Wondering why people are afraid. Here is my latest article in Tia Belau I would to offer as a response to your question. I may not satisfy your question but at least you know that I have thought about this problem seriously.
Ngerulmud Let Me Be Free
With loud gun shots and bombs, democracy fought its way into Palau almost at the same time when the Americans beat the Japanese during the deadly WWII. From talking with old people, it would be safe to say that Palauans were very fearful and not willing participants of democracy as we would want to believe. They just quietly accepted and followed what they were told by their American administrators as they did with the Spaniard Christianity, German industrialization, and the Japanese indoctrination. At best they were quiet participants of democracy not fully knowing its precepts (techel a tekoi ma ikel osisecheklel).
Today democracy is deeply engrained in our thinking as it has been implanted in our Constitution forever. But this time it is not the foreigners who we are afraid of but our own OEK. On August 18, 2009 House of Delegates session, loud strong words were shot out of the symbolic dome of democracy at Ngerulmud against two citizens in particular for exercising their freedom of speech. To leave no doubt that views, especially in differing or opposing position to OEK, from the public are not only not welcomed but must be silenced permanently, a powerful congressman likened these two citizens to barking dogs.
The greatest fear for Palauans is retribution in the form of public shame. For a congressman to single out citizens by calling their names during a televised session is a sure way to assassinate the character and reputation of these citizens. I admit that there are only few Palauans, who have the nerve of steel, to stand up and be a target of criticism from the powerful members of OEK. Maybe senators and delegates are not aware but most Palauans are very fearful to express their opinions. One of the reasons why people do not show up to public hearings conducted by OEK for many years already is the fear of being criticized.
If a person like me, who is known to be very vocal in expressing his views, can be disregarded or intentionally be put down in public, ordinary people in the community rather be silent than be subjected to hostility from the mighty OEK. To be called short of being a dog by your own congress is a direct insult and slap to the face of democracy. Only in Palau members of Congress can attack the citizens for exercising their rights as if it was the norm. Yes, I did stand up against a senator who degraded citizens he was having problems with. So for the rest of members of the Congress to tolerate this behavior is a shame and set back on our development as a free nation.
I therefore appeal to senators and delegates to be open and tolerable to diversity of views from the people. And to discipline its members when they feel that they have the right to criticize or put down Palauan citizens for exercising our constitutional right and freedom to free speech. Please allow us to be free to hold views even though they are different or contradictory to members of OEK. This is democracy after all and OEK members swore to defend our rights and freedom. God Bless Palau and let freedom rings in the hearts of every Palauan.
The President in his press conference announced that he will be moving the UN Day national holiday - which falls on October 24, but is observed on Friday October 23 - to October 2, this year after the October 1 Independence Day celebration. Olchotel Belau Fair will take place on October 2 to make a four day holiday celebrations.
President Johnson Toribiong announced during this morning's press conference that he will soon be issuing an executive order to put a cap on the number of foreign laborers coming to Palau. He said the growing population of the foreign workers is a secutiry threat to the people and the country. He drew comparison with CNMI in which the number of foreign workers are now twice as much as the local population and the economy becoming too dependent on them.
A quota of 6,000 foreign workers was the number mentioned by the president.
In addition, the president mentioned that he will also be issuing another executive order halting importation of Bangladeshi workers. The reason, he says is because we have no established diplomatic relation with Bangladesh.
Minister Fritz reported that for the "recorded 6,000 foreign workers only 3,000 reportedly pay their taxes."
Mr. President, maybe it's time you call a time out and get your starting players in order. You will never accomplish anything significant if some of your key assistants are fighting over territorial space or off doing their own thing. This country is worse today than it was six months ago - both financially and otherwise. Crimes are up, there's no money, the infrastructure isn't getting any better and Palauans continue to leave in record numbers.
President Toribiong on August 4 removed from office Margie Bechab and at the same time revoke her commission as Notary Public of Palau...the president said his action was based on the recommendation of the Attorney General...AG's Office has determined after an investigation that Bechab has notarized the labor applications of approximately 44 Filipino fishermen on or about June 5, 2009 without seeing the men or identification from them...Earlier, Alonzo Joseph, Director of Bureau of Economic and Development was charged with 20 counts of criminal offense in connection with the illegal fishing activity os six fishing vessels from Philippines. Joseph who is also the president of PIUDC, a fishing company in Palau was charged...employing non resident workers in violation of the preference to resident workers...the defendant [Joseph] failed to secure labor announcement for 44 Filipino fishermen...did not make prior application to the Division of Labor for foreign workers and did not attempt to give resident workers preference for the fishermen's jobs and did not present copies of any employment contracts prior to entry of the 44 fishermen from the Philippines. (Palau Horizon, August 11-13, 2009)
Ngiraingas said...Ngirkelau’s so called termination was pre-mature and improper because he did not approve the performance rating of Bureau of Public Works Director Techur Rengulbai. A document revealed that Rengulbai reviewed Ngirkelau’s performance and gave him an unsatisfactory rating. Ngiraingas said he did not approve the performance rating because there was no document attached that would explain why Ngirkelau’s performance was unsatisfactory.
Palau Public Utilities Corporation has installed meters and turned on the new streetlights running through the main road of Koror. However, the streetlights will be disconnected if the national government fails to pay the cost which is over $6,00. PPUC installed the meters on Wednesday.
