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May 25, 2009

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Well done President Johnson Toribiong.

At last a long overdue opening-up of Palau to foreign investment is underway.

Wonderful news for Palau.

I agree Know All. The former Foreign Investment Board was inept and corrupt and needed to be removed.

This is a move in the right direction. Let us see Palau finally moving into the 21st. Century.

Well done President Toribiong. A brave move!

Sulang

Question to Lawmakers in the HOD & Senate:

There has been a bill drafted to restrict foreigners from certain jobs, defined in the old FIB law as "restricted."

I assume that a similar provision restricting certain classes of businesses and certain jobs to be held by Palau citizens was removed in the FIAA (FIB Amendment law).

Why wasn't this kept in the FIAA to protect citizens. Seems like our leaders in the OEK are trying so hard not to contend with the president that they are bending over backwards and then turning around and trying to make up for their mistake in passing the FIAA in its current form by passing another band aid bill. Serious case of bi-polar disorder.

Senator Asanuma, I hope you can shed some light on this.

Mardingoal,

I am curious, who among our citizens need protection? Please remember the majority of our citizens work for the government. Now that Compact funds are no longer forthcoming (after 2009) where is the government going to get money to pay it employees and the general workings of government?

Protecting the few rich citizens with monopolies is questionable as many of these rich do not employ Palauans. It would appear that the current administration has seen the need to protect the general Palauan job-seekers from these rich Palauan monopoly-holders who give jobs to others and not to Palauans.

Palau was subjugated for the past 16 years under the restrictive FIB Act controlled by Greenberg and others while it also produced an unprecedented number of foreign workers and front business. So who in Palau needs protection? Only Palauans from the already rich few Palauan monopoly-holders and those in power who abuse their positions!

Thanks to past bad governance of Palau’s funds, the current government needs money to pay for thousands of Palauan citizens and the ONLY way it can achieve this is to create private businesses. The only way business is going to be created is if Palau lifts restrictions that prevent foreigners from creating new businesses that Palauans are not capable or not willing to invest in!

The solution is to pass laws that enable the many new joint venture business (Palauan + foreigners) to allow for all legal business in Palau to be upgraded and operate fairly and to channel these new businesses along lines that Palau requires for this nation.

Sulang


Islander,
I'm not talking about the actual business owners, but if this bill affects the individual boat and tour bus operators that are citizens and have their own business, I will seek to ensure they have a place in the Palau market.

Many private companies, such as tour companies, dive operators, and hotels do employ Palauans. But, there is a level of job security that's not available to Palauans in the private sector and nobody (lawmakers) to attempt to legislate some level of protection for local workers, leaving most of them, my relatives included, to seek more "secure" government jobs. Wages are generally low, little to no benefits provided, and opportunities for upward mobility in the private sector are few and far between. THIS situation, coupled with the open door investment policy will turn into one that will drive all Palauans into the Government and leave the private sector to foreigners and foreign workers.

Can you explain your statement that the "the current government needs money to pay for thousands of Palauan citizens." This is already a very obvious SCARE TACTIC to make people believe that we need to open our doors to every Tom, Dick, Harry, Mr. Chin, Mr. Lee or what have you that comes to Palau... this is allowed for under the FIAA, which says, give them a license to do business in Palau first and we will screen them later. Typical carelessness by JT.

Also, to say that some haole attorney was running the show at FIB is a fallacy and absolutely factually incorrect. You so very much insult the good Palauan people (most of them) past and current Boards of the FIB - they did their job to the best of their ability under the laws they were given to work with; you make it seem that they need some foreigner to make up their minds for them, which is not how it is and insults everyone.

There are no "monopolies" in Palau. I don't know where you come up with this idea. The only companies that are nearing being classified as monopolies are the airlines and the oil companies. Your ideas of monopoly leads me to believe that you want to come in, oust all the long standing and long established companies like NECO, Sams, FishNFins, Surangel, PTC, WCTC, and many other smaller companies that have been doing well in our limited market, serving our people. Are you insinuating that you will come in and replace all of these companies with your foreign companies or force upon them joint venture arrangements because of their (some of them) inability to access capital for business expansion?

Surangel has over 400 employees, 85+% of them are all Paluan, many of whom have been with the company for decades and many of whom have moved up the ranks within the Surangel umbrella. That is the model for Palauan business.

Economic DEVELOPMENT for WHO. That's the question that should be answered by our policy makers - OEK and Executive Branch. To fully open our doors to foreign business enterprises and investors is good, in that it brings in much needed capital for business expansion, but mark my words, we are headed in the direction of Fiji and other island nations that have been overrun by businesses being put up at the expense of the people of these nations.

Palau is for Palauans, and we will make mistakes along the way, but I'd rather make a mistake and keep Palau for myself and my children then make a mistake and sell our rights to our lands push out our own people from being the recipients of the benefits of investments to being once again the slaves in a neocolonialism empire controlled by foreign businesses and investors.

If the FIAA is passed, WE the people of Palau will once again, in the words of Father Hezel, be nothing but spectators in the development and prosperity of what we think is OUR Palau.

Mardigaol,

Please do not use Fiji as an example. Fiji gave indians citizenship and allow them to vote. Fijian and Indian power struggle lead to a coup de etat and a military junta is now running the government.

Palau forbids foreigners from voting, running for government offices or even owning land titles.

Please refrain from using Fiji as an example. Your are spreading false fear.

I say, Let us build the foundation first, while using a diplomatic approach about the importance of hiring locals to keep balance in the community.

Laws could be made anytime it is needed, but the timing of it is the key for a succesful implementation.


Mesulang,


Local Boy,
Go and read up on history before you accuse me.

The Indidans were brought in as laborers for the Brits who owned most of the industries in Fiji. The Indians, being a very proud and resourceful people chose the path of retaining their Indian culture and identity within Fiji and to a large extent, refused to "merge" with the island culture of Fiji and interacted on a limited basis with the indigenous people. The Indians own Fiji. While the local Fijians were busy fighting amongst themselves for the scraps given out by the Brits, the Indians established themselves as a new aristocracy in Fiji. Fijians, the indigenous Fijians, did not "GIVE" Indians their rights...it is a weak and corrupt system of Government that allowed for non-indigenous people to attain control of resources from the people of Fiji.

