The following is a response from Governor’s strategic planning advisor Troy Torres on the concerns issued on behalf of activists:
The Governor, I Maga Lahi, is harnessing support and forging partnerships to build a grassroots campaign that prepares us to decolonize. Rather than a small body of people deciding when the plebiscite should happen, this grassroots campaign will have the voices of at least 8,000 people stating that the decolonization process should move forward. The expression of the native inhabitants’ self determination will be clear. We don’t understand how the ballot process we are proposing will violate Chamorro self determination, when the will of the native inhabitants will be clearly expressed.
Governor Calvo is holding himself responsible for this process. It’s precisely why he’s made self determination among his top, personal priorities. He’s not asking the Commission on Decolonization for any resources or authorization. He’s personally leading the effort to launch a public education campaign, advancing the decolonization process beyond any stage it’s ever been in.
The Commission on Decolonization has been around for 20 years. In that time, there’s been a lot of discussion, research, debate, and meetings. Federal issues have mounted. The military realignment has moved forward every day since. The time has been ripe for action.
The Governor is asking the Chamorro people to give this proposal a chance. Leading an education campaign won’t hurt anyone. It can only benefit the process. If we achieve a level of educational maturity, when we assess the campaign in mid-July, then we can determine that we should turn in the petitions and hold the plebiscite in November. Until then, why shoot down this process, especially when it’s the only solution and plan that’s been on the table in a very long time? If all we ever do is shoot down solutions and fight with each other, we are simply repeating an ugly history of a divided Chamorro community during pivotal moments, when decolonization was within sight. We need unity.
Further inaction is not an option. Any viable plan for holding the plebiscite must include a change to the 70% law. That law makes it impossible for a plebiscite ever to be held. Keeping that law is not an option.
If there’s a solution that the opponents have to offer that hasn’t been offered in the past 20 years, we are all ears.