Roundtable on CLTC uncovers various issues - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Roundtable on CLTC uncovers various issues

by Jolene Toves

Guam - The Chamorro Land Trust Commission was called to the table this afternoon by the Legislature to get a status of its lease holders and programs available under its Agricultural Lease Program. According to acting director Dave Camacho there are over 1,000 agricultural leases issued to date while there are about 4,000 applicants seeking land ranging from a half an acre to 20 acres.

During the meeting several issues were brought up from leases that were not recorded, concerns about surveying of the properties to issued leases on unregistered properties. "There is no lease issued to anyone that is not occupying unregistered property (CLTC) there is there have been leases issued to individuals on unregistered property," he said.

According to Assistant Attorney General David Highsmith these particular leases lend itself to a much larger problem.  "That's a more serious problem because all you have to do to record a lease is take the original document down to Land Management and pay a fee and they'll record it but unregistered land you need to go through a very time consuming process to get it registered," he explained.

A process he says can take at least a year.

Meanwhile the CLTC says that a majority of the leases that were released on unregistered land were to pre-occupiers who insisted and wanted to get issued a lease. Acting director Camacho says that they are working with the AG's Office to clear up those issues.

Meanwhile account executive director for the USDA Farm Services Agency Tom Camacho says on the federal side, "There haven't been as many issues with producers who come in for assistance there are some cases where they do not obtain a time? Because of that we are unable to assist because of lack of evidence of control of the land."

He says the without control of the land there is no way for his department to issue a farmer track number which is necessary for other programs but the most critical component that is missing is the surveys of the properties. "We're setting him up (producers) for failure and that's a road we never want to go down and so because that I have seen a lot of issues with un-surveyed properties that we have had to turn away," he said.

According to Tom Camacho without that critical component producers can be left to foot a bill for penalties and fees. 

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