With 170 votes to 85 for the recently impeached ex-governor Schwartz Tudong, former OEK Delegate Akiko Sugiyama has won a run-off in the Ngardmau special election to fill the unfinished term of Schwartz Tudong.
As were told by despedall and ngaraboes on the conviction of Gov. Elmis Mesubed. This morning's issue of Island Times (May 25 - 31) is reporting that in crimnal case No. 05-208, the court found Mesubed guilty of 99 counts - 13 counts of grand larceny, 10 counts of forgery, 10 counts of conspiracy, 4 counts of embezzelment, 14 counts of violations and 52 counts of misconduct in public office...The case showed "that Mesubed was convicted of paying his karaoke bar tabs at the Lake Restaurant totalling $11,057.60 with 10 Ngiwal State Treasury checks payable primarily to Hanpa Industrial Development Company (HIDC), which falsely stated that they were payments for building materials...and of cashing several Ngiwal State checks and converting to personal use..."
Convicted on 106 counts not 99 as I initially stated.
Tmewang Rengulbai, former governor of Airai is now facing civil charges before the trial division of the Supreme Court for disbursing government funds for personal purposes. SP Walton has filed five counts of code of ethics violation against Governor Tmewang Rengulbai and chairman of ASPLA, and member of the board of PNCC...The complaint stated on March 3, 2005 Rengulbai issued the Bank of Hawaii check amounting to $1,050 to pay Carnival Restaurant. The check was made to pay karaoke bar tab for five persons, including $400 for 20 drinks for five female employees at $20 each, $160 for room charge and $300 for Cognac drinks.
On Sept. 27, 2002 Rengulbai reportedly used the PNCC credit card issued to him to pay for the $2,042.21 hotel bill of Sen. Harry Fritz. This even as Fritz recieved advanced per diem expenses for food and lodging for the trip to attend the convention.
On March. 27, 2007 [sic] Rengulbai allegedly signed and approved a bill which purports to ratify of his payment in considerable amount as chairman of ASPLA in conneciton with thte Oikull Golf Course project.
Sometimes in June and July, 200, Rengulbai expended $2,982.45 of Airai State government funds for clothing, travel, registration and other items for the Airai contestant in the Miss Palau pageant. Another $175 disbursement of Airai State government funds for his ticket and for his wife and others to attend the Miss Palau pageant.
Senate's yesterday morning session as seen on cable tv last night. I am quoting from memory.
Sen. Koshiba in Senate session yesterday, "Tirkel chad el mle saing ra recall petition a re-dengerenger. Ng sebechemiu el tuobed e kmu el uasei ak dilung a ikang, te dengerenger el chad tirkel mle saing er tial petition."
To which Sen. Asanuma responded: "Ng diak do mekdakt ra rechad ra beluu e leng dirkak a llach el blal temellii."
Sen. Seid: "Mei me dirrek el bo desa sel lemeltel a Diaz el express himself. Ng dirrek el dirkak a llach el blal temellii."
Senate VP Tmetuchl: "Ng di soak louchais el kmo a uchul meng mlo diak sel trip er kid el mora Ngarchelong, kede milngiil ra Senator Asanuma."
Sen. Asanuma: "Mei me kulengit me sel dorael moldingel aikal beluu e lak bo dobang el kora mo campaign. Te ngarngii rekid sel bekiis el mo mengedecheduch e te ousbech ra techall el bai di mesisiich el mesaod er tir el melasem omult a udesuir a rechad. Meng kora diak lungil teletael a bocha dousbech aikal temed loldingel el meruul ra campaign er kid." Probably in reference to Sen. Diaz on the subject of recall.
Sen. Seid: "Ak take note er sel comment ra Sen. Asanuma, eng di ng dirrek sel de ngara ikal lodingel e ngmo meringel er rekid a control ra rechad a longedecheduch. Ng dirrek sel loker a ker e ngdiak el ungil a debecherei a ker e lak bo do nger er ngii. Ng kired el mo nger e mo ungil smaod el mora rechad. Me becherei ea executive meeting e kede mo ungil smodii a mo teletelel a ikal meeting er kid lobengkel a ikal bekl state."
