Monday, January 23, 2012

A Year of Decolonizing Cheaply

Last year I was confirmed as the new Chairperson for the Independence Task Force for the Commission on Decolonization for Guam. The Decolonization Commission is tasked with guiding the process by which Chamorros will exercise their right to self-determination and select the next future status for the island. As part of the Commission there are three task forces, one for each of the three potential options: independence, statehood and free association.

There is pretty much taya' support nowadays for these task forces, but I'm trying to do my best to get things started without any budget. A temporary website will be up soon that myself and my girlfriend are working on. A meeting will hopefully be taking place before the end of the month of Task Force members to start work on creating a position paper on why independence is the best option for Guam. I'm also creating a listserv for events and news related to decolonization and independence.

I have also decided to start a irregular column or "Menashi ginnen i Gehilo'" where I will outline recent news or events from the decolonization commission. My first column titled "A Year of Decolonizing Cheaply" is pasted below. Hopefully in the next few days I'll have the link for the temporary website ready and so I'll be posting it there as well.


“A Year of Decolonizing Cheaply”

Message of the Chairperson for Independence Task Force for Guam

The last few meetings of the decolonization commission have been sobering ones, especially in terms of what sort of financial support the educational process will be receiving.

Although the Calvo-Tenorio administration started strong in terms of their rhetorical support for self-determination and decolonization, the results have been mixed thus far. We should applaud the Governor for getting this process started again, when his predecessor let it languish for so long. The decolonization commission board met twice in late 2011 and once so far in 2012 and these are good signs. The issue of when a self-determination plebiscite will take place is currently being addressed, but nothing official has been decided.

2012 looks however to be a very difficult year in terms of starting the educational process for conducting a self-determination vote. Funding battles between the Legislature and the Governor left the office unfunded for this past year and into the Fall of this current year. This means that the Task Forces for Independence, Statehood and Free Association, who are given the responsibility for advocating their particular statuses, will not receive any budgeted support until a new budget is created for 2013. During the last meeting of the Decolonization commission, 2012 was discussed as a year full of “happy labor,” or volunteer work amongst the task forces, on projects that require little to no resources to carry out.

Although there looks to be little financial support from the Government of Guam this year for education, the Independence Task Force will not be sitting around and just waiting. A temporary website with basic contact information and details about the self-determination process will be uploaded soon. As the Chairperson for the Independence Task Force I am working to confirm the members of the Task Force and one of our first major projects will be the updating of the official position paper that features detailed justification for why Independence would be an ideal status for Guam.

To those reading this, whether you be a supporter of Independence or just a supporter of the process of decolonization, I am interested in hearing your suggestions and thoughts on the following:

*What low cost ideas do you have on how the Independence Task Force can advocate its platform in 2012?

You can share your ideas with me by emailing me at If you know of anyone else who would like to be added to the Independence for Guam email list and receive messages or info like this, you can forward me their email and I’ll be sure to add them. Si Yu’us Ma’ase.

Sahuma Minagahet ya Na’suha Dinagi

Michael Lujan Bevacqua

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