Time for change at DPL


Yesterday’s Saipan Tribune article entitled “DPL Statement on Palauan Abai Project” read: “The Department of Public Lands signed an agreement for designation of use of public domain lands on May 29, 2018 with the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, which was signed by the attorney general on May 29, 2018.”

§ 2353. Department of Community and Cultural Affairs: Duties.
The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs has broad responsibility over the following:
(a) Commonwealth functions in the area of social services funded in whole or in part by federal funds, provided that the department shall consult and coordinate its activities with the mayors of Saipan, Rota, Tinian and Aguiguan, and the islands north of Saipan when administering those functions;
(d) Historic and landmark conservation and preservation;
(e) Activities to preserve Chamorro and Carolinian heritages and traditions;

Again, how does this relate to DCCA’s duties and authority? Did the AG knew or was aware of the above statue? Was the Legislature fully informed or knew of the above statue?

“Furthermore, this is not a permanent interest, as Article 6 of the assignment document states that at the end of each 10-year period, or sooner at grantor’s discretion, may conduct a land use review of this designation to ascertain compliance with the intended use of the premises stated herein.”

There is nothing in the CNMI Constitution nor does the CNMI Code gives DPL authority to grant freely the designated public land without public purpose or for the benefit of NMD’s other than to designate public lands for homestead and lease public lands for the benefit of NMD’s as mandated. The question now is “where do you get that authority?” This is an abuse of authority and fiduciary duties delegated to you. What happened in the past did not materialize as you seem to point fingers in attempt to wash your hands off. The fact is, you and the AG signed that agreement. The AG signed “AS TO FORM AND CAPACITY.” Does this necessarily mean that it was OK for you to forego the Grant of Public Domain to DCCA? You had the authority to make that decision yourself and not rely on attorneys to make decisions for you as you have practiced to defect attention that it was not your fault. Time for a new secretary who is more qualified to manage and dispose public lands.

Jack Muna

Contributing Author

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