Associate Justice Materne in her ruling agreed with Chiang’s contentionthat his original attorney, prominent Palau lawyer Johnson Toribiong, failed to “adequate represent Chiang” during the trial. Story here.
Results of a Tia Belau random telephone opinion poll of 182 adults ranging in age from 23 - 77 from all states in Palau from Angaur to Kayangel except Sonsorol and Hatohobei. The poll was conducted on December 19, 2007. There were 88 females and 94 males, 75 of whom are national or state employees, 52 retirees, 35 self-employed, and twenty unemployed.
Three questions in Palauan were asked of the respondents about three candidates - Camsek Chin, Johnson Toribiong, and Surangel Whipps who have announced to run for president in 2008.
1. Which of the three do you trust as honest who will not abuse public funds or enrich himself if elected president? 1) Surangel - 112 2) Johnson - 36 3) Camsek - 34
2. Which of the three do you believe has the necessary education, education, skill, and experience to lead the government as president, in the next four years? 1) Johnson - 108 2) Camsek - 41 3) Surangel - 33
3. If you are to vote today which one of the three will you elect as president? 1) Johnson - 64 2) Camsek - 60 3) Surangel - 47
Similar poll taken four months ago had the same ranking and there appears to no marked change, even though Johnson and Camsek are heating up their campaigns while Surangel has not even started except telling newspapers that he is definitely in the race.
Results of a Tia Belau random telephone opinion poll of 182 adults ranging in age from 23 - 77 from all states in Palau from Angaur to Kayangel except Sonsorol and Hatohobei. The poll was conducted on December 19, 2007. There were 88 females and 94 males, 75 of whom are national or state employees, 52 retirees, 35 self-employed, and twenty unemployed. Questions in Palauan were asked of respondents with the answers below.
What is the most important event (positive or negative) that occured in Palau in 2007?
The traditional chiefs of Ngarchelong met on December 21 to address concerns raised by many individuals about Ngarchelong's territorial waters moratorium...During the meeting, Chief Uong er Etei Victor Joseph told of the concerns he recieved regarding the moratorium...the chiefs were asked to review the moratorium again and consider abolishing it - or at least propose an alternative...many of the chiefs were adamant, questioning the integrity of the concerns of the people...the chiefs decided that the moratorium remains in effect and that further concerns about it will be addressed when the need be and through appropriate channels. (Palau Horizon, Dec. 28 - 31, 2007)
Congratulations to the eight Palauan women who were among the 1,700 graduates who marched down the aisles during the Fall 2007 Commencement Exercises at UH Hilo and Manoa Campus on December 15 and 16, 2007.
Those who were conferred with Masters Degrees:
Linna Eridel Thomas with an MA in Natural Resources and Environmental Management
Ophelia Ongalibang Johannes - Masters in Urban and Regional Planning
Motil Timarong Pangelinan with a Maters Degree in Economics.
Bachelors Degrees were bestowed to:
Noelle Wenty - BS in Marine Ecology and Conservation
Stephanie Brenges Nakamura - Bachelor Degree in Travel Industry and Management
Sunny Ochob Ngirmang - BS in Anthropology
Allison Dengelei Masami - Bachelor in Business Adminstration
Mayda Baiderngul Iyechad - BS in Health and Physical Education
President Remengesau on Wednesday announced that he has appointed his Chief of Staff, Billy Kuartei, to be the chief negotiator for the upcoming Compact II talks in Washington...Remengesau said Kuartei suits the requirement for chief negotiator because of the fact that he is not running for any political office. The president says that Kuartei has been representing Palau in the annual Compact Review meetings...Remengesau said Kuartei was not recommended by the Compact Review Commission but his own choice. "The commission stated that they could be considered in the negotiating process. But where the difference lies is I am thinking of only one person," Remengesau said. Earlier reports showed that the US government has committed to begin the review process early in 2008. (Island Times, December 21, 2007)
An expensive Kayangel State Boat bought from Hong Kong at a price of $300,000 remains idle since it was first reported by Island Times on May 15 of this year. The boat at the time of the report earlier this year was said to have been idled for previous three years. Governor Chiokai said at that time that the boat has been out of commission due to non-availablity of parts needed to replace the damaged part...To date newspaper sources note the state government has yet to submit an official report on the status of the boats's repair...noting that their money which was used to purchase the high-priced boat are thrown to waste as the rust eats the boat, while its quality deteriorates and boat's purpose is no longer served. (Island Times, December 18, 2007)
The Republic of Palau COFA Trust Fund has totaled $176,385,000 as of Septtember 30, 2007 as annound by Minister of Finance Elbuchel Sadang. The current balance was made known to the public during the Annual Investment seminar that he attended last Nov. 28 and 29 in Hawaii. The COFA funds are managed by six entities, including Atalanta with $38,681,000, Missouri with $30,796,000, Evergreen with $24,134,000, Gabelli with $28,858,000, and Bank of Hawaii with $26,922,000, and Aberdeen with $26,994,000. He said that since the inception of the trust fund in 1995, the rate of return has grown and has now reached 10.1 percent. Sadang also said the ROP is allowed to withdraw yearly from the trust fund of up to $5 million only for the annual budget.