Open Palau up and hold on to your culture, boy. One hand will be holding on to a few dollars or Yuan or taiwanese dollars while the other one is losing a grip on what it is to be Palauan.

Palau should not be for sale Local Boy. FEAR the truth and question those in power.

Mardi,

Glad we can exchange healthy views on this issue.

You still missed my point.

Fiji gave citizenship to Indians and allowed them to vote and run for public offices. Our Palau constitution does not allow foreigners to vote, run for public office or own land titles in Palau. SO you are comparing apples and oranges, and that is illogical.

Now, you brought another issue that Palau is for sale. My good man, no one can sell Palau. Again, the constitution forbids selling of Palau or its land titles to foreigners. You can only lease land to foreigners and that is it.

I do not fear the truth. I am telling you the truth. You are just too ignorant or too caught up on your own prejudice that you cannot see the truth.

My advise to you is get a copy of the Palau constitution, read it and understand it fully before making false statements and using Fiji as an example.

No hard feelings. Just quiet making bad comparison between palau and fiji ok. Case closed !!

local boy, it's only a matter of time before we give citizenship away. At this rate, we will be working for manong and manang in 3 generations. I now have a manang step-mom and her kids will be Palauan citizens. I'd better take up Tagalog.

Mardi,

Awhile back the OEK passed a resolution to make Ha become a honorary citizen. Coming to find out many members then owed him money. Good thing the people in the community mounted an opposition against this corruption and stopped it in its track. The track is however still coming back.

Business is a powerful sector of any society more so than cultural and social sectors. So why not seek ways to strenghten the indigenous people in business instead of giving concessions of it to outsiders.

Investors now are demanding something permanent. Elite visa and 99 years lease are just the beginning. Surangel was a poor man more poor than most of you. Out of sweat he became what he is today. There is no monopoly that he played with like what Islander and the likes would like to conjure in this forum.

I did oversight hearing with FIB based on the same allegations made by Islander and found that FIB approved over 95 percent of applications. So why are we dismantling our laws to accomodate the 5 percent or less who on the most part do not want to disclose their financial capabilities. Besides in these day and age of terrorism and money laundering Palau needs to be vigilant rather be reactive and risk being black listed by the international financial community. This happened during the 5ht OEK so it is not far fetched.

You do not need to go Fiji to illustration such social infiltration. Look at Guam and Saipan. Guam is socially overtaken by Filipinos. Willy Tan has Saipan by the -----! Brien where are you.

Anyway Mardi at least I know you are Palauan by your arguments. However I can say that when discussing policies that will affect the social fiber of Palauan life a full disclosure of ones identity is critical because there are Palauans among who just want to sell out for the money. Judas I call them.

Even in the Philippines there is what you call a negative list of businesses and employment oppotunities reserved only for their citizens.

Besides Mardi the issue here is not FIB application process as I have proven during the 7th OEK but the social and market climate that affects businesses. I just found out that FIB approved a bakery for a foreign comapny. This goes to show that these foreigners are not coming with new ideas let alone money as our foreign investment policy anticipated. They are here after the local resources. Go to Japan or Korea and compete with their citizens and see how far you will go.

santy


Senator Asanuma,
Thank you for shedding light on this subject matter. In response to Island Boy's accusations of my ignorance, I plead that "I only know that I do not know." My point is, which you also solidified, is that this is just the beginning - whereas, we will soon find ourselves scrambling for our place in our homeland. Yes, I've been in Guam and Saipan and have seen the Chamorros (sp?) there struggling to maintain their place in a world that doesn't accommodate them; a world that only accommodates profits and greed. Now, don't get me wrong. I admire and appreciate businesses that make money and can provide jobs for Palauans. That is a good thing. But fairness in opportunities to grow and prosper for Palauans is an even better thing. Build a hotel in Palau and let us run it and be able to own shares in the hotel. So Senator Asanuma, because things are so complicated, I guess I'll chat with you more when I see you at Church and not in this forum.

So you see Local Boy, your interpretation of my comparison is not accurate and you are not making a good enough argument on why we should not be more diligent in protecting our country from unwanted business ventures that will NOT benefit our people. The crux of the matter...indigenous people being pushed aside by profit motives and benefits that are not re-invested in the community.

Facts:
99 Year Lease - You've lost your argument - do you know exactly how much lands are available for lease as a percentage of our total land mass? What is the difference between selling your land and leasing it for 99 years to a foreigner.

Political Contributions - candidates running for office are not prohibited from accepting any amount of political contributions, even from any individual or nation. These are not reported. Who do you think funds politicians' campaigns (not all of them)? Do you know how much money rolls in from the outside during campaign season. We are being bought already and there is not a thing you can do to influence policy unless you have a thick wallet and you have corrupt politicians with their palms open, ready to receive - Senate/HOD/Executive.

Now, Mr. Local Boy, you should really look into history and make comparisons with other countries to see just where we are. So if I were you, I would take a long hard look at our Constitution - did you so happen to gloss over the part that says we are supreme in these lands. Buddy, don't question me about the Constitution because you apparently do not understand a word that is written in there or even what a constitution is meant to be. Our, yours and mine, Constitution doesn't make it ok for me to be prejudiced and I'm not, it gives me the right to be supreme in these islands. To be Palauan. To hold my head up high, walk tall, and to say that Palau, with all its problems and all that it is blessed with, is mine, and yours. Not to be controlled by foreign interests that just as soon see Palauans not be part of Palau - go and read up on how the indigenous Taiwanese have all but been wiped out.

As for Koshiba's pushing for the bill because compact review is coming up, the State Department is probably laughing its head off because of this stupid piece of legislation. Come on Koshiba, I mean Ambassador, you should be more worried on how legislation could affect our reputation rather than using the Compact Review to push your agenda. As you say, "be nice." Please take a look at the reinvestment bills and the casino bills - do you think the US looks kindly at this whole package of legislation coming out that is totally against what the US wants now? What a joke.

Islander,

I am sorry, but I thought you were really concerned about Palauans. After a while I started to realize that you probably are not a Palauan, but someone who is using scare tactics to force Palauans to open it's doors to foraign investors. Instead of trying to figure out the effects these bills might have on Palauans as a whole, you instead have shown us more on the attacking side with out any feelings. You are using the hardship that we have against us.


You are not welcomed in here no more...

