Senate President Hokkon Baules has asked Minister of state Faustina Rehuher-Marugg to clarify comments made by Palau Ambassador to Taiwan, Dilmei Olkeriil about Palau not establishing official ties with mainland China.
Baules is a strong advocate of closer ties with China. He supported the House Joint Resolution calling the Palau President to establish close economic ties with China. However, the resolution after adoption by the House, failed to muster enough votes for approval in the Senate.
Dear Minister Marugg:
I hope that this letter finds you in the best of health. I seek for prompt clarification regarding a statement made by Her Excellency Ambassador Dilmei Olkeriil which was quoted in the Tuesday December 19, 2017 edition of the Island Times newspaper. She notes in part "Palau will not be establishing official ties with China, which would require it to sever links with Taiwan, even if pressured by the mainland.
I understand as well that the comments were made in an interview with Focus Taiwan News Channel and Taiwan Central News Agency (CNA). Given the exposure these news agencies have throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the world, it is critical that clarification is made to confirm if this statement is the official foreign policy position of the Republic of Palau with regards to the people's Republic of China.
I am concerned of the effects that an abrupt end to visitors and tourists from the People's Republic of China would have no our current tourism industry. And further, the possible adverse effects of the country's support for our initiatives in international organizations as the United Nations.
I anticipate your prompt response to this inquiry as the senate 10th Olbiil Era Kelulau must be consistent with the Executive Branch in its consideration on matter of foreign policy.
Appeal of judgement filed in appellate court next day
Associate justice Kathleen Salii on Tuesday rendered a summary judgement against plaintiff Joshua and in favor of defendants Palau Election Commission (PEC) and Franco Gibbons and intervening plaintiff Koror State Government, upholding K6-123-2001 calling for the december 12, 2017 runoff election for governor in which Gibbons received 189 votes with 52% of the votes cast over Eyos Rudimch who got 48%.
Plaintiff Koshiba filed a notice to the Appellate Court on the next day, Wednesday, appealing the judgement and decision and asking the Court to expedite the appeal.
The PEC in the mean time has certified the result of the winners of the November 14 general election for the elected Koror legislators and Franco Gibbons as the winner of the December 12 runoff election.
Plaintiff Koshiba has filed an amended complaint on December 6 against PEC and Gibbons that the koror law, K6-123-2001 calling to runoff election on December 12 is unconstitutional being in conflict with Koror Constitution Article VII, Section 2 and Article XII, Section 3 which set the election of governor to be only general state election and on a specific second Tuesday in November and also asked for an injunction against the holding of the runoff election. The court denied the motion ans asked all the parties to file their pleadings by December 14 last week and then issued her judgement and ruling on Tuesday this week.
Justice Salii in holding that the Koror runoff law, K6-123-2001, Section 4(B) is not in conflict with the Article XII, Section 3 states the following in the judgement: "The matter of law in dispute is the constitutional validity of KSPL No. K6-123-2001, Section 4(B)........ and then posed this question and answer "Can the language of Article XII, Section 3, of the Koror State Constitution be read in such a manner as to uphold the validity of KSPL No. K6-123-2001, Section 4(B), which provides for run-off elections in a gubernatorial election?
President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. has expressed appreciation to US President Donald Trump for the approval of the Compact Review Agreement.
On behalf of the people of Palau, I wish to express appreciation for your leadership in providing in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2018, the approval of the compact review agreement between the United states of America and the Republic of Palau, "President Remengesau said in his letter of December 13, 2017. The compact review agreement which was signed in September 2010 but never approved by the US congress, called for a continued financial assistance totaling $229 million to Palau over a 15 years period ending in year 2024.
|Tommy E Remengesau Jr.|
"Your action after seven years of delay send a clear message to the people of the Pacific that the United States stands again with its friends," President Remengesau said.
Last week President Donald Trump signed into law the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes the Palau Compact Review Agreement. The enhancement officially authorizes the strategic agreement signed between the United States and Palau governments in 2010.
"We hope that the US congress will now make the appropriations necessary to complete US approval of the Agreement," Remengesau added.
US President Trump called for $123.9 million to implement the agreement in his proposed budget for FY 2018.
Beginning with FY 2010, subsequent interior and discretionary appropriations acts have been extended annual economic assistance to Palau of approximately $13.1 million a year for a total of 105.2 million in discretionary funds thus far.
In his letter, President Remengesau also asked to meet with President Trump to personally thank him. "If you schedule permits during my next trip to the United States, It would be my pleasure to personally express to you the gratitude of the people of Palau," Remengesau further said.
|View of Ngermid Bay from G.A.U. Mechang Lagoon Resort|
The Bay around Ngermid has little connectivity to the outside. With an unusually low PH level, one predicted for the end of this century, and water temperature reaching above average, the bay should be a death sentence for most corals. Astonishingly, what has been observed inside Ngermid Bay is the opposite.
|Corals in Mechang Bay, Ngermid|
|Corals in Mechang Bay, Ngermid|
while these corals prove to be resistant to high water temperatures and low PH levels, there are vulnerable to land based pollution and have very low recruitment rates. Excessive stress may result in a loss of this unique coral reef. As the world's oceans continue to warm, these resistant corals may provide information valuable to the survival of coral reef worldwide.
|View from G.A.U. Mechang Lagoon Resort|
Palau is the first nation on earth to change its immigration laws for the cause of environmental protection. Upon entry, visitors need to sign a passport pledge to act in an ecologically responsible way on the island, for the sake of Palau’s children and future generations of Palauans.
