Hearing tackles CLTC settlement with USDOJ

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CLTC chairwoman Pika Fejeran explained why the board agreed to the settlement terms.

An oversight hearing was held at the legislature this afternoon on the proposed settlement agreement with the U.S. Justice Department over the Chamorro Land Trust Commission.

The Justice Department filed suit against the CLTC in 2017, alleging that the CLTC violated the Fair Housing Act because it limited participation in the program to people identified as “native Chamorros.”

The hearing was called by Sen. Therese Terlaje following the announcement that the CLTC board had approved a settlement agreement that would eliminate all references in the current law to Chamorro and native Chamorro.

CLTC chairwoman Pika Fejeran explained why the board agreed to the settlement terms.

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“They expressed to us that keeping it Chamorro Homelands makes it seem racist in nature, that only Chamorros could have these homelands. So, we felt that this change would address their concerns while also allowing us to maintain the acknowledgment that these properties are Chamorro homelands,” Fejeran said.

The attorney representing the CLTC, Assistant AG James Canto, told the lawmakers that the Government of Guam recommends the changes adopted by the Land Trust Commission.

Canto said a status hearing is scheduled for Jan. 29 with the federal judge assigned to oversee the case, Judge Terence Kern.

The legislature still has to adopt the changes proposed in the settlement agreement by changing the wording in the CLTC law.

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