Independent Guåhan General Assembly June 27
June 18, 2019 - Independent Guåhan (IG) invites the public to attend their upcoming General Assembly (GA) to take place on Thursday, June 27th, from 6:00-7:30 pm at the Main Pavilion of the Chamorro Village in Hagåtña. This GA will focus on the risks involved should Guam decide to pass a constitution as a territory of the US. As part of this educational focus, the group will honor as maga’taotao the late Lt. Governor of Guam Frank F. Blas.
Following the passage of a federal law that enabled Guam to draft a local constitution, the second Guam Constitutional Convention (ConCon) was held in 1977. A constitution was drafted and approved by the US federal government; however, it was rejected at a 4-1 margin by the voters of Guam. There are many reasons why the draft constitution was rejected, but many of them stemmed from the fact that it would not help resolve many of the problematic issues about Guam’s political status. Unlike the constitution of a state or an independent country, a territorial constitution cannot be used to assert local sovereignty, cannot be used to give rights beyond what the federal government allows and cannot be used to affect or limit how federal mandates impact the island.
The educational discussion for the June GA will focus on some of the problems inherent in seeking to draft a constitution while still a territory. To help make this point, IG will use the US Virgin Islands as a country model, albeit in this case, something that Guam may not want to emulate. For the past 40-year Guam has attempted to determine a political status prior to passing a constitution, but the US Virgin Islands has taken a different path. Rather than address the issue of decolonization, the US Virgin Islands have drafted a local constitution five times. Their most recent attempt in 2010 stalled due to the federal government insisting that changes be made to the constitution that did not conform to the US constitution or violated federal law.
With this history in mind, IG will honor for its monthly maga’taotao the late Frank F. Blas. The local legislation that created the Second Guam ConCon was introduced by the Senator and later Lt. Governor Frank F. Blas. Lt. Governor Blas was a war survivor and longtime political and civic leader in Guam’s recent history. Speaking on the need for the US to provide war reparations to the Chamoru people, he said prior to his death, “Where is the justice for our sufferings? What would it take for us her on Guam to be recognized?” More on his accomplishments will be presented during the GA by his son Frank Blas Jr. who has followed his father into a life of public service.
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