06 April 2011

Reflections on the late Cyril E. King, second elected Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands


by Dr. Carlyle Corbin
(first published in 2008)

April 7 is the birthday of the second elected governor Cyril Emanuel King who passed away while in office in January of 1978. King’s distinguished career was chronicled in the excellent publication “Profiles of Outstanding Virgin Islanders,” and is required reading for those interested in Virgin Islands history. King graduated with a bachelor's degree in public administration from American University in 1951. He had been appointed in 1949 as an assistant to U.S. Senator Hubert Humphrey, and was the first person of African descent to serve in the office of a U.S. senator.

King was later appointed in 1957 by the Organic Act Committee of the Virgin Islands as its deputy in Washington, D.C. to organize the lobbying effort in the U.S. Congress to gain amendments to the Virgin Islands Organic Act. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed him Virgin Islands Government Secretary which was similar to the present Secretary of State position in Puerto Rico, and forerunner of the post of Lieutenant Governor in the US Virgin Islands. He was elected to the US Virgin Islands Legislature in 1972, and was subsequently elected governor for a four-year term in 1974. He served three years of what was to become his only term.

As a young writer and advisor on international affairs to Governor King, I was honored to have had the opportunity to work for this most formidable leader whose dynamism, charisma and persistence dominated the political landscape of the day. Working for Governor King trained me in how to perform under pressure. In later years when I would address various United Nations organizations on behalf of the government, I would call on that discipline he instilled to successfully deal with the challenges of representing the territory in the international arena. Without a doubt, Governor King was a most formidable boss who commanded excellence of those who worked for him. In turn, we gained valuable experience which would serve us well later in our careers.

Of the many experiences I had in working under Governor King, one particular instance remains vivid. It was an early September morning in 1977, around 6:30 AM or so, when my phone rang in my residence in Scott Free, St. Thomas. I had only recently relocated from St. Croix to write for the governor. On the other line was Governor King who was calling to inform me that I was to meet him in St. Croix that morning. I could heard the loud roar of the Antilles Airboat engines in the background. “Meet me in St. Croix,” Governor King said, “and don’t be late.”

I didn’t know which event he was attending in St. Croix. All I knew was that I was to meet him there – on time. Quickly showering and dressing, I leaped out the front door, briefcase in hand, into my Volkswagen bug, drove quickly through the narrow Scott Free Road and down Crown Mountain Road. I made the sharp left turn onto the highway towards town, to see if I could get on the next airboat to St. Croix. Luckily there was an available seat (or someone was bumped, I can’t remember which), and I was shortly on my way to St. Croix. I now had to find out where Governor King was going – and I couldn’t be late. As luck would have it, Education Commissioner Gwendolyn Kean was on the same flight and she advised me that the governor was scheduled to speak to an assembly of new teachers that morning. I caught a ride with Commissioner Kean and St. Croix District Superintendent Gloria Canegata who were both officiating at the event.

After twenty minutes, we were pulling into the courtyard of an elementary school at mid-island where the event was taking place. Just ahead, I could see the taillights of Governor King’s official black Buick Electra pulling up to the curb. The Governor emerged momentarily from the car and headed towards the foyer of the school. I thanked Mrs. Kean and Mrs. Canegata for the ride, jumped from the car, and headed towards the school.

Governor King had been quickly surrounded by teachers and administrators who he took the time to patiently greet before he delivered his remarks. He had a certain presence which drew people around him. Even as he would silently enter a room from the rear, people would seem to sense that he was there, and instinctively turn around. As he stood in the center of this group of educators, he glanced around the room and spotted me nearby with my legal pad in hand taking notes. He gave me a quick nod in recognition that I arrived – and that I wasn’t late. Had I not been there, he may not have asked me to accompany him on the next “mission.”

It was my job at such events to draft the press release for the Governor’s outstanding Press Secretary Richie Allen for review and delivery to the media. I also had to get the names of the people who were photographed with the Governor. These complimentary pictures would be proudly displayed in many Virgin Islands homes. The Governor’s expert photographer, Leland Bertrand, was quite prolific in the number of pictures he would take of Virgin Islanders of all persuasions, and we had some interesting times linking the pictures with the names on my legal pad.

