By: L.N. Reklai
August 17, 2017 (Koror, Palau) Two citizens implored Senate Vice President and Chairman of Senate Committee on Ways & Means Senator Mark Rudimch to hold his Committee meetings in accordance with Open Government Act.
Ms. Tarita Holms and Ms. J. Risong Tarkong sent a letter to Senator Mark Rudimch on August 16, 2017, requesting that the meetings they’ve heard will be conducted on the 17th with Palau Public Utilities Corporation and Minister of Finance Elbuchel Sadang, be postponed and public be notified in accordance with Open Government Act.
The meeting with Palau Public Utilities Corporation was purported to discuss the proposed increase in tariff and the meeting with Minister Elbuchel Sadang is said to be about the proposed FY 2018 national budget.
“We implore on you to inform us and the people of the Committee meetings with PPUC and Minister Sadang because those meetings involve and affect the people of Palau especially in which any expenditures determined by your decisions will be of public funds that is our people’s hard earned money including yours”, stated the letter.
Additionally, they requested that the meetings be rescheduled and a notice be provided as required by law so that they can observe the meetings. They reiterated that Senate Rules of Procedures also mandate compliance with Open Government Act.
The letter added, “The Honorable President of Palau, His Excellency Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., would vocally agree with us as exemplified by introducing the bill that later became law stating: ” It is the intent of this Act: that the actions of the government be conducted openly, that all deliberations be transparent, and that all public government documents be open for
public inspection…It is a fundamental aspect of a democracy that government governs the people only with the consent of the people. The people, therefore, in consenting to be governed do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know…”
The Senate Ways & Means Committee proceeded with its meetings yesterday. There were no public notices and no response to the letter was given. [/restrict]