ROPGov still the largest employer. According to the 2005 COFA Report, Palau born workers constituted about 54 percent of the workforce compared with 47 percent in 2000. About 56 percent of the workforce is engaged in the public sector and the remining 44 percent are in the private sector. Total employment in 2005 was 9,777 including 5,321 locals and 4,456 foreigners while the unemployed was 426 including 355 locals and 71 foreigners.
U.S envoy to UN John Bolton thanked Palau for its consistent support to the U.S concerns particularly on international issues during a meeting last week with Minister of State Temmy Shmull.
Passed on second reading. A bill introduced a by Sen. Joshua Koshiba to help limit the expenses of the national government by requiring the sale of of all ROPGov boats and placing the restricitons on purchase of any boats. Except for the Bureau of Public Safety, Bureau Marine Resource, and the Judiciary.
Senator Alfonso Diaz wins Tourism Excellence Award. In a surprise gathering held at PPR on Saturday evening the PVA Board members and PVA Managing Director Darin DeLeon presented Diaz with the first ever Tourism Excellence Award for promoting the PVA's Lak Molub (don't spit) campaign.
More durable road. BPW Director Masasinge Arurang assured the people that the ongoing fixing of potholes will be more durable this time than usual. This after arrival of the long-awaited asphalt primer in Palau last May 12.
New ROP envoy to PI. Ramon Rechebei, former director of Bureau of International Trade and Technical Assistance was sworn-in last Friday as Palau's second Ambassador to the Phillipines.
After the HOD majority members called for an investigation to "clear the air" on the allegations against Remengesau and members of his administration. Now the minority bloc of the HOD has asked their leadership to clean their own backyard first before looking into other's backyard...They said that before investigation of other government officials are made, the House's officials should be probed first.
"Before we even move to consider and investigate any matters, now assigned to certain House Committees, we humbly request that we first review and investigate existing dishonorable actions committed by certain members of the HOD." said a letter signed by Dels. Ngirturong, Anastacio, Patris, Isechal, Ngiraiwet, Carlos, Gulibert. "Sometimes, as relatives, friends and colleaques, it is extremely hard to take disciplinary or corrective actions against one another. The House has set the standard for good governance and transparency in the government. We either lower the standard to accomodate any member or continue to maintain the same high standard," the seven delegates said.
Minister of State Temmy Shmull and Director of Bureau of Public Health Dr. Steven Kuartei have been appointed by the President Remengesau to the Compact Review Commission following the Senate's rejection to the appointment of Ambassador Stuart Beck and Surangel Whipps,Jr.
Akiko Sugiyama the first and only women to serve in the OEK HOD and the recently impeached governor Schwartz Tudong will face a run-off election on May 25 for the top executive post of Nardmau. Both finished in the top two during the primary election with Sugiyama getting 101 votes and Tudong with 65 votes.
Among thousands of Air Force personnel in the United States, a daughter of Airai has made it on top after being selected as one of the five Airmen chosen to recieve the 2006 Team of the Year Award. Airman First Class Ashley N. Sakurai a resident of Airai, distinguished herself as a Serice Journeyman with the 35th Service Squadron, 35th Mission Group, 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa Airbase, Japan from January 2005 to December 31, 2005.
After 19 years at Palau Community College as Dean of Students. Mr. Presley Etibek has been announced as the new administrator for the Civil Service Pension Plan taking over over from Acting Administrator Mr. Emiel Maui. The position was vacated when then Administrator Yositaka Adachi was elected Governor of Koror State.
The trial of Ngiwal Governor Elmis Mesubed came to an end today Friday (May 12). Mesubed was charged by the SP with one hundred counts of Grand Larceny, Foregry, Conspiracy, Cheating, Embezzelment, Code of Ehtics violations, and Misconduct in Public Office relating to his disbursements of Ngiwal government funds of over $10,000 from year 2000 to early part of 2005.
