Pohnpei State is currently experiencing difficulty in evicting squatters from land reserved for government use because a number of the trespassers are themselves government officials.
This was the gist of a May 3 letter from Gov. Johnny P. David to 6th Pohnpei Legislature Speaker Nelson N. Pelep to update him on the work of the Task Force set up to negotiate with squatters on public land trust reserved for the Education and Public Health Departments.
The Governor admitted that the Task Force "did experience great difficulty in trying to negotiate the removal of the squatters on a mutually agreed upon basis," particularly with those who pointed out that, "inasmuch as they know for sure that certain government leaders and their families are also squatters or trespassers on government reserved public trust lands, they rightfully argue that the application of the law should be equal upon all persons, government leaders and ordinary people alike."
These people, he said, have taken the position that "so long as those government leaders are occupying, benefiting or making their livelihood on government reserved public trust lands, they should also be given the same privilege."
There were also squatters, said the Governor, who claimed "they were given some kind of authority by certain officers of Government who are no longer with the government and are hard to trace."
Gov. David said the Task Force reported the following current or former "government leaders who may be classified as squatters or trespassers on government reserved public trust lands":
While the Governor said the Task Force would continue to negotiate with the squatters, he stressed that, "it will be helpful that we, government leaders like those listed above, show the good example by removing ourselves first from those portions of the government reserved public trust lands so that the work can become easier for our Task Force to remove or evict those ordinary people/families who had been identified as squatters/trespassers on government reserved public trust lands."