Ed Alvarez speaking at UN conference - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Ed Alvarez speaking at UN conference

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - This week the United Nation's special committee on decolonization is meeting. Committee on Decolonization Director Ed Alvarez is attending and speaking on behalf of the island's chief executive. KUAM News spoke with him prior to his departure to get an update on Guam's efforts for self-determination. 

Alvarez is hoping the UN will take a serious look at the frustration that Guam and other non-self governing territories share. For more than two decades, the territories have been pushing for self-governance.  During a recent trip to the St. Vincent Islands in the Caribbean, Alvarez made a pitch for what he believes will result in actual change. "We're in our third decade of this movement and to me the one thing I took away from it, which was my idea, was we all need to form a coalition and we all need to devise a marketing plan that would give us the attention nationally where we reside at and globally," he explained.

On Wednesday (Guam time), Alvarez will speak before the United Nations on behalf of Governor Eddie Calvo in New York to discuss the island's ongoing effort to hold a plebiscite on Guam's political status. Alvarez and the Calvo Administration had been hopeful a plebiscite would be a reality in 2012, but he admits that Guam's vote for statehood, free association and independence likely won't happen then.

"This is a very important and historical event and we have been colonized for so many years and it's going to take a little bit longer. We all know it's going to take a little longer. I would prefer it happen in 2013 at the earliest that way it's not inclusive with any election, gubernatorial or senatorial," he said.

But Alvarez has been a one man band with no office and no staff. The Administration, in its biennial budget, has sought $250,000 for the Commission that's been defunct for several years. The executive director is hopeful lawmakers will fund staff and resources for the new fiscal year so the education campaign component can begin as he says each of the task forces have done their part in preparing the materials.

Alvarez stresses that Chamorro self-determination is something that was given by the United States and the United Nations. "So all the people who have come here from other countries as well they've been sovereign already; they're political status is determined," he noted. But we here on Guam have not exercised that. The people of this territory the Chamorro people they haven't. The Organic Act that governs them now was not born out of their mouths they didn't have a chance to express how they feel."

Alvarez stresses that after the choice is made by the Chamorro people then everyone on the island will be able to participate in the ratification and passage of the constitution.

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