• Kyodo

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A Guam legislator has filed a bill calling for a referendum to ascertain whether the people of Guam approve the relocation of some 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to the U.S. territory.

Vice Speaker Benjamin J. F. Cruz introduced a measure this week that will give the people of Guam a voice on the U.S. military’s plan to build up its forces on the island.

Cruz also said the referendum will determine whether to allow the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission to lease Ancestral and Spanish Crown lands and the Chamorro Land Trust Commission to lease Land Trust land to the U.S. armed forces.

“The legislature finds the people of Guam demand greater participation in matters that affect them,” says Bill 66, which calls for a vote on military expansion.

The bill also calls for a special election to be conducted by the Guam Election Commission within 90 days from enactment of the measure.

Under the bill, the people of Guam will be asked only two “Yes-No” questions: “Do you support the military buildup on Guam?” and “Shall authority be given to GALC and CLTC to lease lands to the military?”

“My sense is there are many who support the military buildup but do not support the leasing of additional public lands belonging to our people,’ Cruz said.

Sen. Judith Paulette Guthertz has also voiced concern over the plan to relocate some 8,000 U.S. Marines and their dependents from Japan by 2014 as part of the U.S. forces reorganization.

“Our primary responsibility will be to make sure that Guam truly benefits from the buildup, and the people receive the benefits and assistance that they deserve,” she said. “We must not be forced into a situation that will end up hurting our people.”

Guam Gov. Felix Camacho meanwhile said, “The buildup, I’ve always believed, will benefit Guam greatly.”

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