by Nick Delgado
Guam – Governor Eddie Calvo is sending a global message on three major issues facing Guam today. The island's chief executive is currently in Washington DC where he spoke with Bloomberg reporters about the military buildup, the China/Russia visa waiver program, and compact impact. Calvo states, "The more we share Guam's story, and the more we push for solutions to improve government, fight poverty, and build the future, the closer we get to reaching our greatest heights."
Calvo first responded to questions about the proposed changes to decrease the number of Marines permanently stationed in Guam. He states, "No matter how many Marines come to Guam, our infrastructure will reach a breaking point. They will still flush the toilet, they will still turn on the faucet, and they will still drive on our roads. Ultimately though, fewer Marines means a more manageable increase in population and a more manageable increased use of resources." Calvo further expressed his support for Marines to be stationed on Guam, rather than rotated through the territory. He is concerned rotating units will not be counted when the federal government appropriates Section 30 money to Guam. "Think about what's in the best interest of that Marine: is it to be away from his or her family for a year or longer? Or is it to live and work on Guam with their loved ones, where they can experience this paradise first-hand and build bonds in the community like our liberators did in World War II?"
Calvo is also expected to get an update in the nation's capital on Guam's efforts to obtain a China visa waiver."I'm happy to report that since the parole authority for Russian tourists was implemented, our island has seen a 300 percent increase in travel from Russia. Not only is Guam a viable destination for Russia and China, but this proposal is in line with President Obama's plan to increase tourism from places like China and Brazil."
Governor Calvo also addressed the inadequate reimbursements from the federal government for Compact-Impact. "The reimbursement has been woefully inadequate from the start, so we are going to begin seeking offsets that address the money Guam has paid without reimbursement. I don't blame anyone wanting to come to America to seek a better life, but what's happening on Guam would never be allowed in the states. Can you imagine what would happen if 60 percent of a state's MIP money was being used on non-U.S. citizens? That is exactly what Guam is doing every year. We need to provide healthcare to these people, it would be un-American not to—all we're asking is for the federal government to keep the promise it made when it signed these treaties."