Dear Mosisechekiak,

It is clear that you have a attitude problem. When anyone speaks the truth that you feel is not in line with your own philosophy you immediately retaliate maliciously by accusing that person of not being Palauan or being unsympathetic and is not welcomed. This is typical of you and Mardingoal.

I am simply presenting the situation based on available facts.

1. Is it not true that the government of Palau is currently the biggest employer of Palaun citizens? (the government employs around 65% of the local citizen work force and another 20% of citizens are dependent on those government employees)

2. Is it not true that by 2011, Compact funds will cease and when that occurs there will be a budget shortfall of about $50 million?

3. Is it not true that currently Palau only earns approximately $3 million in taxes from tourism and let's say another $5 million from miscellaneous sources.

4. Is it not true that Palau earns about $6 million from fishing concessions.

5. Apart from the earnings as stated from 3 & 4 above there are no other sizeable source of revenue being generated.

I have not taken into account local taxes derived from workers' contribution and local small businesses such as the mama & papa stores, because these tax revenue are derived from earnings created from disbursements of compact funds and since that source of revenue will stop taxes from that sourse will eventually evaporate.

5. Is it not true that Palau needs about $60 million to run government, maintain infrastruture, operate school and medical facilities, etc etc. Money for all government expanditure were derived in the past mostly from compact subsidies and other aid funds.

Therefore, now that the compact funds will end in 2011, common sense tells you that Palau will be in defioit by some $50 million yearly.

Mosischekiak, where will the money come from to make up the deficit?

I am not making scare tactic when I point these facts out!

In my mind Plaau has two alternatives (a) Live withing $20 million per annum or (b) Generate the $60 million through private enterprise!

If the government is going to operate within $20 million it will have to sack 95% of it's employees! Cut back on budget for infrastructure maintainence, operation of schools, hospitals, etc,etc.

Therefore, if Palau wants to generate $60 million is revenue it will need foreign investments.

These are simple alternatives! Where is the scare tactic? Why do you accused me of being unsympathetic when I am simply pointing out the facts.

I call on the government to open Palau up to foreign investments because I think that is the most practical and sensible cause of action to take.

I call on the government to protect Palauan interest by making joint ventures mandatory for all foreign investors who want to invest in Palau. Is this not caring for our citizens.

Sulang

Islander,
In other words, to keep our Government at its current inefficient and bloated size, we need to bring in more foreigners to maintain the status quo so people don't have to get jobs in the private sector? It seems quite diluted the way you have just put it.

What if we reduce the size of Government by allowing a few very select businesses to operate and bring in tax revenues at a higher volume and level. Such businesses can be mandated to hire locally, provide training, job security, and mobility within the company's ranks. Then, by offering higher wages than Government, attrition in the ranks of Government will result in streamlining of Government operations to a more manageable level that in turn does not need $60 million to run. I say death high wages at the top levels and reduce the size of our worthless OEK to begin with.

Then, move to provide incentives for Government workers to move to the private sector. Oversimplified yes, but there has been work done to prove that it can happen.

What you are essentially saying is to not improve, spend the way we are spending now, and let the foreign investors feed our inefficient and expensive government. Wow, that is such a beautiful concept that it once again proves Mosi's point that you don't give two bits about Palau. Keep us stupid why don't you and tell us that we need large hotels, large developments, and massive amounts of foreign influence to run our country.

DEVELOPMENT FOR WHO AND AT WHAT PRICE TO MY PEOPLE??!! Answer that and make yourself believable.


Hey Islander:
Your JT is doing good for you. Passed the Port of Entry Bill for Peleliu and Angaur that will allow for direct flights into Angaur/Peleliu, will pass the Casino bill for those lonely nights at a hotel in Peleliu with nothing to do, and now the FIAA to give a free ticket to any business interested in Palau - Palau will give you a license and you can give us your credentials later; and now the movement for the Corporate Registry and Reinvestment Incentive Act so that you can register your companies and take the tax revenues out right away without paying a cent to Palau. Very nice and I applaud your efforts. Shows me how much our President cares about the locals.

Ka mesa sei e Mardi,

Ng ka diak el chad er belau. Ng ka mengebelung!

Mardingoal,

I have nothing against Surangel, in fact I think he is an OK guy. However, to make his an iconic figure, a saint almost is too much.

First, you say he employs about 85% Palauan citizens in his business empire. I ask you, why only 85%, if he is so patriotic and caring why does he not hire 100% Palauan citizens?

Next, you say he employs about 400 people. While this sounds impressive but in the scheme of things it is nothing because 400 employees represent only about 2% of Palaua's workforce.

Let me enlighten you that most small to medium international corporation often employs between 500 to 1000 workers. Insurance companies like Prudential Assurance employ tens of thousands, International Banks like HSBC employs tens of thousands, manufactures like Sony, Mitsubishi and Toshiba employs tens of thousands. Mercedes Benz, Toyota and even Proton employs tens of thousands. Even the reletively small operation of te malaysian Genting Group employs 30,000 people!

This is why I advocate for foreign investment to be enticed to Palau, because when they come they will create jobs for tens of thousands not for just a few hundred.

Palau needs a much wider base of international business not just small business in boutique or backpacker hotels, boat and tour operators. Palau needs manufacturing, international banking, international insurances, telecommunication, Hospitalization, hostings, internet and off-shore business.

I ask you, does Surangle's businesses bring in foreign revenue into Palau.

Does Surangle manufacture anything for export?

Does Surangle have a factory in Palau that manufactures for export?

Does Surangle have a fishing fleet that catches fish for export?

Does Surangle have any agricultural or farming base business in Palau that he growns and/or breeds anything for export?

All Surangle does is retail and/or whole business and local contracting that directly earn off the Palauan people and/or off the Palauan government. The truth is the Palauan people and foreigners who live and work in Palau maintain the Surangle business empire.

I believe that when the compact funds cease and this in turn will cause foreign workers to leave Palau as there will be little money for infrastructure work and government workers in turn will be laid off, Surangle's businesses in Palau will shrink or even collapse!

This will probably infuriate you mardingoal but this is the truth whether you like it or not.

Sulang

Mardi,

You sounds like you have not read the Palau Constitution or respect it as the supreme law of the land. You contradict yourself and chastise it as if it is a piece of toilet paper.

Let me remind you that the Palau Constitution has protected you all this time, that is why there are no foreigners in OEK, the Presidency, or in our state governments. Palau is a country of laws and no one is above the law, even our foreign guests have to abide by it. Palau government is fully under the control of its citizens and no one can take it away, as long as this constitution is in force. Palau is not like Fiji.