Every tourist who takes the pledge needs to follow this sustainable tourism checklist or risk a fine.
- Don't collect Marine life Souvenirs : Taking coral, shells, small and protected fish, and other protected species (including turtles and sharks) damages the environment and threatens species with extinction.
Don't touch or chase wildlife : It is highly stressful and damaging to an animal’s health, and potentially dangerous to you. Touching some fish can remove their protective coating.
Don't Smoke in restricted areas
Sign the pledge at palaupledge.com
PISR now one of the fastest growing and most efficient ship registries
The Palau International Ship Registry has recently seen a strong increase in its fleet size as more shipowners and operators look to become a part of the new breed of smart registries. As the Palau flag starts appearing on more vessels the appeal of a registry based on technology and detailed attention to service becomes more important to world shipping. At the end of September 2017 the Palau flag fleet stands at 380 ships with 3,000,000 gross tonnage. The main Palau fleet now comprises 27% general cargo and 20% tankers, with the rest vessels accounting for 53% of its total ships covering all vessel types and across a wide range of countries. There have been increases in the number of barges, tugs and bulk carriers looking to fly the Palau flag and more recently, a growing number of yacht owners talking to the registry looking to join the fleet. Panos Kirnidis, CEO of Palau International Ship Registry believes the flag has become increasingly attractive to ship owners looking for stability, security, attention to detail and technological advances. "Since our inception in 2010 the registry has grown steadily with different types of ships joining our fleet.
We have a strenuous vetting process for all our ships and we know that owners, charterers and operators want a quality flag. As a relatively new one we know that attracting ships into our fleet takes time and our clients need to be comfortable with us, our operations and our quality management approach.
This recent increase in fleet size shows we are sailing the right way." Smart ships and smart technology in running a fleet are currently driving shipowners to look their vessels is using the current world economic forecasts to reach out to the maritime industry to attract even more ships into the Palau fleet."
We have been saying for more than a year that the maritime industry knows that smart ships and smart technology is the way forward and yet there seems to be reluctance on the part of some owners to fully embrace technology. When the world economy turns and the shipping world recovers, progress in technology will be one of the real driving forces. The time to embrace this technology is now. Smart ships are here and so are smart registries. Waiting until the world economy picks up might be the wrong time to switch registries. PISR is the fastest growing and efficient ship registry, which is investing in advanced technology, highly experienced staff and is built on foundation of a fully-electronic registry. We introduced a new Deficiency Prevention System (DPS) at the end of 2016 through a dedicated department monitoring all Palau ships to reduce deficiency and casualty rates. It's just one of the advances in looking after our fleet we feel puts us on course to be the smartest of smart flags in 2018."
Guam Governor Eddie Calvo has called for the U.S. Department of Defense to halt military construction projects on the island until a shortage of foreign labor is remedied. Federal immigration officials have denied most of the requests by Guam businesses to use temporary foreign labor under the H2B visa program, the Pacific Daily News reported on Friday.
A few years ago, the U.S. territory had a foreign work-force of more than 1,000. After the number dropped below 100, businesses on the island filed a lawsuit over the denials last year. Calvo has asked the Defense Department to stop military construction and for the guidelines of the buildups to be reassessed. The military has relied on the island's temporary foreign workforce in the past.
"Unfortunately, this H2B denial, which started with the bureaucrats of the Obama administration, continues to linger," said Calvo, a Republican. "In so doing, it is not only hindering our island's economy, but I believe it is risking our island and our nation's security as well." In a letter to the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, James W. McCament, Calvo said the visa denials are causing harm by inflating construction costs and leaving fewer bids for military and civilian projects.
"I consider this a clear and present danger to the safety and health of the people of Guam,"Calvo said. Also Friday, the U.S. government filed a lawsuit against Guam and the island's Chamorro Land Trust Commission, saying the territory's government has violated provisions of the federal Fair Housing Act.
The lawsuit says Guam's Chamorro Land Trust Act, which holds public land for the benefit of the island's indigenous people, has discriminated on the basis of race or national origin, the Pacific Daily News reported.
The territory's law allows the Chamorro people to apply for residential and agricultural leases of that land. The commission also leases some of the land for commercial purposes to non-indigenous people in order to generate revenue.
As an example of the law's discriminating practices, the lawsuit outlined the case of a non-indigenous man married to a Chamorro woman who lost his home on a land-trust plot after his wife died. The lawsuit stated that the commission evicted the man following a hearing on his claim because he was not native to Guam.
