GovGuam denies racial discrimination in CLTC lawsuit response

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The Attorney General has filed a response on behalf of the Chamorro Land Trust Commission to the suit brought on by the U.S. Department of Justice. The CLTC is denying that it has unlawfully discriminated “against non-Chamorros through enforcement of the Chamorro Land Trust Act.”

Guam – The CLTC was created by the Chamorro Land Trust Act to protect and ensure Chamorro homelands are awarded to native Chamorros. In its response, the CLTC states it does grant 99-year leases to people who fit the definition of “native Chamorro” as defined by the Chamorro Land Trust Act.

GovGuam, however also asserts the program isn’t racially based, since under this definition “not all non-Chamorros are barred from obtaining residential leases, nor are all Chamorros eligible for residential leases.” The CLTC also denies the term “native Chamorro” as defined by the Chamorro Land Trust Act is a racial or ethnic term. The CLTA defines “native Chamorro” as “any person who became a U.S. citizen by virtue of the authority and enactment of the Organic Act of Guam or descendants of such person.”

Part of the USDOJ’s lawsuit stems from an allegation that an African American man was evicted from Chamorro Land Trust property after his Chamorro wife passed away. In response, the CLTC argues the wife of the African American man was the leaseholder who designated another family member to be a successor to the lease upon her death.