Won Pat keys-in on self-determination - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Won Pat keys-in on self-determination

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Speaker's Weekly Radio Address
by Judi Won Pat

My Dear People of Guam:

For more than three hundred years, the island of Guam has been subjected to colonial rule and denied full self-governance four different times by three different colonizers. Guam's current status as an unincorporated territory of the United States for the past 113 years makes it one of the oldest colonial dependencies in the world.  This despite the United Nations Declaration on the Granting of independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples as adopted in 1960 affirming the truism that all peoples of the world possess the right to self-determination.  

As each day goes by and we become a more enlightened community through research and public discourse, it becomes clearer that the political relationship between the United States and Guam as a non-self-governing territory is unacceptable. Here are two reasons that support my claim:

  • First, the powers of the Organic Act of 1950, as approved by Congress, are merely delegated powers that can be changed or taken away at the will of Congress. This is unacceptable.
  • Second, if that was not insulting enough, our duly elected delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives—Guam's sole advocate in Congress—was stripped of any remaining voting privileges. This too is unacceptable.

Just these two examples lend credence to the adage ‘what Congress gives Congress can take away.'  Now, I ask you, is this any way to demonstrate full faith and respect in an equal people? Is this what being a "good neighbor" is all about? It takes courage and fortitude to address these issues in the face of the world's remaining unrivaled superpower.  I commend the administration for calling to action the machinations of the government of Guam to bring forth what is perhaps the greatest Social Question of our time for a vote: the vote on self- determination.As our community mobilizes to answer the question of self-determination, let us find strength in knowing that this universal right, this ‘natural right of man,' is a published doctrine of the United Nations upheld by international law.

We may cite treatises or recite passage after passage from memory but if we fail to act, it means nothing. The administration has stated that a plebiscite will be held in the near future and I rise in support of this effort.  By acting on the vote it will set into motion the necessary sequence of events that may finally relinquish us of our status as a non-self-governing territory.

By holding the plebiscite we send a signal to all peoples of the world that we are ready to determine our affiliation with the United States and our membership within the international community as a free and equal people.

My dear People of Guam, by addressing our political status we will also be addressing many other questions ranging from our economy to our political relations with our brothers and sisters in the Northern Marianas or with our neighbors throughout the rest of Micronesia and Asia.  You see…, the implications of resolving our political status have a bearing on our economic, social, and political well-being.  And these implications, by all indicators, are positive and promising.  If I may help clarify a notion associated with self-determination, let it be this: the question of self-determination is not an "us versus them" scenario.  As a matter of fact it is not a question that creates an adversarial situation at all.  Rather, when fully considered, you will find that it is more a question of "how will we associate with them" in the course of our lifetime.

Taking action on our fundamental universal right to choose is perhaps equally-if not more-important as what we choose. The world is watching and the Chamorro people have waited long enough.

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