Micronesian Leaders Huddle On Guam

by Mar-Vic Cagurangan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety, April 21) - Chief executives from Western Micronesia will get together today for the opening of a three-day regional summit, where each island state will be updated about the status of plans for regional healthcare, public safety and education, and economic development.

Guam Gov. Felix P. Camacho, Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. and Yap Governor Robert Ruecho will keynote the Western Micronesia Chief Executives Summit, which starts at 9 a.m. at the Guam Marriot Hotel in Tumon.

"I am excited at the opportunity to host my fellow island leaders as we strengthen the ties of our communities and allow the continued social and economic growth of our islands," Camacho said in his weekly radio address.

"Together we will address common issues, such as recycling and the environment, workforce development, transportation and regional tourism," Camacho said.

Camacho said the regional efforts "have been fruitful as a result of policy established by our Chief Executives Summit, Congress passed increased funding to our region to protect our islands from invasive species."

"Rather than compete with each other, we have pledged to work together to enhance the quality of life for all our communities," he added.

The last summit also held here last year created the Tourism Council, which Camacho said "continues work to promote our islands as the premiere regional destination."

On Guam, he said, regional recycling plan has taken off with the implementation of the Department of Pubic Works, abandoned vehicle recycling program and other recycling initiatives.

Also attending the summit is Alfred Vallez, who heads the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Apprenticeship Training Pacific Region, who will speak about his proposal to set up the Guam Department of Labor as the state agency for apprenticeship programs on Guam.

This plan, Camacho said, will provide more opportunities for local businesses looking to set up apprenticeship programs. "This means more federal dollars to Guam and more jobs for our local people," the governor added.

Gregory Urwin, Secretary of the Pacific Islands Forum, and Lou Pangelinan, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, will present the "Pacific Plan," a strategy to bring together island nations to strengthen the region's voice on the global stage. Angie Williams of the U.S. Department of Interior's Office of Insular Affairs will also discuss the federal government's efforts to bring more investment and trade opportunities to the Pacific Islands.

Police Chief Frank Ishizaki will speak of plans for a regional forensics laboratory, based on Guam, to assist other islands with their criminology and forensics efforts.