Governor King always had time for people, and he was famous for his impromptu stops along the roadside to talk to construction workers, sanitation workers, businesspersons, students and just about everyone else. Quite unexpectedly, he would walk out of Government House with his administrator Levron (Pops) Saraw and head down the hill to Main Street to hear the concerns and ideas of the people. He especially had a lot of time for the youth and often stopped to watch young people play baseball and other sports in the various athletic leagues around the territory.
Governor King was also an avid regionalist, and developed close relations with his counterpart Premier Robert Bradshaw of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla during the first two years of his term. He always recognized the progressive role of nationals of the Eastern Caribbean in the economic development of the US Virgin Islands. King became the first governor of the territory to make an official visit to the region, traveling to St. Kitts on several occasions. He also welcomed Premier Bradshaw on official visits to the territory. He was the first to participate in a meeting of CARICOM when he attended the Second Conference of the Heads of Government held in Basseterre, St. Kitts in December of 1975. Serious issues on the status of CARICOM nationals residing in the US Virgin Islands were addressed at that meeting.

He was also the first governor to speak before the United Nations on the evolution of the constitutional status of the US Virgin Islands. This 1975 speech served as the precedent for the participation of successive governments in the United Nations review process of the constitutional development of the territory. By 2008, the territory still exists pursuant to a federal “Organic Act” in lieu of a local constitution – never mind, addressing the deficiencies in the prevailing political status of an unincorporated territory. As early as 1975, Governor recognised the prevailing situation as an anachronism.

Governor King’s policies promoted innovation, implementation, self-help and the necessary political autonomy for the territory to engage the wider Caribbean and the world. He was clearly ahead of his time. His perspectives are largely unknown to later generations. Efforts should be made to heighten public awareness of the philosophies and opinions of this important leader in Virgin Islands and Caribbean history.


Governor Cyril E. King Day Proclaimed in US Virgin Islands




Gubernatorial Proclamation - Governor Cyril Emmanuel King Day

Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. has proclaimed April 7, 2011 as “Cyril Emmanuel King Day” in the Virgin Islands to recognize the outstanding public service of this notable Virgin Islander. Cyril King was born on St. Croix on April 7, 1921 and was the second elected governor of the territory.




WHEREAS, April 7th of each year has been set aside, pursuant to Act. No. 5147, as "Cyril Emmanuel King Day" to recognize the outstanding public service of this great Virgin Islander; and

WHEREAS, Cyril Emmanuel King was born on St Croix on April 7, 1921, received his early education at St. Ann's Catholic School at Barren spot and graduated from St. Mary's Catholic School in Christiansted, St. Croix; and

WHEREAS, Cyril E. King served with United States Army Pacific Theatre troops in Hawaii, attaining the rank of Sergeant; and

WHEREAS, upon being discharged from the military, Cyril King entered American University, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree; and

WHEREAS, upon graduation, Cyril E. King was employed as an aide to Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, the first blackman to serve on the staff of a United States Senator, serving for twelve years and subsequently attained the position of Senior Staff Member; and

WHEREAS, Cyril E. King was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to serve as Government Secretary of the Virgin Islands Government in 1961; and

WHEREAS, in 1969, Cyril E. King was appointed as Acting Governor of the Virgin Islands and in 1972 elected Senator from the St. Thomas-St. John District; and

WHEREAS, in 1974, Cyril E. King became the second elected Governor of the Virgin Islands; and

WHEREAS, King received numerous awards for his outstanding community service including Commander First Class of the Order of Danneborg and the Silver Cross by H.M. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and honorory Doctor of Laws Degree from Roger Williams College in Bristol, Rhode Island and the first Hilbert College, Buffalo, New York award for his outstanding humanitarian work; and

WHEREAS, the airport on St. Thomas was renamed "The Cyril E. King Airport" in honor of this outstanding native son; and

WHEREAS, through the dedicated efforts of Governor Cyril E. King, the social, political and economic standards in the Territory were enhanced;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, John P. deJonqh, Jr., Governor of the United States Virgin Is1ands, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Revised Organic Act of 1954, as amended, do hereby proclaim Thursday, April 7, 2011, as "Governor Cyril Emmanuel King Day" in the Virgin Islands in honor of the outstanding public service of our second elected Governor. I call upon the residents of the Virgin Islands to join with me in this observance.

In addition, pursuant to Title 1, Section 187, I am directing the Commissioner of Education to conduct appropriate ceremonies in the Territory's School in honor of Governor Cyril E. King, including dissemination of biographical information of this outstanding native son.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and cause the Seal of the Government of the Virgin Islands of the United States to be affixed at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, this 1st day of March, 2011, A.D.

John P. de Jongh, Jr.