Please do not use history as a scare tactic. You are alluding to things of the past, which are dead and gone. The Constitution of Palau is alive and functioning well to protect Palau, thank you. It has just went through a review and the fundamental principles of protecting Palauan citizens, their government from outsiders, their legal rights and properties were preserved.

Our Palauan rights today are more protected than any other time in our history. Before Palau became a constitutional government in 1981, we we a colony of Spain, Germany, and Japan. These colonizers took our freedom and fundamental rights away, enslaved us, took our land and resources without compensation and imposed their culture on us with force and at the point of the gun. Before the colonizers came, justice in old Palau was unknown. Palauans killed each other in savage village warfares and beheading of people as war prizes was common. They best defense you had was your spear. There were no lawyers or courts to dispense justice. Life in the old days was bruttal, unjust, short and bloody. So, what history are you talking about, Sir ? Your interpretation is history is wrong.

Palauan rights, land, government and liberty are better protected today by this constitution than any other time in our 3,000 year history.


Local Boy,
As a student of history, I will reject most of your arguments. If you don't study your history, your are doomed to repeat the failures of the past. Palauan history and its traditions and culture has evolved over time, some for better, some aspects for the worst.

Now, if you didn't get the gist of my comments before, let me know exactly what part of my argument you disagree with. You have misread my intent regarding OUR Constitution - nor am I treating "like toilet paper." Now, let me tell you about rational arguments, if you go into an argument being on the defense, you will not get your point across, which is exactly what you have done here. Come back when you have something more in line with our discussions at hand regarding the FIAA and foreign influence...instead of diverting to our old ways. Beheading - my forefathers' clans were from a clan that beheaded their enemies. Is that bad? Only if you put it in today's context and in your ill equipped rationalization and perplexed logic.

History is not a scare tactic. It is a lesson for moving forward. Ignore it, and you will subject yourself to failure. Learn from others that have failed, as you don't need to relive the tragedies that others in the region have experienced to find you that you have really stumbled and gave it all away.


Realistic Man:
It takes more than your comments to "infuriate" me. I can see where you are coming from. We should conduct a survey of corporations and large companies in Palau and match the income to the percentage of local hires. Not knowing enough about Surangel's operations, I cannot give you the reason why the company doesn't hire 100% Palauans, but give me an example of a multi-million dollar business in Palau that hires close to the numbers that S&Sons does.

I suggest we ask any member of that company to enlighten us on just how much revenue Socio and Surangel generate from foreign sources. I bet you will be surprised. Lets ask how much PTC, WCTC, NECO and others bring in from foreign sources of revenue. Won't that be a shocker.

Tens of thousands of jobs eh? For whom? Malays, Filipinos, Brits? Who? Maybe we should ascertain the unemployment rate for Palau before we pretend to bring in jobs. That would be a start. Man, I feel like I'm in a discussion with a group of people in DRN, sitting around the table drinking coffee, bullshitting, with unsubstantiated claims or real numbers to work with.

At any rate, nice try RM but you'd have to sell my island first through your tactics and influence in this administration to see what being infuriated means.


Mardi and Mosi,

You do not give any respect to our new leaders and always use this same fear tactic by implying we are up for sale. It is you who are living in fear of losing out what you have gained through keeping protectionist laws alive in Palau. You and your supporters have already sold Palau out by keeping it ‘protected’ which has made Palau poor and non-progressive. If the protectionist laws worked, Palau would not be in deficit every year.

You are also only looking at the moment and not at the future of Palau if you maintain that a 99 year lease means selling off Palau. This shows me that you are self-indulgent and short sighted.

Unfortunately you are looking more like people who will be losing out big when the protectionist laws end and are so deep in fear of having to compete on a level playing field. The protectionist laws have made you complacent and scared of competition. You must have had it too good for too long and now you will have to face up to the reality of competition and this is something that has scared you so much you are trying to scare everybody else with false information.

From the content of your blogs you show up as being racist, prejudiced, malicious, vicious, scared, paranoiac, living in deep in denial, pig-headed, antagonistic, full of your own self importance, condescending, self opinionated, childish and even arrogant enough to even think you have the right to say who is welcome or not to this blogsite.

You ‘two’ are the proverbial empty vessels and blog on just about everything and anything. Does the saying “jack of all trades” suit you to a ‘T’ when the entire blogsite has been infested with so much muck of your own doing that I rekon’ you must have been ‘retired’ and have nothing to do or live for but cause trouble and spit out spite.

If you think you are the only ones to be allowed to have your say, you are mistaken. If you think everyone must accept your inept arguments and agree with you when there is so little logic to your trend of thought then this would not be a blog but your own little opinion column.

It was a great day when you unleashed yourself on this thread and exposed yourself for the problematic and unhinged split personalities you are. You guys bring up examples and when you get replies you do not like you attack people for using the same examples you used against you. Looks like you are both closely attached to the people and places you use as examples and it cuts you too close to your bones when your examples do not stand up, your point of view shown to be incorrect and your examples used against you to destroy your credibility!

You really have lost it and you should go get a life maybe then you will not be so furious, sensitive and scared.

Good work all of you that can show up the provocateurs for what they are! Facts and the truth will always triumph in the end.

Hey, maybe we should gather all those who do not want development by foreigners to one far away island where they can live in peace and we can wait and see if they have nothing else to do but kill each other off? What a great idea to let them live out their own fantasy among themselves while the rest of Palau moves on and on and on.

I am enjoying that thought LOL.

BTW, is Surangel not in direct competition to our cooperative? How come he competes with a cooperative that was set up for the benefit of Palau and Palauans?

Just a thought!

Mardigoal,

I think that you really have lost your head yourself to say beheading is not that bad even if you condone it in the ways of the past. It is not something any person should be proud of.

By anyone's standards killing is bad, by anyone's religion killing is bad. The taking of a life is a serious thing not something to be used lightly as an example to be proud of or to make a point that is not worth making.

If you respect the way of life of the past so much then no wonder you are unhappy in the present.

Taking a life is murder and if you condone it you are wrong to and if you respect those who did it in the past then you have no right to be respected in this present day.

You should read what you say, digest it and see if you are so far gone and are borderline insane. This is a wake-up call but I do not think you can appreciate it.

