Guam Governor Request UN Visit To Discuss Challenges With Decolonization Plebiscite

Federal court strikes down law limiting political status vote to 'native inhabitants'

By John I Borja

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Aug. 2, 2017) – Gov. Eddie Calvo made a formal request to the United Nations to come to Guam in light of recent events surrounding Guam's political status.

Calvo's letter to Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreño, chairman of the U.N.'s Special Committee on Decolonization, was discussed and signed off Tuesday at the Guam Commission on Decolonization's meeting, which Calvo chairs.

"Despite Guam being one of the 17 non-self-governing territories recognized by the United Nations, our administering power, the United States, has yet to facilitate a visiting mission to our island," Calvo wrote.

The commission is seeking the U.N.'s assistance after Guam's political status plebiscite was shot down by the federal court. The plebiscite limited the political status vote — free association, independence or statehood — to Guam's native inhabitants. The plebiscite law defines "native inhabitants" as Guam residents who became U.S. citizens through the Organic Act, along with their descendants. 

Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ruled the plebiscite vote was unconstitutional. Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson filed an appeal against the ruling.

"While the court ruling currently hinders the ability to the native inhabitants on Guam to conduct a plebiscite on the island's political status, we feel a visiting mission will draw attention to Guam's current obstacles in achieving self-government, while also helping us maintain the momentum that we have established in the decolonization process," Calvo wrote to Carreño.

Calvo said with a visit, the United Nations would be more informed of Guam's challenges as it moves forward in its path to self-determination. 

According to the Charter of the United Nations, administering powers — which is the U.S. in Guam's case — have an obligation to assist their territories in achieving some form of self-governance. This includes social, political, economical and educational progress. 

A U.N. visit to Guam would encourage the U.S. to be more involved in Guam's decolonization process, Calvo wrote in his letter. 

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2017 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
Average: 2.8 (5 votes)

Add new comment