Cayman Islands Declines to Host UN Decolonisation Seminar following British Invitation to United Nations


Cayman News Service

(CNS): The Cayman Islands’ premier has turned down an invitation to host the United Nation’s Special Committee on Decolonisation annual seminar here, his office revealed on Tuesday. Despite a release from the United Nations stating that the meeting would be held in Cayman next month, officials from the premier’s office said that McKeeva Bush had written to committee chairman, Francisco Carrion-Mena, on Tuesday morning stating that it would not be possible for his government to host the meeting. Although no reasons have been given as to why Cayman is refusing the invitation, officials said the CIG had never agreed to have it here in the first place. The UN “had jumped the gun” when it said the meeting would be held in Cayman, officials added.
OTR Editor's Note: According to United Nations (U.N.) sources, the U.N. Special Committee on Decolonisation formally decided to accept the invitation from the United Kingdom (U.K.) to hold the U.N. Caribbean Regional seminar on decolonisation. It was unclear whether the Cayman Islands Government had been informed in advance by the U.K. that it was going to extend the invitation to the U.N. According to an international decolonisation expert, the last seminar held in a U.K.-administered territory was in Anguilla in 2003, even as the U.K. had withdrawn its formal cooperation from the committee in 1986. The expert went on to note that the French facilitated the Pacific Regional Seminar on decolonisation in its territory of New Caledonia in 2010.
In his letter to the UN committee’s chair the premier reportedly offered his appreciation and gratitude for the invitation to host the annual meeting but turned it down without explanation.
The UN had released the information at the weekend indicating that the Cayman Islands had been selected following consideration of a number of factors in selecting the venue, including the political situation and logistics of several countries in the Caribbean. CNS has contacted the UN Decolonisation Committee to ask why it believed the CIG had already accepted the invitation and where the apparent miscommunication occurred and is awaiting a response.
The news that the meeting was planned to be held here had received a warm welcome from local activist group, the People for Referendum, which pointed to the importance of holding these meetings in the remaining colonies or non-self governing territories (NSGT).
The local group, which supports the idea that the Cayman Islands should move away from its current colonial status, said the matters discussed by this committee directly relate to the governance relationship between the territories and their respective administering power. The group said that holding seminars in the territories helps to educate the people about the governance options that the UN resolutions obligate all administering powers make available to the people in the territories.
The group said the decision not to hold the committee's seminar in the Cayman Islands after all will deprive Caymanians of a valuable educational opportunity on governance. “Whether we like it or not, in 1945 and again in 1960 it was the UK that put the Cayman Islands on the UN Non-Self-Governing Territories list; the UK was one of the six member states that drafted the establishment of the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation and they also drafted the governing rules between the Administering Powers and Non-Self-Governing Territories,” the PFR said.
“One of these rules requires annual reports on each territory; these annual regional seminars are part of that reporting process when each territory's government, civil society organizations and individuals have an opportunity to talk with the members of the UN.”
The group added that it was still important that Caymanians understand how their future is being discussed at these multinational meetings and that the public exercise their right of free speech.


Colonialism and Decolonization in Guam; Governor Initiates Community forums on Self-Determination

Guam is a Colony
Michael Lujan Bevacqua

"Guam is a colony. Anyone who says otherwise simply doesn't want to confront the truth."

(The impetus for this post came from the letter to the editor of the Marianas Variety below written by Ed Benavente, former Maga'lahi of the group Nasion Chamoru and also former director of the Decolonization Commission for the Government of Guam. The letter was written in response to several columns by UOG professor Ron McNinch who has a piece every Thursday in the paper). One of the mistakes that people often conveniently make when discussing the veracity of Guam's contemporary colonial status is making the assumption that in order to call something colonial, it must be the worst and most horrible thing in the world. Make no mistake, Guam is a colony and it is an unjust and immoral fact, but it is not the worst place in the world because of it. But interestingly enough so many people attempt to argue that Guam isn't a colony, just because it it's political status today isn't that bad. They argue that because it's better than before or because it's not as bad as forms of colonialism from time's past, you can't call it a colony.

Part of the problem with this is the simplicity through which people are arguing for something. Simplicity and plain-spokenness is one of the easiest ways to appear to be speaking the truth or speaking of something in both a profoundly important and real sense, while also making your argument appear to be obviously, commonsensically true. So many who argue Guam isn't a colony will say to look at other places which have decolonized and how horrible and disgusting they are, and you shouldn't call Guam a colony because it's better to be a pathetic footnote to the United States, then your own sad sovereign basket case of a story. Others will argue that because Guam has so many privileges and is such a great place that it can't be called a colony. While these sorts of things could be evidence for making an argument about what sort of colony Guam is, or what its experience of colonialism is, they have no effect on saying that Guam is not a colony.

