By Johnnie Rosario
(Tumon, Guam) Sen. Kelly Marsh Taitano said she is continuing a long tradition of needed political support for Chamorro decolonization. In response to Ken Leon Guerrero's ethics complaint against her for breaking the island's travel laws, Ms. Taitano says no law was broken, and that the quest for Chamorro self determination is a fundamental part of the duties of Guam's elected officials.
Ms. Taitano is the chairwoman of the legislative committee with oversight of the decolonization process.
She and Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee were named in complaint by Mr. Leon Guerrero for travel to New York last year to the United Nations regarding the decolonization effort that he says is prohibited by the government's travel laws.
Here is Ms. Taitano's full statement:
“My travel to the United Nations last year to testify before the Fourth Committee continued a long and important tradition of elected leaders traveling to New York to remind the United States and the rest of the world, of the need to support the decolonization of Guam.
"Elected leaders and community members have been traveling to testify at the United Nations since 1982, always with the intent of ensuring that the Fourth Committee has the most up to date and accurate information about the state of affairs in Guam. Although Guam is not a member of the United Nations, the Fourth Committee holds oversight over Guam’s status as one of the 17 remaining non-self-governing territories in the world.
"While at the United Nations last year, I also met with representatives from the Federated States of Micronesia and other Pacific countries. As a territory, we are not allowed to participate in many diplomatic meetings, conferences and negotiations like our brothers and sisters across the Pacific. It is imperative that we enlist their aide to ensure that Guam’s voice can be heard and its interests can be considered when important issues in the Pacific are being discussed.
"As the committee chair with oversight over self-determination and regional affairs, a trip of this type is wholly consistent with the work that my office is mandated to oversee.
"It is important for elected leaders to be accountable, and I am confident that the work of connecting with Pacific Island leaders, as well as national and international representatives and, using the United Nations as a forum to elevate our profile and understanding of our issues is appropriate. The value of which should not be underestimated.
"Within the US and around the world, far too few know who we are. We must seize every opportunity to tell Guam’s story and make sure our voices are heard.”