Promises Three Years Ago, What Will Happen In 2012

(Tia Belau Editorial, November 7, 2011)


Three years ago from November  4, 2008, the 8th national election was held in which the current OEK senators, delegates and the  vice president  and president were elected. In one year from today in November 2012, the Palauan people will once again go to the polls to either reelect the  current leadership or replace them  for four years from 2013 to 20116.

It is time to look back to see what the present elected leadership said they would do, what they have done in three years and what should we do with them or their  challengers.

Lest we forget,  in the 2008 election, 10,469 voters or 73% turned out to vote out of the country’s 14,289 registered voters.  President  Toribiong running as a team with VP Mariur defeated Camsek Chin and Alan Seid with the votes of 5,040 to 4,828, a  difference of 212 votes. There were 504 blank votes for president and vice president , 47 write-in votes, and 50 void votes for a total of 601 non votes for either team.

For the 13 seats elected Palau-wide for the Senate, these are the winners from top to the bottom and the  votes they received: Surangel Whipps, Jr.- 6,709; Raynold Oilouch-6,392; Mlib Tmetuchl-5,636; Joel Toribiong-5,403; Kathy Kesolei-5,240; Mark Rudimch-5,106; Hokkons Baules-4,636; Adalbert  Eledui-4,128; Regina Mesebeluu-3,938; Alfonso Diaz-3,809; Tommy Remengesau-3,772; Regis Akitaya-3,319;  and Paul Ueki-3,211. There were 8,124 blanks and 1, 257 void.

For Delegates, the winners, their states,  and number of  votes are: Noah Kemesong-Kayangel-186 votes; Marhence Madrengchar-Ngerchelong-203; Gibson Kanai-Ngaraard-446; Noah Idechong-Ngiwal-287; Lencer Basilius-176-Melekeok; Secilil Eldebechel-Ngchesar-118; Rebluud Kesolei-Ngardmau-198; Swenny Ongidobel-Ngeremlengui-223; Jerry Nabeyama-Ngartpang-101; Kalistus Ngirturong-Aimeliik-277; Tmewang Rengulbai-Airai-549; Alexander Merep-Koror-1,929; Jonathan Cio Isechal-358;  HoraceRafael-Angaur-181, Celestine Yangilmau(write-in)Sonsorol-76; and Wayne Andrew-Hatohobei-40.

The winning Senators and Delegates pampered the  voters with their slogans, posters, and platforms that outlined their ideas, programs,  and proposals that are too many to describe at this time  but will be reviewed and analyzed in the coming weeks and months before the 2012 election.  But one thing is clear, there were elected based family relations, personal friendship, attendance and contributions in personal, family, and community  affairs.

The people and voters should ask and seriously consider if the elected leaders  fulfilled the promises and proposals they made and  whether their performance is  worth the votes they received and salary they each receive-$50,000 a year or $2,000 per pay period or $200,000  in four years. All the twenty (26)lawmakers will  by end of 2012 will have received   a total of five million and two hundred thousand dollars ($5,200,000)  as salaries from Palau taxpayers for  a period of four years.

The question that every  Palauan voter should ask-Is my  life  today better than three years ago? Did the 26 lawmakers make laws that improved or bettered your work, business, health,  today than three years ago?

The  winning team of Toribiong-Mariur  issued and campaigned on the slogans of MOVING FORWARD WITH TRUE PALAUAN SPIRIT  and THE MEASURE OF NATION’S DEVELOPMENT IS NOT HOW MUCH WE HAVE BUT RATHER HOW HAPPY AND CONTENT WE ARE WITH WHAT WE HAVE.   The winning team also had a 10-point platform that made certain  promises on things  that should make us happy and content and move forward with true Palauan spirit today.

The first program on the platform is the declaration of children as the first priority of the government who deserve the best healthcare and education. And that  the  salaries of healthcare providers and teachers should be upgraded in the civil service system to reflect their importance in the society.  This has not happened, ask the teachers and healthcare employees.

Second is the expansion of the economy through the development of tourism, agriculture, and fishing and exploitation of natural resources be according to highest social and environmental standards.  The  cost of living adjustment and pay raise were promised to  be made.  Green revolution has been declared with planting of 10,000 coconuts, establishment of the Ag Center in Ngchesar,  aqua-culture projects  of rabbit fish and crabs in Airai and Ngeremlengui, and the  120 goats for Babeldaob states. But in tourism, no new hotel has been built or major project except the improvement in taki in Ngardmau. There have been no cost of living adjustment or pay raise.

The third is infrastructure in Babeladaob which has seen  improvements of roads  in Ngerchelong, Melekeok, Ngchesar, Ngatpang, Ngardmau and dock in Ngiwal. Fiber optic to improve international communications has been proposed  but has not materialized.  Shipping and corporate registry and visa investment  laws have been enacted but not implemented. Compact road has been damaged and not repaired yet.

Fourth are  the liberalizing of investment and developments and improvement of transportation and communication for Kayangel, Angaur, Peleliu, Sonsorol, and Hatohobei . None of proposals have materialized.

Improvement of healthcare and preventive care that is  affordable, is to  be provided and that security and protection of life and property be  improved.  This is the fifth program which is the bright light of this administration. Healthcare insurance has been enacted and going through a rocky start but it is good program that will improve the healthcare and  ensure its affordability .

Sixth is to preserve and  foster traditions and natural heritage through language, national identity, and cultural programs  by  traditional organizations of chiefs, women, and historical societies.  This has not happened as more children  speak or understand less of our  language and customs as more English are spoken and more western cultural programs continue to overwhelm our culture and traditions . There more disputes today than before  over lands, traditional titles,  and operation of our basic cultural activities such  as marriage, divorces, funerals, and cheldecheduch and also over the leadership of lineages and clans.

Care and needs of the senior citizens  should be improved and provided is the 7th program. There are more neglected senior citizens today and programs such as  meals, healthcare, and entertainment for the elederlies  have either reduced or do not exist any more.

Affordable housing program for the poor and newly weds was to be provided as  in  the eighth program. This  has not happened.

Ninth is that our embassies and medical office  be secured  and  expanded in Washington DC, Tokyo, and Honolulu, and  other countries. Our relationship with the US  should be improved.  Our outside  offices have been complaining of  lack of support and our overseas citizens  complain of poor or lack of services. Our  Compact II  with the US which was supposed to be finalized and agreed in 2009 and implemented in 2010 is mired in US politics and stuck in the Congress. This has been a failure. However, this administration has had many hits  in our foreign relations and leadership in Micronesia, Pacific, and the UN relating to conservation, climate change, and health, and other issues.

The last and 10th program in the platform of the Toribiong-Mariur team include transparency, accountability, and freedom of  conflict of interest in leadership, civil service to  be based on merit, and  elected and traditional leaders  to work in harmony.  This has been a failure  and in fact, a contrary is true with to  many evidence that  can fill one full page. There is  one  exception  of  the president  being very  open  to the media.

If the administration is to be graded on the 10 issues on its platform, there will be one A, B, and C  but the rest are D’s or F’s.  OEK by its failure to act on hundreds of legislations before it , contributes to the failure of the administration and will be graded   F if graded on its  poor performance.

This 8th  government of Palau  has been a failure in three years but they have a chance to redeem themselves in one year and one month left or else the people might through them out in November of 2012.


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