Speaker's Radio Address
May 25, 2011
My Dear People of Guam. Buenas yan Hafa Adai.
There isn't a person I know, to include myself, who is against a bright and prosperous future for Guam.
But before we rush on to any bandwagon that promises a brighter future for you and our island, be certain to examine the facts. It is important that we all know what it is we are dealing with.
The military build-up will bring with it a spike in consumer spending and an increase in jobs associated with the build-up.
But are the social costs greater than the amount of dollars infused into the economy? To best answer the question, the unit of analysis has to be you, the individual and then, of course, our community.
When contemplating the build-up, ask yourself:
- How will it benefit me?
- Does it mean better wages? - Does it mean better facilities for me and my family? - Will my child go to a better school as a result of the build-up? - Will I and my family receive better health care?
And then ask yourself, outside of the home, how will Guam benefit?
If we have a hard time answering these questions for ourselves, what will you do when you find that for every dollar gained, we are collectively spending 2 or 3 more dollars for the impact costs on our power, housing, water and wastewater infrastructures, educating our kids, policing our streets and villages, and medically treating our people?
The Department of Defense itself has said that the costs of goods and services will rise faster than our incomes. Can you afford to live on Guam as a result of this buildup?
We know that influential US senators are looking to downsize bases all over the world and cut costs anywhere they can—not just the costs of this realignment.The fact remains, my dear People, that for hundreds of years, our island has been at the forefront of a Pacific defense strategy.
We are the tip of the spear. If there was another location with similar topography, climate, and strategic location, the issue of the build-up would not have been or continue to be "on the table." We have been and we will always be an essential part of national security.
Your elected officials, including former governors and legislators, have and will continue to fight for what is fair. This is because we acknowledge that the People of Guam deserve unequivocal and unapologetic advocacy.
We shall not yield in our fight for "Guam's fair share."
If the federal government anticipates an increase in the number of students into Guam's public schools as a direct result of the build-up, we only ask that they also assist our local government in making sure that there are enough classrooms, teachers, and materials for all of Guam's youth.
If they anticipate 20,000 more people to be cared for by our existing healthcare providers, we only ask that they help us provide enough facilities, healthcare professionals and medicines.
If they anticipate that we won't have enough housing and that the rents and costs of homes will be too high for our people to afford, we only ask that they help us to provide adequate affordable housing.
These are examples of what we must demand as Guam's fair share.
If there wasn't a build-up, we wouldn't be asking for these things. But this isn't the case. We will have more neighbors. We will have more children to teach, injured people to treat, and elders to care for. If this influx is directly attributed to a U.S. military build-up, we ask that they pay their fair share.
Everyone wants economic prosperity. Everyone wants to do their duty.
But not at any price.