Sadang also added that he represented ROP in the Pacific Island Development Bank (PIDB) Board Meeting in Pohnpei. The PIDB Board was created by the APIL in 1989, including Palau, Yap, Guam, Saipan, Chuuk, Kosrae, and Pohnpei. The Bank has a total asset of $6.8 million. Each member has to put $1 million to create the bank. For Palau, he said that the government has deposited a total of $1.25 million. Palau had an additional $250k deposit from the USDA grant. "The share has been loan out already to Palauan citizens," Sadang said. (Island Times, December 18, 2007)
After eight of the ten Ngaraibesachel Council of Chiefs of Ngerchol, Peleliu reconfimed their support for Francisco L. Rekmel as Obaklechol, their "sechelimam" friend in a certification dated December 12, 2007. Now comes the Peleliu State Legislature (PSL) on December 14, 2007 adopted a resolution seating former President Kuniwo Nakamura as the "Obaklechol", the highest chiefly title of Ngerchol Hamlet. However, some members of the PSL opposed the move. The resolution seating Nakamura as Obaklechol said that the title belongs to Ngetpak Clan and that it is the "ourrot" and the "okdemaol" of the clan who appoint the person to bear the chief title. The Ngaraibesachel Council of Chiefs has filed a petition before CJ Arthur Ngiraklsong urging the court to reject or deny the request submitted by the 9th Peleliu State Legislature.
Koror State Gov. Yositaka Adachi has called on the Ngarchelong State government to reconsider its decisionto regulate Ngarchelong territorial waters strictly for its citizens, in an effort to conserve its resources. Adachi in his letter to Ngarchelong Gov. Browny Salvador on Dec. 10, expressed hope tha Koror State need not have to come up with similar measure in which the state will also confine its resource to its people before Ngarchelong State realizes the implication of its action. "My concern however is the ramification of the 'Bul' itself. Most damage resulting from an earthquake is from the aftershock Tsunami. What if similar concept resonates to the rest of the 15 state of the Republic?".(Palau Horizon, Dec. 14 - 17, 2007)
The Palau Chamber of Commerce (PCOC) sought the assitance of Minister of Commerce Otoichi Besebes regarding the issue of charter flights. PCOC President Ken Uyehara's letter to Besebes on Nov. 29 revealed that the PCOC believes that the current charter flights have created a monopoly where only one wholesaler benefits the market. "Hence, the existing mnopoly with one regularly scheduled airline," Uyehara told Besebes in his letter...Uyehara said that the opening of more regularly scheduled flights is essential for the growth of the industry...in addition to acqiuring alternate routes for travelers abroad like in Europe and North America, these regular flights will allow other wholesalers in the tourism market, particularly local travel agents as well as tour agencies to attain additional clients. "The PCOC believes that the underlying challenge that our Tourism industry faces is the existing charter flights and the limited number of regularly scheduled flights," Uyehara said.
Eight of the 10 traditional chiefs of Ngerchol Hamlet in Peleliu certified that they have not removed Francisco L. Rekmel as their "sechelimam" friend. "Therefore, he remains as Obaklechol representing Ngetchab Clan in the Ngaraibesachel Council of Chiefs," said in the certification dated Dec. 12. A copy was provided by one of the chiefs Mengelil Jackson Ngiraingas, yesterday morning. Those who signed were Rekmel, Uchelechol Kangichi Madris of Kerkur Clan, Louch Keibo Rideb of Elsau Clan, Ngiraingas of Chebeboil Lineage, Butelblai Yusim Kib of Madelblai Lineage, Ngireblechei Angel Udui of Bitalcheluu Lineage, Iluaildui Takkon Chin of Kaiungel Lineage,a nd Ngirasekos Jerome Sakurai of Bitalcheluu Lineage. Those who did not sign were Ngirakidel Okada Ongklungel of Kidel Clan and Ngirngetpak of Ngetpak Clan.
