Last night for the first time this festival I was able to join the big crowd at the Asahi Ballfield in reveling the magnificent dance performance from the Solomon Islands men who are as pretty much everyone can all agree are clearly the stars of this festival. With their costume dreadlocks and dressed in their traditional grass skirts, with their legs below the knee and arms above the elbow decorated with the same grass material making their fast rythm movement graceful and blend in with the music. A group of eight dancers all playing music with bamboo pipes in a variety of forms. Pipes are played in sets of seven as wind-instruments. Producing a flute like melodic sounds. Four others while not dancing are hitting lengths of bamboo with a rubber thong (soles of sories) that produces a range of sound including a somewhat double-bass boom.
The main stage at the Asahi Ballfield is set in the left field of the ballpark where the crowd prefer to sit on the grass and be close to the action than watching it from the bleachers 150 feet away. Evidently, more people moves in closer to the action when the men's troupe from the Solomons dance. I saw Bilung Gloria Salii coming in just for that performance. Not only Bilung is attracted to the music and dance from the our Melanesian neighbors likewise hordes of others are doing just the same. People can be seen carrying program schedule on their hands, constantly checking out when and where is their next favorite act, be it poetry recital, Jam houz music, natural history tour, arts work, tattooing, etc. It is very hard for me to really describe the atmosphere here at this festival. All I can say is that it is just incredible.
A ildois er a rechad el mle omes er tial ngeiul a chesmerel a 9th Festival of the Pacific Arts a kmal mle klou seked. A osengek er ngii e nglocha diak el boriou er a euang el telalel (4,000+) el chad a mlar tial ceremony. Aikal erung el siasing el ngariou a ochotii sel chelsel a grandstand el sebechel medengchekelterir a bekord edei el telael el chad.
Seked er a uchellel tial opening ceremony. A welcoming tribute el mor tikang el guest er kid a blel perform er ngii a rengalek er a betok el elementary skuul er a Belau.
Tirkang el momes er tir a bebil er rechad er ikal kakerous el beluu el ngara blechobech el mo tmuu er a kurand (Track and Field)
In a full ad to the Tia Belau and Palau Horizon newspapers titled "A message from PNCC to the People of Palau". It says, "PNCC has no choice but to lower the long distance rates and seek increased rates for local phone service".
This has come in the heels of a new competition from SmartCall, a company formed by group of Palauans to take on PNCC in the long distance calling market.
The ad says in part, "Due to toll competition coming to Palau, The Board of Directors if Palau Natinal Communication Corporation is forced to re-structure basic telephone rates to cover the true basic cost of providing local phone service.
PNCC long distance rates to most destinations worldwide will be reduced to 35 cents per minute and 28 cents to the Phillipines.
Therefore, PNCC will finally be forced to propose rate increases for local telephone service...the residential rates will have to be increased above $30 per month (currently at $11/month) to offset the cost of competitive toll."
It further states that "PNCC believes that private long distance service providers operating in Palau in association with foreign telephone companies do not serve the public good. They revenue they earn will benefit only a few select private and foreign interests, instead of the entire citizenry of Palau."
A bill sponsored by Del. William Ngiraikelau seeks to limit the term of the Special Prosecutor from the current 5 years to 4 years and shall coincide with the term of the Senate. This is the latest attempt by the OEK to subvert the roles of the Office of Special Prosecutor.
Ever since Special Prosecutor Walton turned up embarrassing records that members of the OEK have been misusing public funds (official expense) for personal gain. The OEK members has never lost a moment in trying to come up with ways to weaken or abolish the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Their previous effort of abolising the SP's Office by tansfering its functions to the ethics commission was met with public outrage.
It is worth to remember that Del. Ngiraikelau, the intoducer of the proposed bill was was sued by SP for allegedly spending public money. One of the charges was a personal junket with his wife on a visit to San Francisco.
An audit by the Office of Public Auditor (OPA) has found that the board members and corporate officers of PNCC including the general manager and assistant general managers are recieving free cellular phone services. The report further added that certain staff members are provided with $20 a month discount on unlimited service plan. While others also recieve $50 a month governmental plan.
Report states that PNCC paid $12,443 on behalf of its board members and employees from a period between November 1, 2001 through September 2002. The Office of Public Auditor recommended suspension of the free and discounted cellular phone services to PNCC board and its employees.
Delegate Joel Toribiong has introduced a proposed legislation that would limit marriage to be between two persons of the opposite sex. Saying that "marriage should only be between man and woman; for these two individuals to have children and become a family that produces and maintains the Republic , as such, a marriage that provides the prosperity and longevity of our nation".
Vice President Pierantozzi in a what seems to be a well timed election year move has come out with bill introduced at HOD to establish a medical insurance plan for all residents of Palau.
VP Pierantozzi said that the insurance is to be funded from a revenue derived by imposing a 1 percent tax on all food items brought into the country.
The basic medical coverage as in the proposed bill includes: hospital care and benefits; surgical care and treatments; medical care and treatments; obstetrical care; prescribed drugs; medicines and prosthetics; and supplements services; supplies and services in accordance with the bill. However those who wish to have major coverage may purchase their own prvate plans.
I just want to know how much all of the above would cost in a given year? And how much would a one percent tax on all imported food items be in terms of dollars?
A case brought by seven senators against the Ministry of Finance for ceasing to release the additional $1000 payout to lawmakers as official expense allowance has been dismissed by Associate Justice Barry Michelsen.
Only Senator Dengokl and Senator Whipps were not party to the case.