Letter to the Editor TIA BELAU NEWSPAPER Tel (680) 488 6385 Fax (680) 488 4810 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Koror, Republic of Palau
Recall of Senator Alfonso Diaz is Part of a Larger Objective in Addressing a Serious Crisis of Legitimacy among Government Leadership, of Championing Leadership Accountability, and Improving Public Governance -- In a recent message posted to a web log page (or blogging page), an online journal where people post messages and read other peoples’ thoughts, one Belau reader responded to my May 4, 2006 letter-to-the-editor of a Belau newspaper. The person reflects on Mr. Alfonso Diaz’s rise and falls from power and elaborates on some of the reasons that the people of Belau rallied behind Mr. Diaz after several unsuccessful runs to the Senate. According to the blogger: “here’s WHY the public decided to put him there: 1) pity him; 2) let’s see what he can do; 3) is he a leader.” The blogger adds, “and so the PEOPLE OF PALAU decided to give him a CHANCE to be at the helm…Diaz never looked at this as a CHANCE…to win peoples' minds and hearts through "ungil el cheldecheduch ma omelekoi"... instead, he became, above the law, in Palau." (http://okedyulabeluu.typepad.com/okedyulabeluu. Accessed May 8, 2006). I agree with this blogger. Those who voted ultimately to get Mr. Diaz elected to Senate were right on target. They saw an “underdog” who was persistent and who embodied some of what they saw as important characteristics of a true leader who could represent and speak for them in government. They rallied around him and got him to where he is. Unfortunately, Mr. Diaz didn’t realize the significance of the people’s yearnings for representation in government as a larger sense of betrayal from a generation of political leaders who had much to promise and nothing much else! The blogger’s thoughts reminded me of a passage from the German sociologist and philosopher Walter Benjamin's essay, “Theses on the Philosophy of History” which is relevant to understanding Mr. Diaz's fall from grace. Benjamin was writing in another time under very different circumstances, but generally he wrote about how to understand the deeper significance of History in rallying the masses of people around their countries' raison d’étre (their national sense of purpose) in order to get their “house in order,” so to speak, and improve their governance systems. Benjamin also offered advice on how new leaders and their political parties should act when they come into power: be careful to stay close to the real needs of the nation and address the concerns of the people without also employing the oppressive and cruel tactics of the hated Rulers who had served before. A famous passage from Walter Benjamin's “Theses on the Philosophy of History” that has been used and or interpreted in many ways under differing circumstances is that when people utilize History, they pick bits and pieces of the Past (History) to justify their actions in the Present when particular moments of danger appear. But in borrowing bits and pieces of the Past, we must be careful because we can never predict the outcome of what we conjure up. Benjamin wrote about these dangers and how, in many situations, what we do Today, based on how we understand our Past to have been, can turn out so badly for some people. He wrote: “The danger affects both the content of the tradition and its receivers. The same threat hangs over both: that of becoming the tool of the ruling class.” Benjamin went on to write something that has become so very crucial to understanding political legitimacy in our time: “In every era the attempt must be made anew to wrest tradition away from a conformism that is about to overpower it. The Messiah comes not only as the redeemer, he comes as the subduer of the Antichrist.” (See Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” in Illuminations, translated by Hannah Arendt (New York: Schocken, 1969), p.225). These are symbolic language, full of Christian imagery and symbolism. But it means essentially that we have to be very careful every time we try and justify our political programs or our illegitimate hold on Power. The conventional Christian understanding of the “Messiah” is that he comes to redeem. But a Messiah must do more than just redeem. He or she must actively subdue or suppress or hold back instincts to coerce, repress, and subjugate. This was NOT only true in late-1890s to mid-1950s Germany when Walter Benjamin lived; it is also true in Italy, or America or the Middle East, or China, or anywhere else for that matter. Someone, or some groups, which proclaims an Alternative to the Status Quo, must not just come bearing glad tidings and proclaiming to serve and assist in the recovery of the valuable things we have lost. They must also learn the art of suppressing the instincts to rule and oppress people, and practice this art. They must come to “redeem” as well as to “subdue the Antichrist,” so to speak. Here the “Antichrist” implies all the terrible and awful characteristics inherent in all societies and in all people. How best to “subdue the Antichrist,” in this case, than to freely and fairly engage with the public about how best to rule and govern a nation, respecting the dignity of each citizen that we engage with, honoring their human rights and civil and political rights as well as learning all Best-Practices for creating strong, healthy, and democratic communities. This appears to be the proverbial hole that Mr. Alfonso Diaz not only fell into but which he sloppily and hastily dug himself into. In just two years in office, Mr. Diaz turned a blind eye to the sympathetic voters who elected him into office, and began to see himself as one endowed with a mandate to rule as a Tyrant. He intimidated, harassed, and ridiculed so many citizens who were merely interested in participating in the big Democratic experiment in Belau. He issued a threat against me simply because I pursued a long line of questioning that requested some accounting of why the public was not consulted on one particular public policy matter that he