The chiefs stated that in accordance with customs and traditions of Ngerchol Hamlet and Peleliu State and the Republic of Palau, the Ngaraibesachel Council of Chiefs never approved Kuniwo Nakamura as Obaklechol (as sechelimam or our friend) as stated by Okada Ongklungel's certification letter of October 23. They said that they never met at Bai ra ngerchol on Oct. 21 because the hamlet did not have a bai. They said, however, that Nakamura invited the 10 chiefs to his uncle Ichiro Blesam's death anniversary at one of is homes in Peleliu but only Ongklungel and Ridep attended. The rest did not attend...the chiefs did not and/ or has not recieved any words in writing from "Ourot" strong members of the Ngetchab Clan decalring that Nakamura has been appointed to be the new Obaklechol and to state reasons why Rekmel should no longer remain Obaklechol representing Ngetchab Clan. (Palau Horizon, Dec. 14 - 17, 2007)
Salvador Remoket, a young local attorney has declared his intention to vie for an expected open seat in next year's national general election to represent Ngaraard in the House of Delegates. Current Speaker and Ngaraard Del. Antonio Bells is constitutionally limited from seeking another term in office.
A public announcement from radio last night. I'm quoting from my memory, but essentially it goes like this:
"Tia subed el mora buai el kmo a Rubekul aikal Eai el Rengedel a Ngarchelong a mla tebedii a bul el kmo, ngdiak a diak el chad ra Ngarchelong el mora chei ra chelmellel a Ngarchelong. Ng morngii a bulis ra klobak el mo patrol e omdechem ra rechad el tir a diak lotireklii tial bul. Ngikel mo mudechem el mla oyetii tial bul a mo mengai maikel rokui el klekedellel ra chomenged el mera beluu, eng mochu moterkokl a belsel, eng di merekmo bol kekad a belsel e ng mochu sebechel merael. Ng dirrek el mo diak a chad ra Ngarchelong el mengetakl ra rengodech el chad el mera chei ra chelmellel Ngarchelong."
Out with the old, in with the new. So says the result of the just concluded Ngaremlengui State election. In a sign that the voters want change in their government, Wilson Ongos surprisingly won easily the gubernatorial campaign against long time and four-term incumbent Gov. John Skebong by an unofficial count of 219 - 150. In another surprising twist to this election, the top six At-Large candidates are new faces. Six seats in the legislature are available for the at-large. Only the hamlets of Imeong and Ngchemesed with their unopposed candidates voted to keep their represntatives. The other three hamlets are being led by new faces as well. However, there are seventy five absentee ballots still to be counted. If the lead are preserved after next week Tuesday, the people of Ngaremlengui will make history by almost having turned over their entire elected leadership from the governorship to changing 9 of the 11 seats in the legislature. A clear vote of no confidence.
Remengesau signed into law early morning Sunday the Elite Resident Visa Act of 2007 which will provide a special visa to an elite class of foreigners. "This new law will help inject much-needed funds into our economy...I will attract non-citizens to Palau, to live, to invest and to contribute to our economy," Remengesau said...The law requires a non-citizen to purchase or lease a property for the price of at least $250,000. The Elite is also required to invest in businesses subject to the requirements of the Foreign Investment Act. The law also limits the visa to only 1,000 Elite Resident Visa Holders at a time...must show proof of financial stability and required to have current active health insurance. Under the law, the non-citizen visa is valid for a period of 10 years. (Palau Horizon, Dec. 4-6, 2007)
According to the governor [Gov. Chiokai], the vessels that were photographed and published with the [newpaper] article belong to a legitimate fishing operation that has contract with the state government to fish within the state's territorial waters that are not conservation areas...The governor also refuted the alleged interview between him and the reporter of the paper [Island Times??] that the published the article never took place; and that he is infuriated that his name and his office have been subjected to negative criticisms from the public because irresponsible and inconsiderate reporting. See previous post here. (Palau Horizon, Dec. 4-6, 2007)
I should also mention that in a community workshop last week, I overheard Chief Rdechor of Kayangel mentioned, and if I understood him correctly, that Kayangel State Government is being payed $10K a year in fishing fees through the live fish trade agreement.