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CMCC to meet about appointments

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - The Civil-Military Coordination Council will have its first official meeting next Monday, but today during a meeting of the Governor's Civilian Military Task Force's Subcommittee on Natural Resources, questions were raised as to whether Guam's voices will really be heard - because more representation is needed.  

Officially designated by Governor Felix Camacho to sit on the Civil-Military Coordination Council are his chief of staff George Bamba, Department of Labor director Maria Connelly, Consolidated Commission on Utilities general manager John Benavente and Tony Lamorena from the Bureau of Statistics & Plans.

Lamorena today says he will know more about the function of the council come Monday, noting, "The governor sent me an appointment letter. I think he felt that I represented the Natural Resources Subcommittee, being the chairperson of that committee and it also represents a large number of regulatory agencies. I will bring that to the table at the CMCC."

According to the Record of Decision, the CMCC, which is comprised of Government of Guam, federal agency, and military representatives will work together to come up with a plan that will adjust the pace of construction.  "I believe the Record of Decision said within 90 days after the ROD has been approved, so we need to move quickly on developing that," Lamorena said.

But during today's meeting of the Civilian-Military Task Force's Subcommittee on Natural Resources, Former senator Joanne Brown from the University of Guam's Soil and Water Conservation Program felt more representation was needed on the CMCC to ensure Guam's voices are heard.  She even went so far as citing the military's record thus far in listening to the island's concerns, saying, "I don't want to see us out on the side where we're having our cute little meetings and yet where decisions are made, the input is not being relayed."

Added Brown, "Here we are three years later and we're not able to able to accommodate and absorb the major thing we got together to address and that to me is a major issue that our leadership here should bring to the attention of the powers at be. Because I don't know what has changed. We have talked a whole lot. But if we don't have the mechanisms for the key agencies to absorb this, then we haven't accomplished our mission."

Like Brown, Governor Felix Camacho agrees more representation is needed.  In a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and the Environment Jackalyne Pfannensteil.  The island's chief executive recommended the CMCC include additional Government of Guam representatives from the Department of Parks and Recreation along with the Historic Preservation Office, the Department of Agriculture, the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Public Works and the Port Authority of Guam. He also recommended establishing existing Guam buildup subcommittees as working groups.

Lamorena says it's necessary that the government has an equal say, adding, "What we would've liked to see is for every federal representative, that we have a local counterpart to that federal agency. So these issues I will also bring up on Monday."

In the meantime, the Council will meet next Monday at the Top 'O the Mar on Nimitz Hill.

Paul Shintaku From the Guam Buildup Office was appointed as an alternate for the CMCC.  Meanwhile, Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz expressed his disappointment that no members of the Guam Legislature were invited to sit on the Council.

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