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":
1) Mr. Feliciano Perman of Sokehs on Parcel No. 024-A-202, Plat No. 025-A-21, Nanpohnmal, Nett. The parcel was designated for Civil Defense. Mr. Perman allegedly purchased a house from Silverino Damarlane and is residing on the land that government approved.
2) Mr. Peter Lohn - Parcel No. 025-A-194, Plat No. 025-A-21, Nanpohnmal, Sokehs. The parcel was revised with a subdivision. Mr. Lohn and his family allegedly had constructed homes, farmed the land and are conducting business on this parcel. Mr. Lohn has proposed to the Board to exchange his Navy lease for the area.
3) Mrs. Magdalena Walter and family - Parcel No. 025-A-19, Plat No. 025-A-01, Dolonier, Nett. The parcel is designated for the Department of Education for high school. Mrs. Walter and family constructed residential home and cemetery on the land.
4) Mrs. Nancy Solomon (former member of the Legislature) - Parcel No. 031-B-08, Plat No. 031-B-01, Kepira, Sokehs. The parcel is designated for Nanmal Palikir Elementary School. Mrs. Salomon had constructed a home on this parcel and an access road to her home.
5) Mr. Desiwo Liwi (former member of the Legislature) - Parcel No. 025-A-194, Plat No. 025-A-21, Nanpohnmal, Sokehs. The area was proposed as road easement staked out by the state surveyors. The family constructed dwelling homes on the parcel.
6) Mr. Quirino Mendiola - Parcel No. 028-A-12, Plat No. 028-A-01, Kahmar, Nett. The parcel was designated for Head Start School bus pool for summers. His apartment building is encroached on the parcel.
7) Mr. Valerio Hallens (former member of the Legislature) - Parcel No. 025-A-214, Plat No. 025-A-25, Nanpohnmal, Nett. The parcel was designated for Government Housing. He moved into one of the government apartments and stayed there till today while he subleased his own apartments in Nett.
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."
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