Citing inability to properly serve constituents and disrespect from Senate leadership
By: L.N. Reklai
July 21, 2017 (Ngerulmud, Palau) Senator Uduch Sengebau-Senior resigned from her positions as chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth Affairs, Social Welfare and Culture (YASWC) and as vice chairman of Judiciary and Governmental Affairs yesterday citing that she was being disrespected by the current Senate leadership and was prevented from serving her constituents properly. [restrict]
In her letter to Senate President Hokkons Baules, Senator Senior stated she can no longer support his leadership and that his actions are unacceptable and unbecoming of a President of the Senate.
Senator Senior cited that when she and her YASWC committee members set up a meeting with Irung Ikeda at PCAA to inquire about childcare services in Palau, he, Senator Baules refused to allow the committee to use Senate audio and visual equipment to record committee hearing.
According to Senior, Senator Baules informed her that all Senate standing committees are his committees and Senate general staff are his staff and his permission has to be requested beforehand and that Senator Senior is not allowed to do whatever she wants with “his” committee.
“You specifically told me to ask your permission every time the committee needed to use Senate audio and visual equipment or to request services of general staff of the Senate,” stated Senior in her letter to Senate President Baules.
“It became clear to me that as a chairperson of one of your standing committees, I lacked the authority and freedom to direct and arrange work of the committee to benefit constituents,” added Senior.
The letter further states that despite cancellation of public hearing, Senator Uduch Senior continued to support Senator Baules leadership and Senate Committee on Youth Affairs, Social Welfare and Culture by working with Senior Judge Honora Remengesau-Rudimch of the Court of Common Pleas, Dr. Sylvia Osarch of MOH, Minister Temengil-Chilton of MCCA to conduct outreach programs on family protection act and promote campaign to end all forms of violence against women and children.
“I have made it my personal mission to put families and children of Belau first,” stated Senior. Senior added that the role of Senate standing committees were to “examine bills, conduct public hearings, and recommend passage of bills assigned to committees.
Compared to 9th OEK, this 10th OEK under Senator Hokkons Baules leadership hardly holds public or oversight hearings or hold robust debates on the Senate floor, stated Senior in her letter to Senator Baules.
Furthermore, Senator Uduch Sengebau-Senior took offense when Senator Baules called her on his cellphone from Did Ra Ngmatel demanding to know why she told Moses Uludong she was being punished for voting “no” on resolution to establish trade relations with China.
Did ra Ngmatel gas station is a favorite gathering place for some local political commentators and according to her, she could hear them talking in the background whilst Senator Baules was talking to her loudly over the noise.
“Your action was immature and disrespectful to me as a fellow senator of the Republic of Palau,” expressed Senator Senior.
“As a senator of the Republic of Palau, I represent students, constituents, families who support my opposition to your resolution to establish trade with the People’s Republic of China,” added Senior.
The resignation letter also comes after Senate President Hokkons Baules made a last minute cancellation of Senator Uduch Senior’s trip to Guatemala that he had earlier authorized. Senator Senior only learned of the trip cancellation the morning of scheduled departure via text message from Senate staff. [/restrict]