CHAMORROS PROTEST TRANSFER OF GUAM LAND

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By Gerardo R. Partido

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Sept. 8) – Chamorro activists on Guam are protesting the proposed transfer of Chamorro Land Trust Commission land to the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority for the housing agency’s new office.

Debbie Quinata, one of the leaders of Nasion Chamoru, said that while her group understands the desire of GHURA to secure a bigger office for the growing number of clients it serves, it was disturbing to see legislation written up to "gift" the agency a portion of land out of the CLTC inventory.

Earlier, GHURA director Ron De Guzman testified in favor of a bill that would provide for a parcel of CLTC land for GHURA’s new office.

"We would have thought that GHURA, as the agency tasked with assisting people in securing adequate housing, would not only understand but support the need for the protection of the trust lands, understanding that many could be elevated from being dependent on federal subsidies into homeowners and self sufficiency," Quinata stated in a letter to GHURA.

According to Quinata, lands under the CLTC are sacred and that while GHURA’s mission of subsidizing rented houses is just temporary in nature, the granting of land under the Chamorro Land Trust Act is permanent.

"The Nasion Chamoru does not object outright to GHURA building on the property they are requesting, we just do not want the transfer of ownership and recommend that a long-term lease be negotiated to include some benefits to the trust as well," Quinata said.

GHURA has asked that the Chamorro Land Trust property be "deeded" over to them, with a "free and clear title" so that they can build a new office.

CLTC testified against the bill at a public hearing held last week, but Nasion Chamoru said it has reason to believe "that there are forces working against the commission and these forces are seeking to alter their decision."

September 9, 2005

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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