Guam politicians at odds over Chamorro Land Trust
The growing controversy over awards of public land lots in Guam's Barrigada Heights area by the Chamorro Land Trust Commission, many of them to seeming relatives and political allies continues, with Governor Eddie Baza Calvo calling for a temporary halt to the awarding of leases by the CLTC.
CLTC is conducting a 'review' of the awards to date. And Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson has already weighed in, according to the governor. "On Friday, the Attorney General opined that there are administrative practices exercised over the last 25 years that require review,” Governor Calvo stated in a letter to the Chamorro Land Trust Commission. “As the Commission addresses this issue, it would be prudent to place a hold on any awards while you and your fellow Commissioners review the processes by which leases have been executed and determine a corrective course of action.”
Meanwhile Senators Frank Aguon and Tom Ada were crossing swords on the issue:
“Throughout this entire CLTC ordeal," Senator Aguon said in a news release, "I have been advocating for transparency and accountability on the growing number of issues concerning the administration of the CLTC program. When I requested for an oversight hearing for CLTC, Senator Tom Ada wouldn’t do what was necessary to hold the Director and the Commission accountable. Rather, he equivocated on the oversight hearing. Senator Ada claims that it will take 20 years to adopt rules and regulations, but in the 33rd Guam Legislature, Senator Ada quickly introduced and successfully passed his measure to add rules and regulations to CLTC commercial leases. The bottom line is that once the rules and regulations have been adopted, the moratorium is lifted. So this myth of 20 years to pass another set of rules and regulations is just another fear tactic. If there is anything Senator Ada has proven to the people is that if there is a will, there is a way!”
Aguon also maintains that Governor Calvo lacks legal authority to impose a moratorium under present law.
“The Commission is faced with many issues such as applicants who have ‘switched’ their properties or ‘surrendered’ their properties to another applicant ‒ a practice that the Attorney General has deemed void. These applicants who have surrendered their position in-line should rightfully go to the end of the line and allow for other individuals to be awarded property,” Senator Aguon said.
Governor Calvo has called for a temporary halt to the Chamorro Land Trust Commission’s awarding of leases while the Commission continues its review.
The CLTC has awarded about 3,000 leases in total and of that 738 leases were awarded in the last 8 years.