P.L. 158: 60% of Land Meant To Compensate All the Dispossessed Would Go To Families Who Suffered Only 2% of the Loss

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Guam –  The legal-discovery process in the Class Action suit filed by Attorney Curtis Van de Veld against the Tiyan Land Swap law has produced what the Attorney thinks are damning documents that he believes will help stop implementation of the law. Assistant Attorney General Bill Bischoff disagrees.

According to documents from the Ancestral Lands Commission, released by the Guam Attorney General,  the Ancestral Lands Commission controls 1,608 acres of land [aside from a disputed claim from the Torres family].

Read the figures on the impact of Bill 158

Under Public Law 158,  the Tiyan Land Swap Law 971 acres,  60% of the total,  would be given to roughly 72 families who make up the former Tiyan land owners.

Yet, according to the Ancestral Land Commission records, only 114 Tiyan lots were lost to post war condemnations, less than 2% of the total property condemned and taken by the Federal Government after the Second World War.

Public Law 158,  approved by 14 of 15 Guam Lawmakers and signed by the Acting Governor, gives  60% of Guam’s Ancestral lands to families whose  loss makes up only 2% of the total land condemned and taken.

Van de Veld also points to a declaration and a quite claim deed signed and on June 16th, which, he says, removed the entire inventory of  Ancestral Land land from the Land Bank Trust it had been held  and transferred it to the control of the Ancestral Lands Commissioners.

However Assistant Attorney General Bill Bishoff, who advises the Ancestral Lands Commission strongly disagreed with Van de Veld’s assessment telling pnc news that: “The quitclaim deed had nothing to do with the Tiyan Land owners case and has no impact on the Class Action suit.” 

The quitclaim deed was merely executed he said to give control of the Ancestral Lands back to all of the Commissioners, rather than the few who decided the disposition of the land before.

The Class Action suit filed by Van de Veld to stop implementation of  Public Law 158 is slated for a scheduling conference next Thursday. In the meantime, a restraining order remains in effect preventing implementation of the law.