Maybe you do not know how bad you sound. Take the time and read what you write!

Tirka mengebelung e Mardi,

Tirka diak el chad er Belau. Ng kmal dirkak a ta er tir el kora mo bekikl el kirel a beluu ma lechub e te rengelekel. Ng diak a di imol lulekerreu e lotebedii lokiu a kuk bitang. Te dio mektakt el kmo a lak lemengai aikal luldesuir ea beluu a metemall. Tirka mengebelung me lak momtab a tekingir e kedi spend a temem e merkong.

Ulekum kede mo omuchel el di melekoi a tekinged. Te mo etirir me mo melasem e lolechasech a rengud ma lechub e te mo diak a kmal lolekoi.

Uuups! Me temo melasem el olengasech a rengud ma lechub e te mo diak a kmal tekoi lolekoi...


Mesulang,

Hey Mosi & Mardi,
We're here because we care about Palau. The ranting tirades and attacks on other bloggers is really getting tired and old.

The future of Palau is in jeapardy. So what is your solution to the problem we face? How the heck are we going to develope given the financial state we are in?

Or maybe you don't want us to be developed and truly be an independent nation. Foreign ivestment isn't 100% the solution but it can be part of it. Why can't you be open to that idea?

To redherring,
you forgot to add to the phrase...Jack of all trades, Master of none!!!! That pretty much somes up the M&Ms. hehehehe


Mosi,
Kmal klemerang a tekingem. Sel bo kumtab e kunguiu e ngdi melutk el bedul a rechad el di omkerreu ra mo ktek er tir ma kombalii er tir ma udoud el mo soiseb el kirir, e diak el bo ra rechad ra Belau.

Kumi,
I've not stated that I'm agains foreign developments. I'm simply asking, WHO ARE WE DEVELOPING FOR and WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS. It is great to have limited, high end developments that will not suffocate our system and burden our infrastructure. Foreign investment is not bad, uncontrolled foreign speculation in Palau is problematic. I'm glad you are here, if you are indeed running a legitimate business that brings in tourism dollars and that you are paying your taxes and paying your employees (hopefully more Palauans than foreign persons) decent wages. I disagree with you on the future of Palau being in jeopardy. Bad economic times are cyclical and global economic crises are not of our doing. How we respond is critical. But in jeopardy, sorry but that is incorrect.

Mardingoal & Mosisechekiak,

You guys are always claiming that ordinanry Palau citizens will not benefit from foreign investments coming to Palau and that it is foreign workers who will benefit.

If this is you honest opinion and you are not simply saying this because you have other more self serving agendas, then you guys are very insulated and very stupid.

Whatever the case may be, let me give some pertinent facts to bloggers so that they may come to their own conclusion is to how myopic and irrational the both of you guys/gals are.

1. The law in Palau is like our sea, crystal clear. Foreign Investment law forbids foreign companies from employing foreigners before they first offer the job to Palau citizens. Only when no qualified Palau citizens
comes forward for the job can the foreign company employ foreigners. Therefore it is clear that Palauan people have first choice at any job/s on offer by foreign companies operating in Palau.

Under the circumstances, how can you jusitify saying that foreigner workers are the only people to benefit from foreign investment in Palau? Both of you are talking rubbish and the people of Palau should be made to know this!

2. Foreign companies are made to submit their accounts for taxation purposes every quarterly. Foreign investment will generate revenue for the government. There is no doubt about this fact.

Under the circumstances, Who, I ask you will ultimately benefit from from the revenue collected if not the Palauan citizens?

3. If there are large foreign companies that have their directors stationed in palau to look after their interest, do you not think this will expose Palau internationally.

Famlies of the directors will come to Palau to visit them or just come for a vacation to visit the place where their father, son, daughter, brother or sister have invested in.

This again will benefit Palauan citizens because these class of visitors will be repeat visitors who will inevitably make friends with the local people and YES, this will open opportunites for Palau citizens.

It is rediculous to suggest that foreign investment will only benefit foreign workers. We need to look at ourselves. We need to hone our skills so that we are marketable. This is the future. There is no hiding. We are not turtles who can pull in our heads and hide in our shell.

Our government is having a bad crisis of having no MONEY and our wise President Toribiong understands that our country needs foreign investments to survive financially. STOP HINDERING AND MAKING PROPAGANDA AGAINST HIS POLICIES. WE MUST HELP OUR PRESIDENT TO HELP PALAU BECOME SOLVENT!

Well thank you Mardi for your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to address me.

But I respectfully disargree with you that Palau's future is not in Jeapardy. It will always be in jeapardy until the private sector is developed and sustainable. Currently it is not developed enough to fully support the economy of Palau.

Yes, we have no control of the world economy but we really do not have much of an economy of our own to speak of. We need to shift the jobs into the private sector so the government is not the largest employer. Imagine Palau without compact money. What would happen if there is not enough money to pay government employees and and they flood the private sector and there are no jobs? What kind of sales drop will Surangel and WCTC see if there are cut backs in the government and some if not majority of their consumers can no longer afford to shop there.

We still depend on a lot of tourist dollars, but let me tell you, H1n1(swine flu) in Japan is making tourists think twice about travelling and travel cancellations due to this virus increase everyday. Not just in Palau but everywhere. I mentioned Japanese tourist specifically because they are the biggest group that spends the most during their visits(other nationalities don't spend as much combined). How many businesses will feel the effects of this tourist downturn? A lot. There goes another portion of the consumers who will probably be shopping less and less at Surangel and WCTC.

I believe it is better to be proactive then reactive. We tend to make the worst decisions when we are reacting to a siuation.

BTW, all your comments are noted with thanks. I like you better when you speak nicely.

Just my thoughts...

LOL! Kemla mo Mardingoal e ngak a mla mo Mosisechekiak. Tirka diak a di telkib el klechibelau ra resechir. Tirka di melasem lomok ra esimer e merekong. Ng diak a tal tir lomekerreu a lemotitech a ngalek er belau ma lechub eng metemall a daob ma beluu.

Mardingaol,

You are suffering from xenophobia. Look up the meaning in the dictionary. If you are a true student of history, then do not compare Palau and Fiji.

If you claim that you do not consider our constitution as "a piece of toilet paper" then stop spreading fear here that foreigners are buying up Palau. Under our laws, that is forbidden.

