President Remengesau Jr. came forward to defend his Minister of Public Infrastructures and Industries Charles Obichang yesterday questioning the motives of the five senators in filing the suit against him over the airport contracts.
“I know that each of you supports this project, because you have each voted to approve it on multiple occasions,” stated Remengesau in his letter addressed to the five senators, Senator Sengebau-Senior, Senator Mason Whipps, Senator Regis Akitaya, Senator Camsek Chin and Senator Rukebai Inabo. [restrict]
“What’s more, Senators Chin and Inabo, in their positions as President and Vice President of the Senate during the 9th OEK, were key initiators of this project. They were with me for meetings with senior executives of the Japanese companies that are now our partners in this project,” he added.
The call to nullify the Open Government Act by the five senators in the lawsuit contradicts the five senators previous support of the bill during the 9th OEK. Their individual votes supported the passage of the Open Government Act into law according to the letter.
“Each of you believed, during the 9th OEK that this law served the best interest of Palau. It is confusing to see you, such short time later, fighting in court to dismantle your own creation,” stated President Remengesau.
Remengesau expressed in the letter that each time Senators publish negative stories about the project, his office had to reassure partners and allies both in Koror and Tokyo. He said the allies and partners are also helping Palau with other national priority projects and such actions by Senators is hurting both the project and Palau.
President asserted that Senators have been involved through the entire history of the project and have been given copies of contracts at each stage of their development. He added that final versions were provided the Senate which are the same versions that were signed.
“If you really don’t believe the versions you were given are the same that were signed, you have the opportunity to look at the signed copies in the office of your Senate Legal Counsel. And if that is really not enough for you, you may obtain your own copies from my office, for the price it takes a local print shop to produce them. You are also and have always been welcome to examine the original document in Minister Obichang’s Office.”
“Your implications about things being “hidden” in these contracts are seriously damaging public confidence in the very government you each represent,” asserted President Remengesau.
President urged the Senators to reconsider their actions. “We do not impress anyone by squabbling amongst ourselves. Palauans deserve better and we owe them more.”
The five Senators named in the letter earlier filed a suit against Minister Charles Obichang of MPIIC for not providing them with copies of signed airport contracts that they requested from him and also called for the sections of the Open Government Act providing for exclusions to be declared unconstitutional. (L.N. Reklai/Editor)[/restrict]