Isla de Ladrones is what the Spaniards dubbed Guam nearly 500 years ago. As Kandit continues its investigation into land disputes in different places throughout the island, we see what the former colonizers were saying. We’re beginning to understand that there are a bunch of thieves, who have built their fortunes on the backs of other people’s work and inheritance.
As we approach a tipping point in poverty, with the price of eating and having shelter outpacing our ability to make the money for these costs, we find more and more that the ‘people of the land,’ or the ‘taotao tano,’ really are the renters of the property.
And who has dispossessed the people of the land? Who are the proverbial thieves? So far, in our ongoing look at the raping of the Chamorro Land Trust, the land takings at Ukudu, the imminent land grab at Pagat, and now a bizarre dispute in Tumon, the culprits appear to be the rich, the powerful, and the government.
The magnitude of these dealings – even the culture of these affairs over the decades – beckons a much-closer look at these very complicated land matters.
Today, Kandit sent a Freedom of Information Act request for documents to the Office of the Governor of Guam. We believe the response to this FOIA will educate us, and our readers and audience a great deal more about the root of several of the land issues we are uncovering. Here is the text of that FOIA sent to the governor today:
This correspondence constitutes a Freedom of Information Act request in accordance with all laws applicable to Guam relative to the disclosure of public documents. For purposes of this Freedom of Information Act request the term “Document” or “Documents” shall mean any form of communication electronic or otherwise, any form of the depiction or drawing of real property and the lot description of real property as such description is generally used in recorded documents with the Department of Land Management, Government of Guam.
The term “Document” or “Documents” shall also include, but not be limited to, letters, emails, WhatsApp messages, memorandums, transmittals, minutes of any meetings, lists, and any forms of communications by and between the office of the governor, the Guam Economic Development Authority and / or any official or representative of the United States Navy including it’s Real Estate Divisions regardless if they are on Guam, Hawaii and / or Washington DC.This Freedom of Information Act request specifically involves certain land, lands, lots and other real property situated within and around that land in Barrigada commonly known as “Eagles Field,” which the governor has repeatedly made public as the location she desires to develop the Healthcare Center of Excellence to include a new hospital, new behavioral and wellness facility and a new public health building (hereinafter referred to as the “Navy Lands” or “Navy Lots”).Please provide us within the time period provided in applicable statutes with true copies of the following:1. Documents which list the full description of all Navy Lands or Navy lots and their corresponding original landowners at the time such lands or lots were condemned by the United States of America, The United States Navy or any agency of the United States federal government2. Documents which list the full description of all Navy Lands or Navy Lots and the corresponding living heirs of the original landowners.3. Documents which show the total square meters and total acres of the Navy Lands.4. Documents which show and describe by lot number each and every lot within the Navy Lands at the time of their condemnation.5. Any and all pleadings which were prepared by the United States Navy, the United States of America or any agency of the United States Federal Government from the very first pleading to initiate land condemnation proceedings of the Navy Lands to the conclusion of said land condemnation proceedings (hereinafter referred to as the “Condemnation Pleadings”).6. Any and all Condemnation Pleadings that depict a finger print of any original land owner of the Navy Lands that was used to identify the original land owner instead of a signature.7. Any and all Condemnation Pleadings filed for the condemnation of the Navy Lands, including all Navy Lots, which contain language where the original land owner waived any legal rights whatsoever including the waiver of just compensation.8. Any and all Documents or Condemnation Pleadings prepared by or for the United States Navy, the United States of America or any agency of the United States of America that provided the amount of the fair market value of the Navy Lands or Navy Lots at the date of the conclusion of said condemnation proceedings.9. Any and all documents including copies of cancelled checks or copies of any instrument of value that shows the name of the original land owner and the value they received in connection with the condemnation of the Navy Lands or Navy Lots.10. Any and all declassified United States Navy documents that pertain to the National Security Clearance Program, which either state or suggest that one of the purposes of the program was to create an artificial economy on Guam by keeping land values suppressed.11. Any and all declassified United States Navy documents that demonstrates that various professionals, regardless of the number, including the likes of appraisers, surveyors and attorneys were not granted security clearance to enter Guam.12. Documents showing any correspondence by and between the office of the governor and the United States Navy which pertains in any manner whatsoever with the conveyance, license or lease of the Navy Lands in order for the government of Guam to use such lands to develop the healthcare center of excellence.13. Documents which show any communication whatsoever between the governor, any of her staff, representatives of the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission and / or representatives of the Guam Economic Development Authority with any or all of the living heirs of the original land owners of the Navy Lands.14. Documents of any minutes of any meetings whose subject matter included the conveyance, license or lease of Navy Lands for the healthcare center of excellence.15. Documents including without limitation, Phase 1, Phase 2 or any other studies which shows potential of existence or the existence of hazardous waste in any area of Navy Lands.16. Documents showing any communication between the Governor, United States Secretary of the Navy and / or Naval Admiral of Guam on the date of such communication.17. Documents which in part or in whole, provide the research that supports the Governor’s position that original land owners and / or heirs of original land owners were justly compensated for the condemnation of the Navy Lands and / or Navy Lots. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “Research” shall mean the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach conclusions that original land owners and / or their living heirs affected by the condemnation of the Navy Lands were in fact justly compensated.