by Nick Delgado
Guam - The public hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement concluded Tuesday evening at Okkodo High School in Dededo. And this time the hearing drew a variety of opinions with residents wanting to first weigh-in on their options before making any final decisions to accept the military buildup.
Hundreds made it to the final hearing on the DEIS held by the Joint Guam Program Office. Residents filed into the school's cafeteria in the hopes to be sold on the idea to have U.S. Marines relocated to Guam, but some continue to keep their guard up.
Others have heard by word of mouth from their peers that more youth in the community have been and should continue to get involved in the DEIS process. That was the reason Yigo resident James Wolford made it to the last hearing. Wolford says after now attending the hearing, he plans to become more proactive when it comes to decision making on the buildup.
He said, "My decisions not clear right now because I have a lot of family members in the United States military; but then again, for the benefit for my people and the island. We're moving so far away from our culture and traditions."
Wolford fears that more island residents are leaving the island as the military buildup approaches, but he is confident that as long as the future generations continue the traditions, that there is hope for the people of Guam.
Ricardo Cruz added, "Aside from the cultural stuff, we are Americans and that's the reason why my tendency is accepting this, and let's move, because it's just an out for Guam with the rot and the economy that we've been going through these past few years." Cruz, a Dededo resident and retired Marine Ricardo Cruz meanwhile believes the buildup will provide positive growth and opportunity for the island. He is optimistic that the island's shortfalls will change overnight once the Marines settle in.
JGPO officials will now head to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to allow our neighbors in Tinian and Saipan a chance to comment on the DEIS.