If you abide by the laws of Palau, then stop spreading fear here that PALAU IS BEING SOLD OUT.

It shows that you are anti-foreigners, paranoid, freaking out from development and do not have a logical mind.

For you to justify beheading and the uncivil ways of old Palau when people were still savages, then you are ignoring history and refusing to face the facts. There is absolutely no justification for taking a life of a person.

Listen buddy, Palau is better off today than anytime in our history. If you are a student of history, I do not need to inform you this. The future of Palau under Johnson will improve and foreign investments will bring the good life to all Palauans. Without foreign investments, we will be either beggars crawling on our knees before other countries, or we will file bankruptcy and run off to the US for food stamps.

One thing you should know is that US, Japan and Taiwan are exhausted of giving Palau freebees. You and your family also benefit from these handouts now. So how can you say that you will walk tall and proud when your country is a beggar ? How can you treat foreigner so bad when you and your clan eat from their hands ? Get real buddy, its better to catch your own fish than to live out of your friend's fish soup.

You can do your country a favor by not spreading falsehood, twisted examples of Fiji, promoting scare tactics and your xenophobic attitude on this site.

If you are still asking questions like, "who will benefit from development and development for who", then you are a retarded food. Even a 2nd grader will tell you that, ALL PALAUANS WILL BENEFIT.

You are only exposing your mental mediocrity and ignorance.

You should take Senator Diaz's advise and go plant coconuts.


Kumi,
Since you appear to be one of the few sane persons discussing this topic, I gladly reciprocate and offer my views. I for one, am a fervent proponent of Japanese tourism in Palau. Japanese tourists spend the most, stay the longest, and are cautious, respectful and cognizant of the fragility of our ecosystem. They are the prize, if you will, for tourism (in Palau and most countries in the world).

As for developments, there is nothing wrong with the partnerships that have resulted in the PPR and Dolphins Pacific. That has raised the standards of tourism and opened our eyes to the possibilities of having good, tempered development that has a direct benefit to Palau. Foreign influence is not at all bad, when we allow in companies that have proven track records, reputable owners, and concrete plans that intend on staying long-term, despite downturns and troughs in the economy. Companies that say, "ok, your laws say this so we will follow them so we can have the privilege of doing business in your country." Not companies that say, "if you say no, I'll pay your president and your lawmakers so they will say yes." This our history, and our mistakes of the past that are not recognized and dealt with.

The mentality behind large scale hotels - "the build it and they will come" mindset results in feeding an uncontrolled bubble that at the end, leaves the Government and People of Palau in jeopardy. We saw in the past companies like "Orientex" (garment factory), the Airai View Hotel (now a dilapidated structure that is the first "hotel" people see when they arrive in Palau - catering to low-end "cheap" tourists), the white elephant called the Palasia, barely making ends meet and an eyesore in the middle of Koror - staying in the suites, you get a good look at the people of Palau's standard of living, while enjoying a "luxury stay").

My point is, foreign investment is generally good in that it bring in new and innovative ideas, technologies, and hopefully set examples for better wages that translate to more money flowing in our economy. The problem is, an open door policy, without adequate check and controls leads to very shady and poorly planned investments that generally do not last nor generate sufficient enough economic returns - to our tax base and through the trickle down effect, such as you have described with Surangel and WCTC. This open door policy not only endangers Palauan-owned business enterprises, but well established Japanese, American, and some Taiwanese companies). Yes, competition will come in, that is always a plus because if forces existing businesses to rethink their strategies, revamp their operations and improve overall to survive.

Sadly, a lot of our lawmakers, our current president, and supporters of this open door policy are too quick to say yes when they have not properly identified potential hazards for our country. Hazards that will take years to undo, long after any president, and congressman have gone. Short term profits make for long term problems.

By the way, anyone with hate mail can send it to my address: citizenXpalau@gmail.com


Islander:
"the laws of Palau are like our sea, crystal clear." Man, I almost choked on my lunch...

The laws of Palau, and those being proposed, are some of the most convoluted, self defeating laws in existence in any democracy. Maybe you should read the "revamped FIB bill", the Reinvestment Incentive Act, etc., etc.,...

Come on, facts please.

But, your idea on joint ventures has some merit, if we had laws to protect both sides in contract execution. I haven't yet looked into our laws on contracts.

If you say I am hindering policy, I must say that it is a great complement. It means I'm getting my point across to those who are willing to look more into our laws and policies, and those being presented.

By the way, the $250,000 to get in, pay to play scheme is so old school and still doesn't resolve the matter of screening companies coming into Palau.

Good Day.


Mosi,
Should we consent to being addressed as "M&M"? LOL. A Local Boy a locha kmal soual chad a Diaz leng kora di quote er ngii. Bom molalm a lius. Ng kmal kekerei a chetemek eng di kmo melasem. Finally came out and said it Local Boy..support JT policies or be labeled ignorant, stupid, etc. etc.

Actually, it somewhat crystalizes the the current administration. Support us or else...shut up or else...listen to Diaz or else...say yes, ochoi waisei or else, give in, say uncle, be a drone. "If you are scrutinizing our policies, it means you are against Palauans.." type of mentality. Sad day when people cannot rationalize and take heat for bad policies.

It is very sad Mardi,

Like what you said,

"Supporters of this open door policy are too quick to say yes when they have not properly identified potential hazards for our country. Hazards that will take years to undo, long after any president, and congressman have gone. Short term profits make for long term problems"

That is exactly what it is. The problem is that others at this moment really don't want to hear about it. We read more about the end of Palau if we don't agree with this than what will happen to us if we open this door or that door with out identifying any potential hazards to the people and the community.

I know there are people out there just waiting for the road blocks to be lifted for them to get the first pick. The pressure is on the President and the elected officials to come up with solutions. And that is exactly what worries me. Are they going to represent the Investors or the People.


Mesulang,

It's

Sei a uchul meng mekngit a do deruchel e Mardi..
Kede remurt el mong me kede ngmai a tekoi ea demei e kede oiseksii ma debochang e loker e kede mocha mesaod el kmo te rua "M&M"...LOL!

Ng diak a ised. Bechititerir me dil tir lomngakl
a lesorir. Ng diak lebeltii a uldasu el dolab...

Again I am obliged to respond to Mardingoal and Mosisechekiak.

