provide the group with a date for a follow-up meeting. Prutehi Litekyan members would like to see both the Governor and the Congresswoman do something about the destruction of ancient artifacts and native forest for the buildup.

“Yes, they can actually do something that would put a halt to this. They have more power I feel to put a halt to the preconstruction and construction activities,” said Prutehi Litekyan member Sabina Perez.

Prutehi Litekyan members say pre-construction activities should be halted in the very least until the CNMI case against proposed military construction is resolved.

“Primary limestone forest — it takes millions of years and very special conditions and just symbiotic relationships to develop. That can’t ever be replicated,” said Taitano. “Some of our yo’amte (native traditional healers) are having a difficult time finding the medicines that people really need and so they’re seeing a greater number of patients on a monthly basis, but they can’t properly treat their patients because they are lacking some of the medicines that are found only in these limestone forests,” said Perez.

The members of Prutehi Litekyan also pointed to the recent U.N. resolution that was passed by its fourth committee that calls upon Guam and the U.S. federal government to work to “protect and conserve the environment against degradation and the impact of militarization.”

Governor Calvo’s Spokeswoman Oyaol Ngiririkl says the Governor has met with Prutehi Litekyan previously and he understands their concerns. He has instructed his buildup advisor, the Guam EPA and the State Historic Preservation Officer to ensure that the buildup adheres to all requirements to preserve and protect environmental and historic properties. Ngiririkl says the Governor wants to make sure that cultural historic and medicinal properties are preserved. In fact, she points out that the Governor has called for a pause to military construction because of the denial of H-2b visas and because he believes the federal government is not living up to the four pillars of the buildup particularly the “One Guam” approach.