Guam – Acting Speaker Tina Muna Barnes delivers this week’s Speaker’s Address.
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Acting Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes31st Guam Legislature
Committee Chair on Municipal Affairs,
Tourism, Housing, & Recreation
The Speaker’s Weekly Radio Address
November 17, 2011
Before I begin, I want to extend the sincerest condolences of the 31st Guam Legislature to the family, friends, and loved ones of the late Specialist Calvin E. Pereda. Like so many of Guam’s sons and daughters, Calvin stood on the watch tower of freedom, his service kept us safe, and his sacrifice will
never be forgotten.
I want to thank Speaker Won Pat and Vice Speaker Cruz for asking me to deliver this week’s address.
These remarks would be incomplete if they did not acknowledge yesterday morning’s great news. Thanks to Governor Calvo, the work of his fiscal team, and a majority of your legislators, a sizeable portion of past due tax refunds will be paid by Christmas.
And, we will finally close the book on our debt to the COLA Class.
While your government works to settle our debts to you, we know that there is much more to do.
So many of you are still working harder, earning less and paying more; others cannot work at all because they cannot find a job, How then, can we ask ourselves?
How can we ask our children to imagine the lives they might lead tomorrow if today they are without a home?
We each have an obligation to do more; to think differently, and to dismiss any voices of doubt who say that we can do no better.
This is why I have accepted the Affordable Housing Council’s invitation to be its co-chair and lead its policy subcommittee.
Together we are considering legislation that responsibly expedites the permitting process related to building affordable homes, retools the Qualifying Certificate Program, and ends the system development charge as we know it.
Yet no housing policy can make a home affordable if you are jobless or if you are searching for employment and can’t find it.
In recognition of these facts, I have worked closely with the Guam Visitors Bureau, the Calvo administration, and industry leaders to expand Guam’s tourism base in new markets.
Thanks to the help and hard work of so many, I am happy to announce that China Air and EVA airlines will increase their combined seat capacity from Taiwan to Guam by as many as 37,000 seats in the coming year.
Today, our share of the Japanese market has declined by 33% when compared to its peak in the 1990s. Our tourism economy must expand not only to compete but to survive.
Guam must be given the opportunity to capture the economic potential of emerging markets in China and Russia—just as we were allowed to do with Japan in the late 1980s, an opportunity which has led to as many as 20,000 jobs in the present day.
Yet, without the full implementation of US Public Law 110-229 or the issuance of the same parole authority already granted to the CNMI, Guam’s economic future will remain tied to the fate of one nation.
We must recognize an old truth that work is better than welfare as long as there is work to be done.
We must build a new era of economic opportunity and create a future for everyone willing and able to work for it. If we continue to match our hopes to hard work, all that is wrong with Guam can be fixed by all that is right with Guam.