New York City, New York – The Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24) of the United Nations heard testimony from Lt. Governor Joshua F. Tenorio today as it worked towards adopting a draft resolution on the status of Guam’s decolonization. Lt. Governor Tenorio delivered a pointed speech that reaffirmed a request for a UN Visiting Mission to Guam. He also reported on US Military land use/return policy.
United Nations Visiting Missions enable a review of the challenges faced by non-self-governing territories and gives UN officials a chance to interact with local people to gather information and update the world body. Lt. Governor Tenorio believes that a Visiting Mission would not only shed light on Guam’s challenges, but that it “would elevate the issue of decolonization to the highest levels of the administering Power.” The last UN Visiting Mission to Guam was in 1977 – an event that he claims brought tremendous attention to the issue of Guam’s political status.
“Without political interest from the highest levels of leadership from the administering Power, practical political discussions would never take root,” he stated.
He further expressed disappointment with the return of excess land by the US Military, stating, “The systematic program for land return including most of the land designated for return over the last 30 years is ineffective. Land return is delayed by a process that enables the various departments and agencies of the administering Power to intercede and assert their rights to use the property for other purposes or for that matter – to just acquire the property for inventory.”
Lt. Governor Tenorio also expressed frustration that Guam’s political status creates a lack of equity and mutual consent in regards to the Military’s land use plans for the buildup saying, “Our leadership must rely on hope that the administering Power would seek sensible alternatives for military land use. It is clear that without true decolonization, our views and recommendations regarding land use will remain subordinate and without proper legal authority or influence in the decision making process.”
Lt. Governor Tenorio closed his statement by making a commitment to engage the United Nations and the administering Power and to make himself available in order to forge ahead in Guam’s quest for decolonization.