For many years, editor and columnist for the Pacific Daily News Joe Murphy pioneered this way of speaking about Guam's political status. It was a way of not really addressing the issue, while asserting that you were summing up the entire issue in such a commonsensical and clearly obvious way because of how plainly you were speaking about it. Alot of times this happens through references to what "the people" or "most people" think or want. Whenever you use this sort of phrase, it is a way of trying to root what you are saying in something real or true. The folks, the populace, the real people, or the majority of the people, or the people that actually matter and not some troublesome minority feel this and therefore it must be true.

I find this rhetorical tactic interesting. You are shrouding your lack of analysis through the aura of people believing or feeling something. It is similar to the way in which people argue very wrongly that the buildup will be good for Guam because for a long time so many people seemed to support it. The idea that alot of people think something is good is still very far away from something actually being good. It could be an indicator that something is good or it could just be an indicator of what people think or feel and nothing more. It could be more an indication of how stupid and detached from reality people are just as much as how in tune with it they are.

Defining colonialism is not about whether or not people like their situation or whether or not it is the worst or the best situation, it is instead a simple matter of stating what level of self-determination or sovereignty self-government a community has. It is a category which indicates that a community, a polity exists in a fundamentally unequal relationship with another. Where one community holds a gross amount of power over another and there is an absence of any formal and uncoerced acceptance of that situation that is colonialism. It doesn't have to be brutal or nasty, it can be banal and naturalized, and in fact that it is precisely what every colonizer wants, to hold excessive power over a place from which their restrictions or limitations pale in comparison. To have a place where your control which does not make any rational or moral sense over the land or the people there is justified.

One of the main ways in which you can perceive Guam's colonial status today is through the Insular Cases and much Federal-Territorial case law which has developed over the years. The initial decisions of the Insular Cases which argued that the territories of the United States have no inherent rights other than that which the US Congress gives them continue to be the law of the land for the US as of today. The Insular Cases has an interesting way of expressing the most basic way of perceiving colonialism. The Insular Cases do not argue that the people of the territories should be treated well, and neither do they argue that the people in the territories should be treated like crap. What they fundamentally argue is that it is not up to the people of the territories what happens to them, but the Federal Government of the United States. It is the choice of the Federales what they want to do. If they want to treat the people of the territories like they are regular garden-variety Americans, they can do that. If they want to segregate them or treat them differently they can. One of the things which makes this muddier now is the fact that people who are from the territories with the exception of American Samoa are US citizens, and so there remains an unresolved issue of whether or not this absolute authority extends to both the land and the people or only the land.

What we do know is that in terms of fixing Guam's colonial status, meaning the island finally undergoing a process of decolonization, Presidents and Cabinets and Congresses for decades have been very clear in how they would "allow" this to happen. That although territories are not fully within the circle of American political belonging, this exceptionalism is not supposed to afford them any extra rights, not even in terms of their decolonizing. This is where we can see colonialism in the way it usually appears in Guam's case, as a stupid joke. Guam is allowed to decolonize so long as it always remains within the authority over the colonizer, it is not allowed to decolonize in anyway which extends beyond what the colonizer wants or is willing to allow. This is of course hypocritical, immoral, wrong and all of those things and in the case of Guam all of the nice things or great feelings of Americaness that people feel do nothing to affect this simple fact. Guam is a colony and it will remain so until this is changed, and making excuses that colonialism doesn't exist or is somehow the best thing for Guam doesn't do much except implicitly articulate that Guam is one of those unique places in the world which should not have any control over its future.

It is interesting how the arguments against a place such as Guam being decolonized are built upon a quiet and unspeakable assumption that huge swaths of the world would be better off colonized and that it was a mistake for them to be decolonized. When I say unspeakable it is something which so many people feel (in both the former colonized and colonizing world), but thankfully has come to the point where it cannot really be spoken of since the arc of the moral universe has been bent to the point where it can be universally accepted as being wrong. The world is still gray on whether or not colonialism was right, since even those who have suffered feel like their identities or their existence is impossible without the violent disruptions of colonialism, but all can agree that it should not exist anymore. A contemporary colony such as Guam, while being in the periphery of the current world order, nevertheless feels the full weight of the center of this imperialist nostalgia. I find it interesting that when the topic of decolonization is proposed or discussed in Guam, even amongst so-called learned and intelligent people, it is still nearly difficult for a learned or intelligent conversation to take place. The weight of that unspoken belief that the world was better when it was colonized and that when people were under the heavy or imperceptible thumb of another things were more prosperous and more stable it inundates life in Guam even if people don't know it or feel it. The spectre of third world chaos and of not having access to the dreams the colonizer has long dangled before the widening eyes of those it has colonized feel more strongly than ever.

