Guam – Superior Court Judge Arthur Barcinas this morning [Wednesday] issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Ancestral Land Trust Commission from carrying out the Tiyan Land Swap Law.
The Judge acted at the request of Attorney Curtis Van de Veld who has filed a class action lawsuit seeking to block implementation of P.L. 158 arguing that it is inorganic and unconstitutional.
The new law gives the bulk of ancestral lands to just 10% of the trust members.
The restraining order issued by the Judge specifically enjoins “each member of the Commissioners of the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission” from transferring any part of the 582 acre property that makes up the old FAA site in Finegayan and they have also been restrained from transferring any of the 395 acres site in the Andy South, or Marbo area.
The Ancestral Land Commission had called a meeting this afternoon at 2pm to approve the transfer of both of those properties into a special trust for the benefit of the Tiyan Landowners.
Van de Veld initially filed his class action suit in District Court but re-filed it in Superior Court after District Court Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood rejected a request for a restraining order saying she lacked jurisdiction.
However, Judge Barcinas had no qualms about jurisdiction. Van de Veld said that the Judge ruled that there was a substantial likelihood that the suit will prevail on the merits. And the Judge agreed with Van de Veld that the plaintiffs he represents could “suffer irreparable injury” if the law were carried out.harm if an imminent thereat of irreparable injury
The class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a group of dispossessed Ancestral Land Trust members who were left out of the Tiyan Land Swap Law.
A hearing on the merits of the lawsuit is set for September 22.