SCHEDULE AND TERMS OF GUAM POLITICAL PLEBISCITE GAIN OPPOSITION

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By Steve Limtiaco

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (July 8, 1999 - Pacific Daily News)---Governor Carl Gutierrez and other Guam representatives recently traveled to New York City to tell the United Nations about the island’s ongoing effort to define its relationship with the United States.

On the home front, however, the island’s efforts to determine the direction it will pursue -- independence, statehood or free association -- continue to make little progress. The list of those who want to delay a vote on the matter continues to grow.

A political status plebiscite is scheduled to take place December 12, but those who are arranging the plebiscite last month said there is no money to hold a plebiscite and little time to educate the public. Only Chamorros, as defined by Guam law, can vote in the plebiscite. Officials have said about 16,000 Guam residents would be eligible to vote in the plebiscite.

Speculation and doubt have evolved into action, and the Chamorro Registry Advisory Board, which is responsible for crating a list of eligible Chamorros for the plebiscite, on June 30 recommended that the plebiscite be postponed.

And the chairman of the government task force that is promoting independence for Guam recently sent a letter to the Commission on Decolonization, also requesting that the plebiscite be postpone.

Commission on Decolonization Director Leland Bettis yesterday said the Commission needs to make a recommendation to the Legislature on what to do about the plebiscite. However, the past three commission meetings have been canceled because not enough members showed up to form a quorum, Bettis said.

Bettis yesterday said his staff is trying to contact commission members in order to get a quorum – which is six of the 10 members – so the commission can meet.

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