The Commission on Decolonization’s future goals

The future of the Commission on Decolonization’s efforts is clear. The Commission held its first meeting in September 2011, the first one in over six years. The Commission then began networking with the Guam Election Commission to develop a strategy to build the Decolonization Registry. The Commission on Decolonization determined that the plebiscite vote is set for 2018.

As of August 2013, the Commission is still seeking funding to start its public information campaign to educate voters about the process of conducting a plebiscite for self-determination and the different options that are being considered. According to commission director Alvarez, the cost will be about $1 million for the education program. Urging the Legislature to consider adopting a measure allowing the Commission to accept donations, Alvarez suggested that media outlets be granted a tax credit to donate air time or print space for the Commission’s education campaign and advertisements. Commission member Eddie Duenas, however, has pointed out that the governor’s office should provide funding for the program, since the Commission is administered under the Office of the Governor. The task force position papers for Independence, Statehood and Independence are still in progress, but will address issues of self-determination, immigration, trade, commerce, national defense and foreign affairs.

The Commission on Decolonization continues to communicate with the United Nations Special Committee and has requested that experts be sent to Guam to reignite the discussion on self-determination, as well as to engage with different UN divisions involved with political and indigenous rights. In addition, the Commission wants to network with representatives from the other US territories like American Samoa and Puerto Rico, as well as international groups from Okinawa and Taiwan to raise awareness and encourage advocacy for Guam’s self-determination.

By Dominica Tolentino