In this week’s address, Governor Calvo stresses the importance of collaboration and the power of negotiation as leaders in our nation’s capitol move closer to making a final decision about whether or not the military buildup will happen on Guam. You can read the text of Governor Calvo’s weekly address in this message or view the recorded address by clicking on the link below:
It’s time to move forward: A Weekly Address
By Eddie Baza Calvo, Governor of Guam
Hafa Adai my fellow Guamanians,
This buildup process has gone on long enough. I’ll be sending word to Washington in the coming days that Guam’s governor and congresswoman are supporting the military buildup…because doing it properly will benefit both Guam and the United States.
We are generally in support of the plans that have been proposed by the Navy. And we are willing to sit down with the federal government to iron out any details and address any disagreement.
The time for political maneuvering and grandstanding is long gone. There’s a plan in front of us to move the buildup forward. This plan takes into account almost every previous objection to the buildup, and provides even more options than the last Environmental Impact Statement. It’s a plan that tells me something very important – that the Navy listened to us and is approaching this buildup as a partner.
At the start of this whole buildup saga, people were very concerned about many things…and rightly so.
For most of us, this buildup is a new thing. Most of us weren’t around for the post-World War II buildup. And it’s natural for people to be wary of change – of things we don’t know. It becomes worse when we feel we have no control over these new things happening. Believing you have no control over something new and foreign…repels change.
During that first buildup process, some strong words came from the government of Guam itself. There were all kinds of suspicion and hyperbole – name calling and yelling –accusations of lying and indictments against the character of people.
Now we know that all of that suspicion was wrong. The Navy didn’t steamroll any buildup over us. They pulled out a chair, asked us to sit at the table, and then changed the buildup to accommodate Guam’s best interests.
We sat at that table as negotiators…not combatants…and we all agreed on four pillars.
First, they wouldn’t touch Historic Pagat Village.
Second, they would approach infrastructure improvements with a “One Guam” mentality.
Third, they will partner also with us on employing best practices for a “Green Guam.”
And, finally…that by the time the buildup is done, the federal government will own less land on Guam than it does today.
They didn’t touch Pagat. I wish to acknowledge the effort by many who rallied to ensure that our historical and cultural interests were preserved. I am not talking just about people within the government, but primarily the grass roots groups, such as We Are Guahan, who gave voice to our ancestors, who brought national, even international, attention to the need to preserve our historical resources, not just our economic ones.
No master plan has been submitted to the Senate, yet there’s over $100 million in buildup funding for our wastewater system. Everyone is employing sustainability best practices. And the Navy has already started the process of returning land. I have great hope that we can bring justice to original landowners who have been affected by the federal government.
When faced with a problem, it is always wise for leaders to keep an open mind to many possible solutions, rather than just the obvious one. We can have confidence that this military buildup will result in the return of ancestral lands, because the federal government already is demonstrating its commitment to the “net negative” pillar.
The United States military has closed every major loop in its effort to start this buildup. Now it’s our turn.
The Navy and the Joint Guam Program Office already did all the heavy lifting. They showed their willingness to change their plans. They moved the firing range preferred option three times already – each time in response to concerns from senators. I think three times and a delay of three years is enough. It’s time to get this buildup started…and started the right way.
The government of Guam can show unity in its support if senators do the right thing and pass a resolution indicating what Congresswoman Bordallo and I are telling Washington: we support the buildup. We will work with the Navy. We are excited to host the Marines.
That’s the part that’s significant. I’m sure we’ll have lots of time to discuss all the great economic benefits of a buildup. But I think what’s more important than all of that is what we’ve been chosen to do. What other United States community can stand tall and proud and say, “The Marines are moving in to protect our country and our town.”
None but us.
We have the great honor of witnessing the dynamic change of the world order in this new century. We have the awesome duty of supporting our country’s defense and our allies’ protection. I am grateful to be part of this, and I caution all senators to not let the politics carry us away again. We’ve seen it in the past. All it takes is one uncomfortable sentence from a Guam senator to a U.S. Senator to block this buildup altogether.
My thanks to Congresswoman Bordallo, Bob Work, Jackie Pfanennstiel, and Joe Ludovici for believing in this program and carrying it through to this point. I also want to acknowledge the people of Guam – the ordinary citizens who have engaged the federal and local government in this process. You have been patient, understanding, and most importantly, active during the planning of this important event in our history.
God bless Guam and our great nation.