Sen. Regis Akitaya interviewed in FB group Palau 2012

The questions below were posed by Merv Melatk on May 3o followed by Sen. Akitaya’s answers.

1. How should Palau approach its economic woes? What are you views on the current policies, and what should be done to improve Palau’s economy? 

Economy: Cutting our dependence on foreign oil, first by investing stimulus funds on solar power plants; or invite independent power producers to supply solar energy to PPUC for a fee. Second, impose a visa fee for all foreigners whose country impose visa fee to Palauan citizens. Third, impose more taxes on yacht coming through or staying in Palau. Fourth, impose more taxes on Banks. I have introdced bills to affect 2, 3, and 4 above. Some say I am targeting foreigners and foreign business: I say I represent you first…. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak on your forum..

2. What are your views on our current Health Care System and what can be done to improve it?

If there is another million dollar that we can give to MOH every year, we would not have the horror stories that we hear.

3. Should Palau make “Student Education” a national priority? If yes, why and if no, why not? Education has been a priority in paper, just like the rest of the government agencies. There is just not enough funds to run them properly, that is why we exist.

4. What are your views on our current Public Safety System and what can be done to improve it? Public safety needs a lot of help. I think we should invest more money to hire more strong lawyers to help prosecute criminals.

5. Palau’s success in achieving self-determination, self-reliance and economic independence should be measured by how it engages in main streaming all marginal, vulnerable and at risk population. What are your views for Palau in matters that deal with Palau’s children, elders, women and people with special needs?

Forget about economic independence; we will never get there unless there is natural resource. On citizens with special needs; this breaks my heart as I have worked with children with special such needs. I wish I had the appropriate amount of resources that I can just answer the call, but I don’t. And with the limited funding available to run the government, I have failed to give them the appropriate amount that I want to give. But I know god is looking upon them.

6. How should the government assist Palauan citizens to utilize all aspects of our environment to ensure a sustainable long-term existence?

The environment is continuously being erroded, by the natural phenonema and by us. There is little that we can do to the G warming nor the SL rise, but the hunger for foreign dollars will do more harm. Tourism is great in terms of income but their effect to degredation of Palau is huge. The more they come, the creater pressure and damage is done to the reef, water supply system, sewer system, solid waste system and the power system. The more serious question is: Is the tourism income enough or being directed to pay any of the above? I say vary little if any…..

7. Republic of Palau being independent and sovereign, the preservation of its national and security interest is best attained through reduced dependence on foreign aide; promotion of long-term and sustainable energy (including renewal energy) and the creation of a production-based economy. What are you views on strengthening our bilateral defense network, increasing regional security cooperation, and ensuring that our sovereignty is respected?

Our sovereignty has been recently tested by the Indinesian military when they used force to arrest a Palauan flagged ship out of Palaua’s EEZ and arrested it and its crew. Our only defence rests on our treaty with the US whereby the US must defend the NAtion from outside threat. This incident is being reviewed both by the US and Palau officials. Now, how independent/sovereign are we? Not much. First is the fact that we are dependent on another nation for our own security. Second, we will be dependent on foreign oil until we find and utilized an energy source of our own that we can utilize to sustain our energy needs. This is the hardest excercise, but I believe that solar energy must be harnessed to the max. This can replace about 20% -30% of Palau’s energy needs. I am a strong believer of this concept.

8. Strengths of traditional and democratic governments should be harmonized. What are your views on traditional customs that are now burdensome to Palau citizens, and what should Palau government do to assist its citizens?

I believe Palauan traditions are our traditions are our identity and separates a Palauan from all others. If they are becoming a burden to the society, it is only a result of our own doing. So government can only codify the meaningful traditional values and practices; the rest can be optional.

9. The rights of majority and minority should be equally upheld and to that extent the right of individual versus the right of the populous. If elected, what are your views for exercising such standards? All men are created equal. Therefore individual right must be upheld and respected, just the same with right accorded to the mass.

10. Should Palau government uphold the Special Prosecutor’s office with full funding or should it be a case by case basis? I believe that the SP is a must for Palau. From my little knowledge of Palauan history, I have seen one too many criminal case where government employee is found guilty of fraud etc… If you need to see proof, pls check with the clerk of court as I will not give you an example.

On Sept 16th, 2009, I introduced SB 8-94 aimed to clarify the SP’s authority. This will define the exact boundary of the SP and the AG so that conflicts between the two authorities are eliminated. Measure passed 3rd reading at senate and transmitted to the house on 11/03/09. Mkerir a delegate er kau……


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