Koror State rejects HOTL’s authority to impose bul
By: L.N. Reklai
April 11, 2017(Koror,Palau)Governor Adachi of Koror State in response to Koror’s House of Traditional Leaders (HOTL) declaration of a moratorium or “bul” for Ongeim L’ Tketau (Jellyfish Lake), explicitly rejects the moratorium, stating that HOTL does not have any authority to impose a “bul” or to enforce such “bul”. [restrict]
In a letter to Chief Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons, Governor Adachi states that under Koror State Constitution, Article VI, Section 2, HOTL does not have any legal authority to enforce traditional law.
Furthermore, the only expressed authority for HOTL under the Koror State Constitution is to give advice to the governor on matters concerning traditional law, according to Governor Adachi.
“Moreover, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau has held that the national government has not delegated any power or authority to the State council of chiefs to declare bul or to enforce bul by the way of imposing punishments on offenders (Rteai Chiefs of Ngerchelong vs. Ongidobel (Tr.Div. 2010)” asserted the letter.
Earlier this month, Koror State House of Traditional Leaders, after a meeting with Minister Sengebau of the MNRET regarding the status of Jellyfish Lake, announced their intention to impose a moratorium or “bul” on the Jellyfish Lake and requested assistance of law enforcement agencies of the national government to assist the Ngarametal in enforcing such “bul”.
The chiefs felt that such information regarding the status of the famous Jellyfish Lake is alarming and immediate action should be taken.
Governor Adachi countered such statements saying that they have been working closely with Coral Reef Research Foundation to monitor the lake’s salinity, temperature, oxygen levels among other factors and taking their recommendations into consideration.
Furthermore, the Lake’s visitor numbers have dropped due to decrease in jellyfish population, according Governor Adachi.
“Koror State Government does not recognize or consent to the declaration and enforcement of a bul by the House of Traditional Leaders and that Koror State Government will not prosecute any persons who allegedly violate the unlawfully declared bul,” declared Adachi.
“Ongeim L’Tketau (Jellyfish Lake) is and shall remain open for public visitation.” [/restrict]