When people refuse to talk about decolonization or demonize it, they feel this pressure and therefore make their arguments (or lack thereof) as if they are doing the public good. Decolonization is a dangerous proposition which can only lead to Guam no longer being a Third World colony of a First World country, but simply a Third World country. The subordination and the rank dependency is a necessarily evil in order to keep Guam from joining the league of disastrous economies and tragic societies that is the formerly colonized and eternally developing world. But as I said earlier, even if many people believe this, you cannot really say it out loud. It is a thinking based on racism, not reality. It doesn't matter what pathetic little tokens you can point to which colonization brought to this society or that. Colonies were hardly as rich, as secure or as nice as people remember them to be, on both ends of the spectrum. They were and are always in some way sites of racism, imperialism and exploitation.

In the case of Guam's colonization, if the United States came to Guam in 1898 and set forth a proposal to the Chamorro people that they were going to colonize their island, deprive them of any rights for 50 years, attempt to dismantle their language and culture and then later transform their island into what they hope to eternally be their tip of the spear in the Pacific, it is safe to say that very few Chamorros, if they were given the choice, would have taken the offer. This is why you can rarely, openly argue in favor of colonialism, even if so much of the rhetoric about it as a system is that it is ultimately good for the people who are oppressed by it. It is, on its surface so commonsensically wrong, and so that is why it becomes so difficult to even find a way to nicely articulate it, which doesn't sound like you are saying that non-white people should forever be shackled to white countries in order to civilize and take care of them. Guam suffers from the fact that you can make that argument proactive, presumptively, and can argue in favor of colonization, without mentioning it, but by only invoking the specter of savage and hopeless decolonization in order to prop it up.

Even if you love the United States and want Guam's relationship with it to be permanent you still cannot deny that Guam is a colony, and in the long run it does Guam no good to think otherwise. Those who deny the clearly obvious nature of Guam's colonial status are doing the dirty work of those who would want to argue that the world was better off when the majority of it was colonies run by colonizers. They may not make this argument clearly, but they draw from the same well of racial logic.


Politics and Status

Ron McNinch
(Marianas Variety)

Following WWII, America experienced a “baby boom” between 1946 and 1964. Guam was no different, we had a lot of children born following the occupation. This crop of new young people actually led to the establishment of the College of Guam in 1952. By 1950, planners realized that this post-war population was creating a need for trained teachers. So a teachers college was established. By 1968, this baby boom population group was turning 18 and this pushed policy makers to upgrade the College of Guam to the University level. This week we celebrated our Charter Day at UOG and this point can be overlooked. Biba UOG!

Our society is based on competition. We have two or more political parties. We have all sorts of ideas that compete. Even this very newspaper broke the ice in recent years for print media. The contrast is very nice. We love variety, no pun intended. We avoid mediocrity. It is in the nature of America to always be dissatisfied with something. Education is a constant point of dissatisfaction.

One of the great things about the military buildup is that like it or not, our leaders have finally realized that for many years we have been pretty much ignored by Washington DC. The bottom line is simple. To improve our relationship and communications with the federal government, we have to improve our political status. So this buildup has created a marketplace of competitive ideas just as the post war population pushed education policy.

If you have been reading my column for a while, people get upset with me all the time. It is a part of my nature I guess. For many years, Guam has claimed to have a “decolonization” effort. To be frank, I don’t really think Guam is a colony. We pretty much have a self-government with little negative interference by the federal government. While the Government of Guam is often effete and self-defeating, it is our government. And Guam’s leaders are our leaders. But they have chosen not to compete. Instead of being gladiators in the arena, we often elect a cowardly crowd to serve us.

The military buildup is just a temporary distraction to blame any problem on, now and in the future.

But if we wanted to, we could change our political relationship with the United States. We could adopt an off the shelf Organic Act based constitution. We could upgrade our relationship to a higher more effective level. Of course, to do these things we have to try. And perhaps fail a few times. If we stumble in this process, we need to get back up. And try again.

Independence and free association are not very good options for Guam. Nearly every new nation since WWII, with the exception of Singapore has ended up in the Third World. We could likely make a good argument for a Federal District. Perhaps the Federal District of Guam. Part of the district status would be a voice in the US Senate.

