Senators, Bordallo march to Fena in solidarity - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Senators, Bordallo march to Fena in solidarity

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Friday was a historic day for members of the 31st Guam Legislature and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, as they marched in solidarity to the gate of Fena Lake in hopes to send a strong, unified message to the federal government. "This can't happen at any other time," noted Speaker Judi Won Pat. "This is the most significant time in Guam's history, where we need to send a message to Washington." 

Lawmakers walked hand-in-hand in a show of solidarity to the gates of Fena this afternoon, repeating history. In March 1949, members of the Guam Congress staged a walkout against the abuses of the military at that time. 62 years later, the peaceful march signified something similar.

Senator Ben Pangelinan said, "This continues to be a military occupation and this is the land and this is the last example of continued military occupation and military rule on Guam and it has no place in modern Guam and it has no place in our relationship with the United States. Self-determination will set this right!"

Just two days after unanimously passing Resolution 48, making it clear that Guam shouldn't pay a single dime for Fena or allow a member of the Department of Defense to sit on the Consolidated Commission on Utilities, lawmakers decided to put their words into action, joined by Congresswoman Bordallo. "It's not something we should have to pay for, it's always belonged to the people," proclaimed Senator Judi Guthertz. "It should have been returned on August 1, 1950, when the Organic Act took effect."

Senator Tina Rose Muna Barnes chimed-in with, "We're only asking what's fair and what belongs to us - give our people what rightfully belongs to us. Listen to us."

Senators walked to the main gate to Fena, holding hands, where they were closely watched by several Naval Security officers and some military personnel who were waiting in their cars to access the base. Lawmakers were clearly disappointed that Governor Eddie Calvo did not show up, but they were not discouraged.

"He initiated the challenge," said Senator Tom Ada, "so, of course, I'm disappointed that he didn't take up on the challenge that he initiated, but I think that the show of solidarity is very important for the quest we're making; in so far as maintaining our independence and turning over the water assets in the same manner that was done in 1992 with power assets.

Freshman Chris Duenas added, "We are united 100% on this issue; it doesn't happen a lot of times on our island. We respectfully disagree, like I said that's just the kind of people we are, but to get 100% support of everybody and I wish the Governor was here and O hope that he will at least come out with a statement and show that he was here in spirit."

While they delivered passionate speeches on session floor earlier this week - many expressing anger toward the federal government for the many injustices to the people of Guam - the mood today was much different as senators made history. Senator Mana Silva Taijeron said, "It feels incredibly inspiring that your local leaders have come together to fight another injustice for the people of Guam. It is our vow and our promise to the people of Guam that any further injustice will be fought together."

Senator Frank Blas, Jr. added, "This is a show of solidarity. This is not a republican or democrat thing - this is a show of the people of Guam not only members of the Legislature, but the congresswoman, too. We need to send a message."

And Bordallo promised to take that message back with her to Washington, DC when she leaves the island Saturday. She made good on her commitment to walk with senators to Fena as well, as she mentioned during her congressional address Thursday, telling KUAM News, "I'm here to support everyone and when I get back, we'll see if we can get some corrections on this and the water should be returned to the people of Guam. It's our water."

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