introduced in the Senate. I interpreted his threat as serious enough to suffice as a death threat and reported it to the police where I live. And Mr. Diaz made such a mockery of the political process in Belau that I fear many people have become cynics, the most dangerous outcome in one’s political outlook and attitudes. He has, in essence, forced this upon himself and there is no one but himself who must accept responsibility for such wayward leadership. Thus it is in the interest of resuscitating a dying idea (that of Participatory Democracy) that the young professionals in Belau now see themselves as providing the life-giving breath! I take this opportunity to express appreciation to the Founders of the group “VOICES” for their courage and vision in endeavoring to ensure that all voices of Belau peoples are heard as well as to establish alternative means of advocacy of public policies that reflect the needs, concerns, and desires of many in the community. This is a timely Initiative and, no doubt, will prove to be significant in the long term as we slowly learn about and adopt features of genuine Democracy in Belau. I hope people in Belau will learn to accept the fact, seen throughout our short history as a new nation that young people will always be in the forefront of momentous events that continue to shape our national character as a republic. Back in the mid-1960s and then again in the late-1970s, we can safely point out those who agitated for Belau sovereignty as the young or relatively young individuals who courageously stood up and became our leaders and Founders of our nation. So it is that 20-some years after our nation’s founding, relatively young professionals are at it again, doing what young Belau professionals are good at: courageously standing up to entrenched “oligarchy.” (An oligarchy is defined as a “government by a few,” or a “political system governed by a few people,” or those “people making up such a government.”) These young professionals deserve our support, as they agitate for responsible leadership models and more effective governance, the kinds that respond dynamically to the concerns of the people. It is unfortunate that in spite of the tremendous progress our republic has achieved in the past 2 decades of nation-building, there are strong feelings that the instruments of political governance in Belau have been hijacked by a few powerful people who rule with little recourse to any careful consideration of the thoughts and concerns of many segments in the society. How else can we explain the increased cases of failed leadership at State and National levels? I refer, in this case, to an April 13, 2006 Palau Horizon Op/Ed piece written by Agnes M. Abrau and published on the website of Marianas Variety that speaks to diminishing leadership credibility in Belau. (See “Credibility Check,” http://www.mvariety.com Accessed May 8, 2006). As gloomy as things look, this is the situation which has given birth to the “VOICES” organization. We cannot overlook this fact. As many Belau people know from experience, we have done little in terms of demanding accountability from many officials we’ve elected to office. There has been a proliferation of complaints over time but, so far, no one group has sought to systematize these fragmented grievances into a well-orchestrated and coordinated ensemble of voices that register any political significance, and which might have the potential to influence political discourse and improve public governance in Belau. Therefore, the creation of “VOICES” is a hopeful sign. If we agree that something positive must be done to influence politics for the better and generally support good initiatives that begin to create the momentum for such a positive direction, then I suppose we should at the very least support this new group. I am certain that the group's goals will continue to evolve in order to address the growing needs of a public campaign to improve governance in government. According to one Founding member, ‘VOICES’ was established to ensure that the ‘Voices of the People’ are heard. Additionally, VOICES is established to lobby for political reforms and so that policies established by our leaders, who we the people elected - REFLECT our needs." She went on to say, So many times, we ‘elect’ leaders....but we do not hold them accountable for their actions in their leadership… The problem lies in us....’we the people’—we chose them.....but we did not make them accountable to us... We speak of ‘good governance’ [and] ‘transparency’ [but] sometimes it is so transparent [when] a leader is doing wrong… yet, we ‘the people’ keep quiet, we don’t take initiative [and or] actions in preventing abuse in the governance of our people. (Ms. Imelda Nakamura, Email communications to University of Hawaii Bridge list, February 16, 2006). I hope the reader can begin to see the bigger goals, the “big picture,” so to speak, of what the Recall of Senator Alfonso is about. There is a serious crisis of legitimacy among Belau’s political leadership. Those who are elected (with some exceptions, for sure) see public office as a means to obtain ill-gotten wealth. Along the way, unfortunately, they became drunk with an arrogance that Power bestows. When those who obtain absolute Power begin to think they possess Power exclusively of the forces that put them there, they become vulnerable to the corrupting influence of Power. In too many cases, Power easily corrupts them. “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely, Great men are almost always bad men,” wrote Lord Acton, a British historian, in 1887. Without doubt, “absolute power corrupts absolutely!” The accouterments of Power tend to easily corrupt the hearts and souls of great and less significant men alike. However, Absolute Power cannot rule indefinitely. Throughout history we learn that individuals to organizations to entire nations cannot rule indefinitely. The Roman Empire thought it could rule forever. But it came and went. Nations after nations have come and gone because “powerful” leaders have refused to listen to and give heed to the