WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs’ award of $300,000 in technical assistance to the Commission on Decolonization for political status education.
The grant will enable the Commission to begin outreach efforts to educate the public about legal status options for a future political status plebiscite. This award is part of the nearly $1.5 million in technical assistance funding that was recently awarded by the Office of Insular Affairs.
As Bordallo indicated in her Congressional address last week, she has been working closely with Assistant Secretary Kia’aina regarding the Commission’s grant application. Congresswoman Bordallo underscored to Assistant Secretary Kia’aina the importance of this grant to moving forward with Guam’s efforts on self-determination. The grant follows a conference hosted by OIA last month to discuss the political statuses of Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.
“I am pleased that the Office of Insular Affairs has approved Guam’s application for $300,000 for an education campaign on political status. This grant will be critical to informing the public about the self-determination process, the legal status options that will be available to them, and the ramifications a change in political status may have on their daily lives. This grant is consistent with the intent of Congress and the provision that I passed in 2010 to clarify that OIA can use technical assistance for political status education in the territories. I greatly appreciate that Assistant Secretary Kia’aina fulfilled a commitment that she made to me to provide federal resources for political status education in Guam.
“I believe these funds will provide an initial investment in the self-determination effort. I thank Assistant Secretary Kia’aina for her leadership within the Obama Administration to support our self-determination efforts. I also commend the Commission on Decolonization for their diligent work in putting together this grant application and continuing their work to advance this issue. As I said in my Congressional address last week, self-determination is the ultimate legacy that we can leave for our children, and it is an issue that we have waited far too long to resolve. I will continue to work with our local leaders and federal partners to build off the progress we have made and finally give our people an opportunity to exercise their right to self-determination.”