Decolonization experts educate community
Guam - Although many leaders are weighing-in on Guam's political status, it may not necessarily resonate within the community as a serious topic. Although the issue of political status may rank far behind the minds of many when faced against other pressing issues, experts say it's actually the center behind our livelihood.
In July the University of Guam's constitutional law class personally surveyed 400 Chamorro voters. Political status ranked fourth behind the economy, healthcare and education. International advisor on governance and former minister for external affairs for the U.S. Virgin Islands Dr. Carlyle Corbin says the idea that everyday life is impacted by the political status is really the issue, saying. "But in actuality it impacts everything that happens; it impacts the prices of commodities, it impacts issues of water sanitation, all of the issues that you can imagine, certainly in the area of employment, careers and education, all of that is impacted to a great extent on the level of a political development of a society."
This evening at UOG's Political Decolonization Public Forum, Dr. Corbin will delve into the United Nation's role within the process while the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice's attorney, Julian Aguon, will provide a legal perspective regarding international law of the human right of self-determination. Aguon stresses that self-determination isn't a race-based issue, saying, "Although this has been tackled before, I want to decisively settle the fact that it's not principally a race-based issue, it's a history, a time-based designation that has a whole range of implications and I want to explain that to people."
The UOG survey showed that more than half of those surveyed believe the vote should be open and not just for Chamorros to participate in the plebiscite. Dr. Corbin hopes to relay the progress the UN has made through the years and set forth the lengthy mandate for evolution of territories moving toward full measures of self-government such as Guam. Although Guam remains one of 16 territories tackling the issue, he says the military presence makes it unique.
"So what we seek to do is to promote a more even mutual kind of relationship and that is where all of the territories have various deficits in that respect," he said.
Aguon hopes speaking on the issue of international law as it relates to Guam's political status will help open the window of different points of views not strictly just that of the United States. "It says there are more than 190 countries on earth for example, so the United States being one country should not have the sole say on the way the conversation gets framed, the way self-determination gets framed or the way the United States actually selectively interprets international law," he said.
You can still catch the public forum tonight at the UOG College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences' Lecture Hall.