Tue. Jan 28th, 2020

Palau’s new Special Prosecutor mulls legislation to protect “whistleblowers”

The new Special Prosecutor April Dawn Cripps shared her plans to work on a legislation that will protect whistleblowers or people who expose illegal or unethical activities perpetrated by public officials.

Cripps, in an interview with the media during the sidelines of the swearing in ceremony at the President’s Satellite Office in Meyuns yesterday, said that some people she has spoken to aired their concerns surrounding speaking up against public officials who are suspected of illegal or unethical activities for fear that they might lose their jobs.

“One of the concerns that has been brought up by people that have spoken to us is that a lot of them feel like if they speak up, maybe their jobs are in jeopardy,” Cripps said, explaining further the importance of the planned legislation to protect whistleblowers and encourage people to speak up against any wrongdoings conducted by public officials.

“That (the legislation) should help contain the fear of folks to have the courage to speak up,” Cripps said, putting emphasis that the SP wants to expose such acts.

“If people know that if corruption is brought into the sunlight it can no longer work in the shadows,” Cripps said.

“We want to bring everything out into the sunlight so people know what they’re dealing with because corruption really does hang out in the shadows and if they (corrupt officials) can continue to keep people fearful then it never gets fought well,” Cripps added.

President Tommy Remengesau, Jr., meanwhile, said in his speech during the SP’s swearing in ceremony that he is proud of the legislation that created the Special Prosecution Office, citing that not many Pacific nations had this special office.

Remengesau said that he likens the work of the Special Prosecutor to that of the doctor, expressing further that he hopes Palau does not have so many “patients” as the new SP takes over the office.

“Hopefully, the SP shall be a deterrence in itself as the framers wanted it to be,” Remenegsau said. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)