By: L.N. Reklai
May 13, 2017 (Koror, Palau) Sixty-six arriving passéngers of Lion Air charter flight from Macao on Saturday afternoon found that no immigration officers were present to process them and had to wait for about 15 minutes before officers arrive to process them.
According to Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold Oilouch, he received a call shortly after 1pm from Chief of Staff Secilil Eldebechel, who was on the same flight, reporting that there were no immigration officers at the airport.
“I immediately contacted Acting Director Sylverius Tellei who was at Babeldoab and he contacted the immigration staff,” reported Minister Oilouch.
The incident happened due to mix up of scheduling and poor communication according to initial report given at a meeting between Vice President and immigration staff yesterday.
On the date of the incident, Acting-Director Sylverius Tellei was in Babeldaob, Acting-Chief Flavin Misech was attending his brother’s funeral, 2nd below Misech was off-island on training and the 3rd in command was on sick leave.
Vice President Oilouch strongly expressed his disappointment at the staff meeting and demanded assurance from the staff of immigration that such incident will not happen again.
“It was obvious from the initial report that there was a breakdown in communication,” stated VP Oilouch.
Both Vice President Oilouch and Acting-Director Tellei went to the airport shortly after incident report and the passengers had already cleared the immigration and left.
“I sincerely apologize on behalf of Immigration, Ministry of Justice and the Republic of Palau for such unfortunate incident! This is the first time that this has happened. I know this is an embarrassment for our country and we will ensure that such occurrence will not happen again,” expressed Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold Oilouch.
Vacancy announcements for Director of Labor and Immigration, Chief of Immigration and Director of Marine Law Enforcement, have been running for weeks now. [/restrict]