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CLTC moves forward in new administration

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - The Chamorro Land Trust Commission continues it uphill battle in implementing rules and regulations for leases and collecting on past due accounts. With an extensive background in Guam real estate, Monte Mafnas takes the reigns at the CLTC.

The new administrator says a top priority is registering all of the land in the agency's inventory, telling KUAM News, "How can we continue to give out land if we don't know we own it? So I appealed to the powers that be including the senators, to work with them and once and for all and register and identify all government lands."

Mafnas says he will revisit all commercial leases and open up a dialogue on collecting on overdue rent on CLTC land.

In the meantime, a member of the Guam Legislature has a vision that he believes would help bring CLTC up to speed, as Senator Chris Duenas has introduced legislation that would place the CLTC under the Department of Land Management, a move he says would streamline operations. "It will allow them to move quite a bit quicker with the technical expertise from management to get the money flowing through the leases and licensees," the freshman policymaker explained.

While Senator Duenas is looking forward, Department of Public Works director Joanne Brown believes a past partnership with the University of Guam - a project she was heavily involved with as the former assistant director at UOG with the College of Applied Sciences, will continue. "Certainly we are fairly optimistic that the Land Trust will continue the work with the university - one of the first things that they would need to do is brief the new governor of what has been occurring with the work that has been done. Which I'm sure will be welcome," she said. "I think anything that can be done to get the trust on track and bring transparency in their office is something that would be welcomed."

Brown says a report on the findings by UOG will be provided by in mid- to late-February. Said Brown, "To update on the agriculture inspections that have continued and then also update them on what the results are with regards to reviewing their commercial leases."

As for rules and regulations for those commercial leases, Mafnas says it's an issue he will revisit as a policy drawn up under the past administration died on session floor. "I hope to have a final draft by the first quarter or second quarter of this year," he said. "We are working on it and hope to complete it."

In addition to a new administrator, the CLTC will soon have new board members. Four to five members will be appointed by Governor Eddie Calvo and will begin their service after being confirmed by the Guam Legislature.

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