The project to install meters and to power up the streetlights cost the national government of some $6,512.94. Hasinta Nagata, Acting Business Manager for PPUC in her letter to Minister Jackson Ngiraingas of the Ministry of Infrastructure Industries & Commerce said that if they don’t receive payment for the installment of the meters and for the lighting of the streetlights by August 12, they will disconnect the streetlights. PPUC notified the Koror State for the project but Governor Yositaka Adachi replied that national government is responsible for the maintenance of the streetlights located on the Ernguul Road. The Governor stated in his letter to Nagata that the Koror State cannot pay for the streetlights power due to lack of funding. Here.
Mark Bezner, the top American official in Palau, confirmed the State Department was putting together a document spelling out the terms of the Uighurs' stay in Palau. "I expect to have it soon," he said. "We'll be discussing it with the Palauans and then it can be relayed to the Uighurs' attorneys."
A senior U.S. official told The Associated Press that a deal on sending the Uighur detainees to Palau was "close but not yet done." The deal could come soon if there are no last-minute hitches, the official said on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.
Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl, special assistant to Toribiong, said Palau's government so far had not been notified of the developments. "That's news to me," he said. "We will be expecting a note from the U.S."More.
The China Shenyang International, Economic & Technical Cooperation Corporation City Government through its regional agent, Mr. Narciso D. Cauguiran Jr., met with the members of the Ngardmau Free trade zone last week to offer an investment loan of not less than $40 million to develop the Ngardmau port into an international commercial port within the area in Ngardmau State which has been zoned by the act of the OEK to be Palau’s Free Trade Zone...Mr. Cauguiran...prepared to do a feasibility study for this project.The feasibility study would cost $100,000...met with representatives of the Palau National Congress (OEK) at Penthouse on July 27, 2009 to request that OEK appropriate the sum of $ 100,000 to fund the feasibility study and pave the way for the extension of the 40 Million dollars soft loan payable on a long term basis. More.
The proposal by Delegate Basilius seeks to add new provisions to the current law by providing that “any person who makes, and any person who receives a disbursement from the national treasury, in violation of the law shall be guilty of an offense punishable by not more than three months imprisonment or a fine of $1,000 or both. Such a conviction shall be cause of removal of any public official or employee...if approved, will improve financial oversight and ensure audit compliance from the State Governments and the National Government thru the provisions of 40 PNC. Here.
Ombudsman Moses Uludong was charged with one count of forgery for forging a chief’s signature when he filed a libel lawsuit against several individuals including members of the media for reporting that two seats in BaiMelekeong-the highest traditional council of chiefs of Melekeok State have been declared vacant. Here.
Alonso Joseph, Director of Bureau of Economic and Development was charged with 20 counts of criminal offense in connection with the illegal fishing activity of six fishing vessels from Philippines. Here
“The proposal is to bring substantial degree of fairness to the salaries of the officials of three branches of our National Government; and if we have to reduce our salaries then it will be done proportionally based upon the relative weight of the responsibilities of our offices,” the president said. Here.
I have added a new category "Blogroll" to the right sidebar. The new category is to provide ready links and to draw attention to two weblogs that actively generate local content. The recently created "The Belau Blog" which calls itself 'The Official Blog of the President of the Republic of Palau' and the 'A Le Ko Kau Forum' which actually started back in 2007, but had been inactive until recently.
In case you are wondering who administers the two blogs, let me just say that OKEDYULABELUU is already one too many for me.
Palau’s Compact of Free Association Trust Fund has reached $130,551,000. Del. Jonathan Isechal said that the market is picking up because the amount is now over $15 million compared to the lowest amount of $115 million in February. Here.
I am not as web savvy as the other commenters on this site. But, too many times I have blocked other commenters only to see them again trolling this site. And so now comes comment registration. Whether I will make it open again to unregistered comments will be a decision I will take up in the future. In the meantime, you are free to email me with your comments and suggestions.
"It was easy to spend a million dollars campaigning and now they want a salary raise. They should have known beforehand what their getting themselves into like I did. I knew what I was getting myself into and even if I were just provided only with office expense I will continue to do as much. I oppose the salary increase and certainly not in this struggling economy. The salary increase is not consistent with the your announced 10 percent accross the board cut for proposed FY2010. It's not the right time. Bom chelellakl," Diaz said in his Ngerngellecheluu program this morning July 16.
Diaz on other recent occasions has gone on air ridiculing and calling into questions President Toribiong's proposals and decisions. He went-off railing against the president's proposal to revamp the current FIB law, and called Toribiong's decision to accept the Uighurs as akin to "smearing a shit on the face of Palau."
The Malaysian investors who planned to invest here in Palau in 2006 have prevailed in their appeal when the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court reversed the Trial Court's ruling in connection to contempt of court order issued against them in 2007.
The Senate's majority has been shaken by the resignation of Joel Toribiong as chairman of the Senate JGA Committee. Joel's resignation may not be a surprised to some as he has shown his dispelasure of the Senate's leadership, especially with Senate President Tmetuchl who prefers to expends his political capital protecting Diaz instead of looking to push through the backlog of proposed legislations in the Senate. Mlib's faction is said to be uneasy with his preoccupation of shielding Diaz, that as they have admitted have put senate in the negative light.
The Senate may not be far away from changing hands.
But the head of Palau's negotiating team, Joshua Koshiba, said the offer to take the Chinese detainees was "a positive for the negotiation" on the compact.
"I can point my finger at them now and say, 'See, we are helping you too, without asking for help only,"' Koshiba told AP.
If the U.S. doesn't agree to Palau's new terms, Koshiba said, his country will weigh its options.
"When you have a friend, if they don't want to be your friend anymore, what do you do? Don't you look for another friend?" Koshiba said.
Mark Bezner, the top U.S. official in Palau who will also take part in the talks, called the extension request "a radical departure" from previous discussions but said Washington would consider any proposal made by the Palauans. Story here.