On Guam as a Colony
Letter to the Editor
Eddie L.G. Benavente
Mangilao, Guam 
(Marianas Variety)

I found Dr. Ron McNinch’s recent column, “Politics and Status” quite interesting. (Marianas Variety Guam March 10, 2011.) I just find it amusing that he would use one issue, although significant, to be the wake- up call for our leaders to realize we’ve been ignored for a long time. The political reality is that Washington historically has always ignored grievances expressed by our political leaders, since the early 1900s.

Dr. McNinch argues that Guam is not really a colony. Like his predecessors of the same affinity, he paints a rosy picture that Guam is pretty much self-governing. I initially thought perhaps the professor didn’t understand the concepts of colonization, non-self-governing territories, full self-government, de-colonization and self-determination in the context of international definition and application. However, his credentials at the University speak for themselves.

His “bottom line simple approach” in resolving our problems with the federal government gives the impression that achieving a new political status is pretty much petty and for the moment. I thought the professor had a profound approach for the administering power to finally comply with treaties so our people can finally have the opportunity to exercise their right to self-determination.

But this was not the case.

Instead, like others before him, he tends to ridicule and put the blame on our self-defeating government and cowardly local leaders.

Moreover, McNinch suggests perhaps we should move toward an organic-act constitution, (the old “cart before the horse” which literally means “let’s forget about political status and settle for a constitution”). He then concludes by asserting that independence and free association are not very good status options.

Wow! That leaves statehood as the only option, as opposed to the three choices in the Treaty. He defends this assertion by saying that with the exception of Singapore all other nations have become “Third World.”

I couldn’t believe these suggestions were coming from a learned individual who teaches in Guam’s highest institution of learning. What does this all mean? Does it mean that independence is only good for some nations and not for others? Are nations who choose independence not entitled to evolve? How and who measures what constitutes “Third World?”

Would Belau or the Republic of the Philippines, for example, fall under his definition of Third World? Or are the people who hold this mindset just making these absurd assertions to maintain the status- quo?

Could it be that the political science professor is not aware of the Treaty signed and ratified by the United States back in December, 1946?

Is McNinch aware that the Treaty of 46’ requires the United States Mission to the United Nations to submit reports annually to the Secretary General and other entities within the United Nations regarding Chamoru political, social and economic development?

If we were truly self-governing why would the administering power continue to report to the UN on Guam’s political development? He said it himself, that when he writes, it is in his nature to agitate some people. I welcome any intellectual discourse on the subject of self-determination, but reject any notion that “all is good” in a colony.

A detractor to the process of de-colonization and someone who advocates perpetual hegemony of a people is no different than a slave master who opposes the emancipation of blacks.

I truly feel that these political experts should stop coming up with unrealistic solutions. There is a system already in place that was conceived by the United States and 50 other nations back in 1946. Over a hundred nations within the United Nations have gone through this process. There are only 16 Territories remaining that have yet to de-colonized, Guam being one of them.


Community Forum to Focus on Self Determination

Press Release
Forum the first in a series of gatherings to address federal-territorial issues

Governor Eddie Bazo Calvo and Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio invite the public to a community forum addressing federal-territorial issues Friday (11th April). 

The forum is the first in a series of forums meant to gather public input on the Guam government’s dealings with the federal government. These include all matters ranging from the military buildup to longstanding federal-territorial issues, such as war reparations and compact impact reimbursements.

These forums will run for two hours, and will focus one topic at a time. All senators, mayors, other elected officials, Chamorro rights groups, business organizations, U.S. servicemen and women, veterans, and other associations are encouraged to attend. Everyone is welcome to express their views and listen to others.
“We want to hear what you have to say,” Governor Eddie Baza Calvo said. “Leadership is listening to the people, then making decisions. I know there are diverse views. We need to come together, listen to all views and strive to come to a consensus on federal-territorial issues. This way, we can truly have a Team Guam approach when I’m dealing with the federal government.”

The Governor, who will chair these forums, believes the single-most important issue to federal-territorial relations is the inalienable right of the Chamorro people to exercise self-determination. It is for this reason that self-determination will be the focused issue in this Friday’s community forum.

Commission on Decolonization Executive Director Ed Alvarez will present the commission’s issues and the administration’s plans to move forward with a vote on self-determination. The floor will be open to hear the people’s ideas, questions and suggestions after that.

The forum is scheduled for Friday, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the Cabinet Conference Room, Bordallo Governor’s Complex.