concerns of the people they have ruled over. Back around 1986 when I was serving a Christian mission in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, I attended an Area Church conference in Slidell, Louisiana. A speaker at that conference spoke about the Soviet Union and how we would see in a not-too-distant future the falling down of the “Iron Curtain” and the opening of Soviet Union to Christianity. I scoffed at the overconfidence of the speaker and relegated his so-called prophecy to foolish and misguided Christian exuberance! Just 3 years later when I had completed serving my Church mission and was attending college in Hawaii in 1989, the whole world witnessed the tearing down of the “Iron Curtain” and the break-up of the old Soviet Union. I recall sometime later hearing about the mess this created among nations as they debated where the Soviet cosmonauts in space were going to land back on earth! While they were suspended in space, exploring the heavens, their world had shattered and, for a time, they had no functioning country of their own to which they could land. How flimsy are “accepted wisdom” of the times when we consider the survivability of conventional wisdom that serve as foundation to national existences, political ideologies, and tenure at the helm of politics and public office and Imperial centers. These come and go. They are as transient as the seasons of the year in some places. With this idea of impermanence in mind, any sense of permanence is mere illusion. The only enduring idea that lasts is we serve short leadership stints--some of us do--because we serve at the beck-and-call of the publics of our countries. I suppose that “Representative Government” systems are not so well understood in Belau. They are proclaimed as Propaganda more than they are practiced. How else do we explain the “Unrepresentative” types of governing that happen so frequently among our so-called leaders? We have to find hopes from somewhere to sustain us in these tough times. Most times the hopes are to be found inside of us. I am reminded of William Faulkner’s acceptance speech when he was awarded the Noble Prize for Literature in December 1950. There is some relevance in Faulkner’s speech here. Describing his belief in the hope that man will not surrender easily to the dictates of Power, Mr. Faulkner proclaimed: “I refuse to accept the end of man… It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure...but after all [is said and done,] even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking…I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail...” (http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/faulkner/faulkner.html Accessed May 8, 2006). Amidst the babble of chatter and rants, amidst the endless Official restraints put on man's creativity to express his thoughts and give literary form to his experiences, Faulkner declared, is where we find man’s “puny, inexhaustible voice, still talking.” Still talking, that is! Talking endlessly without fear, Speaking truth to Power! For us, I submit, the challenges are the same. We must speak truth often and always, never ending, never despairing. Transgressors of the status quo we must be! We must not be held back by autocratic rules and circumstances that proscribe ways of expressing our disagreements against bad leadership, public corruption, poor governance, etc, etc. The Senate of the Seventh Olbiil Era Kelulau’s own Declaration of Legislative Agenda speaks constructively of the Senate’s commitments to its legislative duties and advocates, with hopeful anticipation, each Senator’s responsibilities toward the citizens of Belau: The members of the Senate must ensure that their conduct is legal and ethical at all times. The Senators can take the lead in exemplifying dedication to our country and the importance of ethical responsibility, not only for the Olbiil Era Kelulau, but for the other branches of government as well. All of us, whether elected, appointed, or otherwise employed in a government job, must show the people that our sense of duty and government ethics is strong, and that we will never place our own interests above those of the people we work for. (See “The Olbiil Era Kelulau Senate Declaration of Legislative Agenda,” http://oek.palaunet.com Accessed May 8, 2006). Moreover, each Senator is advised to review the requirements of Belau’s Code of Ethics Act (RPPL #5-32) as well as seek the advice of the Senate’s legal counsel and the Ethics Commission for information on potentially confusing matters of ethics. Thus, we wonder how it is that having fashioned such high aspirations for itself as well as created resources for improving its conduct, the Senate can still so dramatically fail us. The case of Senator Alfonso Diaz is extraordinary: it is both anomalous in its uniqueness as well as representative of the larger crisis of legitimacy among leaders in Belau. It is the latter issue that matters most to all of us citizens of Belau. Many of our leaders have become Arrogant and Out of Touch with the people they were elected by and are sworn to serve. So we must not waiver and easily surrender our right to participate freely in our political system. Our voices may be “puny” compared with those who have Power and money to carry their weight around like 800-pound gorillas! But ours shall be “inexhaustible voices, still talking.” We must continue to speak truth to Power in Koror and anywhere else in Belau because the fate of our Island Nation is at stake. Lastly, I advertise the succession of the original Bridge list, created back in September 1996 after KB Bridge collapsed. We now have Bridge2. I am the Founder of the 1996 list and the 2006 list. We have been around for nearly a decade, discussing and debating the issues that matter to us as Belau people in this new era. We have learned much in the past 10 years and commit ourselves to sharing and exploring how Belau can trail new democratic paths into the future. We have an open policy and are committed to promoting Democracy at home and amongst ourselves as we discuss issues of national importance.