Now that they have been defeated with their nonsensical claim that foreign investment/s does not benefit Palau citizen, they go off on another tangent to say that not scrutinizing investors is very bad for Palau!

This hypothesis is again a load of tripe.

Let me put forward some facts that back up my statement.

In the past, our FIB Act required foreign investors to be scrutinized to the nth degree.

Foreign companies who applied to do business in Palau were required by the FIB to disclose details of all the directors and all the shareholders of the applying company.

The applying foreign company/s was also required to give details of the personal assets and liabilities of all members of the applying company.

The applying company also had to give company bank statements and company accounts.

The applying foreign company had to make statutory declaration about the company and shareholders being in good standing etc, etc, etc.

It goes without saying that all this disclosure requirement is a real turn off to investors as many shareholders do not want their personal details exposed for obvious security reasons.

The result is, many would be investors avoid investing in Palau and that is why there is little foreign investment in Palau!

In any event, let me ask you Mardingoal, did all this scrutiny stop bad and dodgy foreign companies from coming and operating in Palau?

The answer is NO!

Palau had all sorts of scams going on for the last 16 years! YES or NO? Please answer me Mardingoal.

The sensible people of Palau all know that the Palau government does not have the required resources and/or expertise to check-up on all disclosures made.

In fact, in most instances it is impossible to check-up on the status of any declaration made by foreign individuals let alone by foreign companies.

Let me site a simple example, the Palau government does not even have the resources to check-up on foreigners that the government employs. SP Walton had a criminal record yet the Nakamura and Remengesau administration employed this scoundrel in the capacity of Special Prosecutor, no-less. lol

Many of the expatriate attorneys employed by the past administration have all sorts of questionable records - drunks, dope addicts, bankrupts and some do not even have the qualifications they claim! Lol IS THE TRUE OR NOT? Answer me Mardingoal!

President Toribiong is a very wise and practical man. He is an excellent attorney and that is why he has put in a policy where Palau does not need to go overboard which the useless scrutiny process.

Palau has laws; therefore, if a foreign company or investor/s breaks the law, we can prosecute!

If they do not do invest what they say they will, what have we (Palau) lost? Nothing!

So why do we need to squander our scarce resources scrutinizing data that we have no way of proving true or false?

In reality, we do not have the people who are qualified to read complex balance sheets of international companies. What do we do? try to look at figures and pretend to be knowledgeable Ha HA HA!

We do not have anyone in Palau qualified to carry out Environmental Impact Assessments so what do we need the EQPB for?

We already have all the EA studies that we need. all done by Uncle Sam for the construction of the Compact Road and the construction of our many ports and airport. We need development, not more studies!

The only people who benefit from these studies are the foreign consultants. Palau loses because of the time wasted on the studies which cause investors to go elsewhere.

I realize that Mardingoal will say, let them go! We don't need them! But the truth is we do need foreign investment. We need it badly or we will go bankrupt!

To be practical, we do not need to scrutinize the foreign companies. What we need to do is assist and make it easy for foreign investment to happen quickly in Palau!

There is also another matter that you and Mosisechekiak have not considered..... Do you realize that when agencies, like the FIB demand for information from foreign companies, that agency is duty bound by law to keep the information they receive in strict confidentiality.

Tell me is anything kept confidential in Palau? Lol

The FIB on many occasion failed to keep information confidential! In fact, Ms. Greenberg passed privileged information that she obtained as an attorney for the FIB to her husband the AG and to their colleague SP Walton! This is illegal and the Palau government will be held liable for this action one day soon!

Sulang


I think I've angered my Cheeky friend. Looks like the FIB screwed you to the nth degree and you didn't like it.

Tripe? Dodgy? Only a pegasus with a ponytail would use such authentic english..eh? Look ol' chap, you can yell and scream till your blue in the face. Aliiii a kmal medakd. You have run afoul, and still you don't have anything to "back up" your claims.

Bloody wanker. Maybe we can settle this over a pint.

My addy: citizenxpalau@gmail.com

Mardingoal,

Why do you think you have angered me. My amigo you are nothing.... hombre!

Why do you think the FIB screwed me? They are finished..... muchachos. Now you say I am Mexican yes! You have no logic at all.

I am not the agency that has been closed down in disgrace with the members sacked! The FIB screwed themselves and Palau. YOu are the wanker! Big stupid one at that! lol.

My friend I'm not broke. Palau's broke thanks to the FIB and their honcho TR!

My man and my clan is in power and I will help get Palau back on the mend again and I will make sure that everyone associated with the last two administration will NEVER GET INTO POWER AGAIN.

Viva President Toribiong
Viva my clan and Viva La me!

I'm in the money - Have you heard that song hombre! Ha Ha HA!

And so we see the return of the true Mardi, foul mouthed and projecting his own emotions on others! You have lost it again - you cannot keep pretending to be the good sheep when the wolf inside you is so enraged!

LOL, Islander! Another round to you, my man!

It is so funny that Mardi thinks he can get us to use his private address now that he has lost the public battle! What a trap! He just wants to continue the brainwashing in private because he has no more credibility. LOL!

Kumi, please be careful who you ask for solutions! If you are mimokl a usekerel el chad you will fall into the trap of believing the suggestions of people who have no real solution and people who are bitter from not having any power to bully others into believing their baseless arguements!

Be careful, look for the truth and do not accept speculations of harmful people who aim for disruption.

The last laugh will be on the ones who do not support progress. Change is inevitable in the end and the government gets to dictate the way forward. Move with the flow and win. Swim against the tide and drown!

Mosi and Mardigoal, the last hole of the retreating loser is to try to gain sympathy by implying that anyone who does not share your belief is not of your race or clan. This is a childish and underhanded tactic and is usually the death throw of the eel that has its head cut off.

Resorting to bad language is a sure sign of defeat!



Kimi,

Please be careful of asking those for solutions from persons that support fanatical beliefs – like do nothing (starve and blindly support environmental issues), undermine JT (support TR’s bad policies), keep pretending foreigners will ruin Palau (we have had so many here over the decades so why now?) and those who generally cause controversy where there is none.

May I suggest that you first read the blogs of Mardi and Mosi in detail on all subjects before you fall into the trap of believing they have anything new to offer. They have so little knowledge between them it is embarrassing!

They will lure you with pretences of saying that you are the only ‘sane’ person so that you are open to being sucked into a trap. You have indicated that you are prepared to give them a platform to misinform you.

