Guam – Many were surprised by the legislature’s abrupt dismissal of new rules for the troubled Chamorro Land Trust Commission. But no one was more surprised, or upset, than CLTC Board Chairman Oscar Calvo who thinks politics was involved in the rejection of a year’s worth of work on new regulations that the CLTC badly needs.
CLTC Chairman Oscar Calvo is hopping mad with Senator Ben Pangelian for what he feels was the Senator’s rush to judgement over the new rules and regulations which the CLTC has spent a year compiling and the legislature rejected by a vote of 15 to nothing last Friday. A vote taken less than 24 hours after the measure’s only public hearing.
“I think he’s just playing politics,” said Calvo of Pangelinan.
Senator Pangelinan, whose Land Committee has oversight over the CLTC said one of the main objections to the new rules was a provision allowing for non-Chamorros to enter into commercial leases for CLTC land.
But that’s not true says the CLTC Chairman Calvo. The current law already allows for leases to non-Chamorros. He cites Title 21 Chapter 75 which permits commercial leases to non-native Chamorros. And there are dozens of non-Chamorros who hold commercial leases now.
However, Calvo acknowledges that one change that was made in the proposed new regulations was to extend the length of certain, limited, commercial leases from 21 to 50 years. The reason for the extension to 50 years would be to attract high dollar investors who would pay a premium rate on the properties and need 50 years to make it profitable for them to pay a premium lease rate.
Commercial lease funds are critical to the CLTC because all its operations are entirely dependent on those fees. The legislature does not allocate any money to the CLTC to fund its operations.
However Senator Pangelinan believes 50 years is too long.
Pangelinan said he intends to work with the CLTC in the weeks ahead to revise the regulations.