The Bridge list has been written about and published on the website of UNESCO. http://www.unesco.org/csi/pub/papers2/siv8.htm On behalf of the Bridge2 list, I invite everyone to join us. Mesulang.
The Election Commission said yesterday that a special election to determine whether to recall Sen. Diaz from office is set on June 28 of this year... "The Election Commission has determined that the petition to recall Senator Diaz filed earlier on May 1, 2006 contains more than the minimum number of signatures required under Article IX Section 17 of the Constitution," A statement from the Election Commission said.
This letter responds to the article, "Palau speaker defends legal counsel," by Agnes M. Abrau, published in your paper on Thursday, May 4, 2006 and posted online on The Marianas Variety website.
First of all, I thank the paper for publishing the story and for endeavoring to get the facts straight. I also thank OEK House Speaker Augustine Mesebluu for clarifying what is at stake in this troubling case.
This whole ordeal began, in part, via innocent back-and-forth email communications back in December 2005 among subscribers of the Bridge list, a University of Hawaii-based email listserv created in the aftermath of the KB Bridge collapse in 1996, of which I am the Founder and Co-manager. I want to offer my part of the story and quickly provide some context as to why Ms. Imelda Nakamura and her friends and colleagues are now being bullied and harassed so mercilessly by Senator Alfonso Diaz.
We were innocently discussing the 99-year land lease proposal that Senator Alfonso Diaz and his colleagues were discussing in the OEK Senate in December 2005. We were concerned that there appeared to be little or no effort made to consult the public about this issue and we suggested that Mr. Diaz consider seeking some public input. We were surprised to see the reaction by Mr. Diaz. He took offense at our suggestion and when we sought more clarification of his position on this and requested that the public be consulted on such a crucial public policy matter, Mr. Diaz grew restive, impatient, and progressively hostile at us. He began to systematically throw insults at every member of the Bridge list who questioned him. He resorted to all sorts of insults, verbal abuse, and rudeness in order to smear those who disagreed with him or questioned his ability to represent the people of Belau as a Senator. At one time, he denigrated a family member of mine as an attempt to de-legitimize my message and even issued a threat, to be carried out by him, his sons, and some criminal syndicates in Hawaii, a threat which I interpreted as a death threat and which I dutifully reported to the Honolulu Police Department. I still keep records of all these email messages in case there is a need to consider their veracity.
Back in Belau, Mr. Diaz continued to harass and or insult folks who disagreed with him including Ms. Imelda Nakamura and her colleagues. They, in turn, were compelled to create the Voices organization and then to subsequently spearhead the Recall Petition to Remove Mr. Alfonso Diaz from the Senate. But their reasons for moving ahead were independent of my own complaints which I shared with other Bridge list subscribers but did not report to the proper Belau authorities. Much of Senator Diaz’s insults and harassments have revolved around this coordination of the Petition to recall himself.
