It's back to the drawing board for CLTC
It's been in the works for years, and today would have marked the adoption date for the Chamorro Land Trust Commission's rules and regulations for commercial leases. However last Friday, despite weeks to review, lawmakers instead decided to disapprove the rules, bringing the agency back to where it started.
"The Chamorro Land Trust Commission followed the administrative adjudication law to the 'T', and transmitted these rules and regulations to the Guam Legislature on June 3, giving them 90 days to act upon in it," noted Michael Borja. "And they choose instead on the 86th day to just abandon it completely." The Department of Land Management director and CLTC administrative director calls it a setback - the Guam Legislature's disapproval last Friday of the rules and regulations to move forward with commercial leases for CLTC property. "And I find that very disheartening to know they had all this time to accomplish a good review of the rules and for us to make some progress in getting the rules passed," he added.
Borja has repeatedly stated these rules would help the CLTC generate millions in revenue to help fund infrastructure for residential and agricultural CLTC property. "So it is something that we've been asked to do, repeatedly, we've been trying to get it done, and for whatever reason when it gets to the legislature it doesn't come back out," Borja added.
But what went wrong? Borja says he was working with Senator Tom Ada's Legislative Committee on Land believing the bill would have passed. As for issues with the rules, he didn't believe there were any "deal-killers" in the bill, as the director said, "We could have worked with those - it's better to have had something then have nothing then we could have least moved forward on that on what we had as far as rules and regulations went, but we have nothing now."
Despite two days in session, lawmakers didn't discuss the bill section-by-section. Borja says the CLTC has significant powers and as one senator noted, could have the potential to be one of the most powerful organizations within the government as far as the control of lands. He said, "Maybe perhaps, it's an authority they don't want to be seen taken away."
Borja says he will now go through a complete review of the amended rules on all the proposed changes, explaining, "And hopefully it's not going to take another 20 years. The legislature has routinely dismissed the rules and regulations that have been adopted by the Chamorro Land Trust Commission. This is not a good thing that has happened - and I guess we'll have to move forward in trying to find a common ground they can agree to and they will accept."