The lawsuit asked the federal court to prohibit Guam's practices it claims are discriminatory. The lawsuit also called for monetary damages to be awarded to those harmed by the law.
Calvo said Guam plans to fight the lawsuit. "It's clear that they don't understand or don't care about the reason behind the creation of the Chamorro Land Trust's Commission," Calvo said. "We must allow the native inhabitants of this land the opportunity to build a home and live on their native land and I have no compunction about fighting this out in court." PACNEWS
President Tommy Remengesau Jr. is off to the Our Ocean conference in Malta scheduled from 5 - 6 October 2017. The European Union in a press release said that "Our Ocean conference aims to inspire joint solutions and ambitious commitments in managing seas and oceans — which cover 75% of our planet." Over 700 participants are expected to attend, from more than 60 countries, including more than 50 Heads of State or Government and ministers. Our Ocean 2017 will address the themes of marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate change.
This year, it will also offer a distinctively European flavor by introducing the themes of blue economy and maritime security. Our Ocean will engage participants from around the globe who will make significant commitments. Remengesau in his address before the United Nations General Assembly last month said Palau is committed to achieving the global 2030 agenda to help protect the oceans.
We have created one of the largest protected areas in the World. Within this context, we emphasize our support for a new Implementing Agreement on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity on Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. We have also given our support to the 2016 IUCN Motion 53, promising to work towards designating and effectively implementing at least 30 percent of their national waters as marine protected areas by 2030. In addition, we have committed to action on addressing marine pollution in all forms," Remengesau said. In 2016, Palau signed into law the establishment of the National Marine Sanctuary. The Sanctuary, which encompasses Palau's entire EEZ, prohibits all extractive activities, including foreign fishing and mining in 80 percent of the area, and the remaining 20 percent of the sanctuary will be developed into a domestic-only fishing zone.
To mark the 23rd Independence Day of Palau, a weekend long celebration continued with the annual boat race yesterday and a 45-minute display of spectacular fireworks on Sunday night. Hundreds people packed the capitol for the fireworks and some cultural show as early as Sunday afternoon. Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. in his remarks during the Oct. 1 celebration thanked several nations in their continued partnership with Palau in achieving its development as a sovereign nation. The Palauan Way is a system of sharing and respect. So today, in recognition of the fact that our independence is only as strong as the support that we give to it, and the partnership that we gain as we grow and prosper, we would like to take a brief moment to express our appreciation and thanks to Palau's friends, who have so generously supported our efforts and contributed to Palau's political and economic development," Remengesau said.
He also stressed the need of the people of Palau to unite and speak with one voice ensuring that no Palauan will be left behind. "My 'friends, my fellow Palauans, our nation may be young in the eyes of the world but it is built upon the footings of a strong and vibrant culture and a community that cannot and will not be forgotten. We have always worked together and our Palauan national family will continue to speak in one Voice moving forward. And so in this the Year of the Family, we can be assured of one thing: our nation's future looks birther than ever- together," he said.
Remengesau said Palau has come a long way since its independence with several achievements to boot from its national marine sanctuary, tourism development, fiber optic and an aim to be energy independent through clean energy initiatives. He however said these achievements were possible with friends of Palau assisting is sustainable development such as Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, European Union, private organizations and non-governmental organizations.
Remen.gesau also gave special mention to its longtime ally the United States and reaffirmed its commitment to stand America in its condemnation of North Korea's threat to Guam and the Pacific Region.
"We thank the United States Of America for its constant protection of our country; our region and of the world and stand beside her in her efforts to limit provocative actions by North Korea on our neighbor Guam and the entire Pacific Region," Remengesau stated. The president also continued to stress that the foundation of Palau's development to remain a caring government that is responsive to the needs of its people.
Furthering the work on improving Palau national power grid, Palau Public Utilities Corporation and JICA Study Team signed an MOU outlining expected outcomes of an ongoing study to assess Palau existing power grid and identify improvements it need in order to meet Palau's projected power requirement by 2030.
PPUC CEO Kione Isechal and Mr. Mitsuhisa Nishikawa, head of JICA Project Team consisting of Yachiyo Engineering Co. Ltd, and Kansai Electric Power Co, Inc., signed off on the MOU. JICA Project Team consists of power companies contracted by JICA to make an assessment of Palau's power infrastructure and make recommendations for improvement and expansion.
"This is a part of an ongoing work to improve our national power grid. Basic outcome will include stringing a second line along the power lines between Molokai and Aimeliik power Plant. It will also include power lines from the Capital down the east coast to Airai to provide power lines to an area that is not currently covered.
This will provide PPUC with redundancy so that when power is disrupted, we can switch to another line to prevent what we are experiencing now," stated CEO Isechal. Expected recommendations include improvements and expansion of substations and realignment of power lines along the Babeldaob road. "We were fortunate that this study was able to be incorporated into the grant for renewable energy project.
We informed them that we can't have renewable energy programs if our power grid is not efficient. And they agreed and included this complete as
sessment in that grant." Final report is expected to be completed by early next year.