Such has been the sad and shameful origin of this whole ordeal. I am sure Mr. Diaz is a nice man. To be clear, what he holds as grudges against other people are his personal business and should not concern all of us. But as an elected Senator who issues verbal insults, who harasses, intimidates, bullies, and terrorizes citizens who demand answers and clarifications of important public policy matters, we cannot simply walk away and turn a blind eye to this atrocious case of bad leadership. This ought to be a simple case of recalling out of office an elected official who has become, as they say, “drunken with the arrogance of power,” thinking himself above and beyond the reach of law.
What complicates matters more is the fact that Mr. Diaz has a convenient “bully pulpit” in the use of his radio station wherefrom he issues vitriolic condemnations of any one who parts company with him on serious matters that demand a great deal of intellectual energy to understand. Members of the public are threatened with the public disclosures of their identities for even daring to voice their political beliefs. This can only set in motion the demise of Democracy, if we allow it to happen. Simply, Mr. Diaz makes a mockery of the public space—the airwaves and, consequently, in other public spaces—wherein we can engage freely and fairly with each other on matters crucial to the well-being of the Republic of Belau. If he wishes to retain his radio station, he has the right to do it. But he does not have the right to serve in the Belau National Congress House of Senate and use such platform to issue threats against citizens of Belau. What kind of society would we claim to have when we allow this sort of nonsense to prevail?
Mr. Diaz’s effort to de-legitimize Ms. Imelda Nakamura’s public activities sadly continues a pattern he has characterized himself to operate from within—he seriously misunderstands the role of an elected leader. And when free citizens seek to practice their Constitutional rights to be able to engage democratically with their leaders, Mr. Diaz undermines these citizens’ efforts.
Regarding allegiance, the House of Delegates, which Ms. Imelda serves as Legal Counsel, in turn, serves the people of the Republic of Belau. Each Member and Agent of this Congressional body is required to maintain the oaths and duties of their office. Ultimately though they serve the people of the Republic and while, they must maintain some objectivity and professionalism in the conduct of their responsibilities, they ought to be free to maintain multiple allegiances within the community as long as they do not violate the rules of their office and do not violate the laws. One’s modus operandi may be different from the next person, but ultimately the allegiance is to the people of Belau. There is nothing so very wrong with the different ways we operate as long as we seek to serve the people of Belau. Ms. Imelda Nakamura has not violated any laws except she has sought to serve the constituencies that members of both Houses of the Olbiil Era Kelulau are sworn to serve.
Mr. Diaz, caught in a bind that he has disgracefully put himself into, seeks now to restrict the conceptual understanding of who serves whom in the Olbiil Era Kelulau. What he is doing maligns and denigrates what Belau considers to be sacred in the designation of their National Congress. It is referred to as "The House of Whispers" for a reason; the designation refers to the entire System of Belau Values that teaches us of the sacredness of dealing fairly and honestly with each other that we learn from Belau’s cosmology of cultural values. Where we gather, even in a large building or public space, we whisper to each other because we respect each other’s dignity and acknowledge the presence of gods and the spirits of our Ancestors amongst ourselves. (Incidentally, one can learn about some of these things in Richard J. Parmentier's book, The Sacred Remains: Myth, History, and Polity in Belau, Univ of Chigaco Press, 1987).
Judging by the way he thinks, acts and behaves toward others in the course of conducting the business of our Government, Mr. Diaz has proven himself to be irrelevant and inconsequential to the process of governing Belau. What he does now—by intimidating bullying, terrorizing others—is so trivial, so petty.
Personally, I feel no wrath toward, or fear retribution from, Senator Diaz, a man woefully beset by the demons of his own soul, so much so that he lives out the credo of his frightened Being, the frightening condition of his undiscovered potential. There is no fear but that of his refusal to grow out of, and evolve from, his childish fears so that he can meet and face up to me or any of his critics and say "thank you" for being a fearless champion of the many truths that set us free, that liberate us from the tyranny of our own fears.
We are human beings after all; we are no different from the many human beings who live anywhere else on this planet. We grow up with the demons of our own childhood, created and sustained by the irrational beliefs we choose to hold onto, even against all reason, even against the necessity to reform ourselves when good sense prevails.
He has served his purpose already. We need to remove him out of office.
Thank you for publishing this in your newspaper. We must be intellectually honest and allow all sides of the story to be told without fear or bias. This way, a Democracy can begin to grow and thrive. Thank you very kindly and in advance.
Richard Salvador A voting Belau citizen Honolulu, Hawaii