PLEASE, read all their blogs to see where they are coming from before you think they have anything sane to say. If you do, you will quickly come to realize that these M&Ms are not sweet chocolate coated candy but spiteful and malicious personalities that ALWAYS come together to support what the other one writes.

The true picture is that neither of them know anything much and are influenced by eachother's paranoia and uncontrollable fears of change. You are lucky to be in a position where I can highlight to you that Mardi admits that he has no in-depth knowledge concerning the example he tried to so proudly use to support his views. In a desperate attempt to regain his legs he has now called for support by saying “I suggest we ask any member of that company to enlighten us”! Does this not show that he had no right to use that example to further his cause? How can any fair-minded person use an example that they later have to admit they know nothing about? In the original blog he sure PRETENDS to know a lot about the example that was used and even drummed this example as THE ‘iconic company’ of Palau. Did he have permission to bring up that company and use it as an example? What does that tell you about the guy? He writes about people and companies he knows nothing about, comments about people he knows nothing about and lacks substance on just about everything. In a tight spot he will use anything to gain the ‘upper’ hand! In the end, the people he uses and comments on are dragged through the blog site and scrutinized under a microscope for no good reason other than for his ammusement and to gain support for his misguided beliefs!

Also take note of the comment he makes about “ Lets ask how much PTC, WCTC & NECO and others bring in….”. The guy is grasping at straws and is trying to get more examples involved in his fanatical attacks on foreign companies. Is this the kind of person you want to pay attention to for solutions? Any solution not based on FACT can only end up a bad solution!! He has NO facts other than the distortions that paranoia and biased opinions give him.

Ask yourself ‘Is this the type of person who can give any worthwhile solution to anything’?

This trend of trying to gain support for distortion of facts and imply that anyone who does not agree with his views must be ‘foreign’ is sly and cunning. Why must he resort to this tactic? Does this not strike you as being silly and full of wishful thinking? Only dogs eat the scraps from under the table!

So Kimi, please be cautious about believing the blogging of self confessed ignorant people and beware of being misled into supporting badly thought out beliefs!

Kumi,
sorry I struck the 'i' key instead of the 'u' for your name!

Alii Mardi and Mosi,

What are you the last defenders of the fort? The reason why Palau fiscal structure is in a disarray up to this day was the entire leadership of Palau during the 5th Constitutional government was conned into agreeing to a national policy of virtual bachingko and internet gambling scheme which promised millions to our national treasury. On this premise the leadership increased the annual unified budget in leaps and bounds which had literally put this country in a wild goose chase to no end.

Islander should be very careful because politicians both in the past and present have a way of being connected in same ways or deals. All of them that includes me. I find it very hard to believe that there is anyone in the political landscape of Palau that can claim being free from contributing both directly or indirectly and by their actions or inactions that have put this country where are today. This mud slinging is creating distraction and division among us Palauans while he is promoting his interests.

My colleagues and I who share our views on postings in this blog have come to a conclusion that Islander is a paid staff of some developer whose project is to radical to be accepted by our current laws. We also suspect that you are not a Palauan by blood.

Islander there is no law in Palau that forbids married couple from working for the government. However, I agree that it would be a wise administrative policy. I am on record for not liking Greenberg's work at FIB. But you obviously do not know that all the government lawyers should work under the AG. And information should be shared with OSP if there were infractions especially with high government official involved. So please do not call others ignorant while confusing our government processes by your obvious lack of knowledge.

Your argument that FIB members may need to be replaced to reflect this administration policy is palpable and within governmental standard practice and procedures but to say that we scrap FIB is absurd. You fit the Toyota argument that it always run into an accident therefore we buy Datsun (just to check if you know Datsun).

And lastly, get your facts straight and do not play the sophist argument on development. Since the days of Van Camp, MIC, Nikko, Orientex, and all the XYZ foreign companies, it has always been the Palauan owned companies that have contributed the bulk of revenue to our government treasury all these years.

This discussion is very healthy so I invite you to an all out debate on the approach to develop Palau and what the Palau foreign investment policy should be. I mean in person. To make it more meaningful we should bring in two persons on each side. This can be broadcasted on radio and tv.

FYI, I am asking Francis Toribiong to be on my team. Though he is much older, he and I share some views and philosophies on Palau and its pristine environment going way back.

santy


I must say this is getting good and interesting!!
I am dying to hear from you Islander, M&M,RM, et.al.

Islander and his clique (cabal?) has suggested a solution namely open up Belau to foreign investment/s. While others have suggested or argued against his ideas. What I want to hear is a solution from those of you who are against the ideas that Islander and his like minded friends have proposed. Again, do not tell me what is/was wrong, we all know that, give some solutions.

ciao!!

Islander:
Esta Bien? Su habla espaniol tambien? No se mucho espanol, pero comprendo un poco. Eres muy inteligente, no? Tu habla mas linguas, y ganas mucho dinero, y ganas muchas chicas, y sabes el Presidente. Eres un fantastico.

Amigo, su argumente esta mucho mal por que no "substance." Habla mucho mierdo, pero su ideas esta no apoyado por la verdad y hechos.

Thanks for giving me a chance to brush up on my Espanol, maricon. Its been a while.

The more we do battle over this topic, the more you show your true colors.


Uchelmis:
Some ideas, and please help me out with others -

I thiks we need to first get the total number of tourists that our infrastructure can accommodate and determine the number of tourists and dollars earned from tourism that we want to reach.

Then, we can formulate a bidding process for companies wanting to do business in Palau, i.e. hotels, golf courses, others. Bidding will include a percentage of the total investment cost, i.e. to build a hotel, that will be dedicated to infrastructure improvement. Highest bidder for categories of business should be allowed in; emphasis on what type of development is needed, how many jobs for the locals created, social and environmental impacts, etc.

Set up a development fund or tourism investment fund with seed money from incoming businesses to establish training and scholarships for locals. Fund can also be built up to the point where each private and public employed local can receive the a proportionate share of profits from the funds investments.

Just a start, but what do you think?


RM:
Instead of posting your solutions, you spend so much energy trying, key word - trying, to discredit my viewpoints. Look, I've given out my e-mail address. If you want to discredit me or send some negative message my way, you can do so without clogging up this space with baseless and careless comments that do not serve the purpose of this discussion. Your ideas please.

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