Palau Chamber of Commerce (PCOC) and Belau Tourism Association (BTA) proceeded to file their amicus brief yesterday in support of the five members of the Senate lawsuit against Minister Obichang for allegedly violating the Open Government Act.

Minister Obichang had earlier asked the court to strike down the planned filing of an amicus brief in support of airport expansion lawsuit by both PCOC and BTA citing that both are not parties to the lawsuit and should not be allowed to file amicus brief at this stage.

In their amicus brief in support of the lawsuit, the group argued that it was not up to the government, Minister Obichang and the Japanese partners to decide whether airport contract documents are public or not public.

The amicus brief submitted by the group’s counsel, Brien Sers Nicholas, emphasized that the role of determining whether those documents are public records or not is the role of the Court, the Judicial Branch.

The group further argued that President Tommy Remengesau Jr. in his very statement when he initiated the Open Government Act, provided the guidance on how the law should be interpreted.

The court had earlier granted permission to PCOC and BTA to file their amicus brief.  It further approved their request for time extension to allow to prepare the brief.

Earlier request from Minister Obichang to five senators to come to the table and attempt to resolve the matter was declined by the Senators saying let the court decide the matter. (Bernadette H. Carreon/contributor)