Emotions run high at CLTC hearing - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Emotions run high at CLTC hearing

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by Janjeera Hail

Guam - The 30th Guam Legislature wanted answers this morning as to why Guam Rocks, Inc. was given special treatment by the Chamorro Land Trust Commission when there is supposed to be a moratorium on new commercial leases.  Earlier this week, Senator Ben Pangelinan sent a letter to CLTC Chairman Oscar Calvo asking why Guam Rocks was given the green light to begin surveying land in Yigo, while the CLTC has been telling the Legislature no permits would be granted until official rules and regulations are approved.

The senator said, "This is not something they brought to us. This is something we found out from members of the people of the community saying hey did you know that this was happening and when we've asked them they continually assured us that no they were not doing anything like that."

It was revealed today that the CLTC's legal counsel had affirmed the moratorium, and that agency administrator Jess Garcia had also opposed the move - drawing into serious question the motives of chairman, Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz, suggesting that it was grounds to call for Calvo's resignation.

Said Cruz, "My concern is that you had legal counsel give you advice not to move. You had your executive director tell you that he refused to do and in spite of both of them saying they did not want to do this, and did not want their signature on it.  You went ahead and did it anyway.  I want to know who is this person and why do we go out on the limb like this."

It was in March last year when Guam Rocks Manager Tony Sanchez, appeared before the CLTC requesting a lease be approved. Guam Rocks plans to grade 100 acres at a time for a total of 400 acres of CLTC land and place infrastructure on it for later use when it's returned back to the CLTC. (Sanchez, you may recall, was formerly Governor Felix Camacho's chief of staff.)

Calvo admitted he had made a mistake he said he was never pressured, but his attempts to defend his decision did not impress the senators.  "He's a Chamorro, just help him out," said Calvo.  "That's the whole thing - let's help the Chamorros. Let's give them a lot of opportunity. Just give him that."  Pangelinan said, "Oscar, we've got thousands of other Chamorros," to which Calvo replied, ""I know, senator, I know that senator. I'm just trying to."

The vice-speaker then inquired by saying, "Did you get the financials of this person to determine whether or not he's capable of doing this or if he's done this before?", to which Calvo replied, "That's what we're waiting for."

"Fifteeen months?" said Cruz.

After an hour or heated discussion, the issue was finally resolved with Calvo agreeing to take back the authorization.  Said Calvo to the senators, "Can I have a few seconds? Can I go out there and beat my head off the wall?"  Senator Pangelinan said, "We're all taking medication, Oscar."

While Calvo may have agreed to rescind his authorization, the sparks that flew this morning in this public hearing room make clear that the discord that runs through the CLTC will be no quick fix.

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