Guam – The commission on decolonization met today to discuss it’s plans for educating the public on self-determination. these plans all hinge on one major thing…money.
The meeting began with the welcoming of it’s newest member, Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua will now head the task force on independence after Trini Torres handed over the reigns saying she would like to pass the torch to the younger generation.
The commission spent the day discussing how they plan on educating the public about decolonization also known as self-determination. Self-determination is the selection of Guam’s political status something that will take a vote known as a plebiscite to accomplish. Guam law provides that the island choose between statehood, free association or independence. Currently the island is an unincorporated territory of the United States.
In order to educate the public on self-determination the commission is planning on moving forward with an aggressive public outreach an educational campaign but this campaign will cost money. A lot of money. “It’s gonna be an expensive campaign as we all know advertising is not cheap and we definitely have to have print and media in this campaign grass roots is good too but print and media will get a lot more mileage but it’s gonna be expensive it’s gonna be well over two million dollars,” said Commission Director Ed Alvarez.
Obama has committed $250 thousand dollars to assist Guam in education efforts but other than this the commission really has no money. Governor Eddie Calvo explains. “Understanding the budgetary issues that are affecting the community that budget request was slashed by about $140 thousand dollars and we are having some difficult times in terms of budgetary constraints,” explained the governor.
So there is essentially no money for the commission for this fiscal year. The governor says that this means the work the commission does will be primarily happy labor and soft work until the commission gets properly funded something he hopes will happen by next fiscal year. In the meantime they will try to educate the public via PBS, the legislative channel, and any other free mediums they can utilize. Former senator and commission member Eddie Duenas asked his fellow members to pin down a date for the plebiscite or vote for political status. “Personally and I’ve stated publicly a timetable for 2014 particular to a general election that is something that I would see as I would be favorable to as if it were to be a vote that was taken,” said Governor Calvo.
Ultimately the commission didn’t vote on a particular date for the election as commission members had more questions as to the ability to properly educate and register enough people before 2014. The commission will meet on every first and third Thursday of the month at four p.m.