Sunday, July 24, 2011

Decolonization Registry

The Office of Senator Ben Pangelinan has for a few years now took on the task of trying to get people registered for the Chamorro registry. According to Guam Public Law a decolonization plebiscite cannot take place until 70% of those who are eligible to vote (those who are legally "Chamorro") have signed up for the registry. On Senator Pangelinan's website you can see what the count was as of last year April, less than 1,000, which is far short of the tens of thousands who need to be registered. In the rise since the start of the year of public discourse on self-determination, this issue of 70% has been regularly challenged as an insurmountable barrier to the process. The original intent of the law is clear. In times past referendum's on political status have low turnout and so the requirement is designed to ensure that if a plebiscite takes place, enough people vote so that the next step in Guam's political evolution is not decided by a tiny group.

 Senator Ben's office has taken on this task, and make regular appearances at public events such as Liberation Day to help people get registered. I'm glad to see him doing this, since for years the Decolonization Office itself didn't do much about this, and although there has been plenty of talk of self-determination there has been no real coordinated effort to get people registered or even educated. I had high hopes from the Calvo Administration on this front, and although their rhetoric is interesting sometimes and stuff I would agree with, I have seen very little substance yet.

If you are interested in getting registered then you don't have to wait for the next Liberation Day in order to sign up, you can go down to Senator Ben's office anytime and his staff can help you sign all the necessary paperwork. Here's the link to his website: Office of the People.

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