Fireworks display at the National Capitol ground on October 1, 2019.

Recurring statement during the recently concluded 25th Anniversary of Palau’s independence is what has been accomplished in the last 25 years as an independent nation.

“We are big country in things that matter,” quoting former President Kuniwo Nakamura’s first address to the United Nations, President Remengesau Jr. in his remarks at the opening ceremony of the 25th Anniversary of Palau’s Independence.

Palau has taken big steps in it’s development in the last 25 years.  For a small island country with small population, Palau has peace where many larger countries have conflicts. Palau free education for its young people, universal health care coverage for its citizens and is now ranked as a high income country.

In last 25 years, Palau has built its capital, built its hospital, improve it airport, rebuilt KB Bridge when it collapsed, built its fiber optic cable, and now improving its water and sewer and other important infrastructures.

Remengesau reiterated Palau’s position as a leader in conservation efforts both terrestrial and marine life regionally and internationally.

These have all been possible because of Palauan visionaries and pioneers “blaze the trail” for us today.

High Chief Reklai Bao Ngirmang in his statements echoed same sentiments.  He expressed that he is very proud of Palau, a small island nation, has accomplished in the first 25 years of its independence led by pioneers and leaders with foresight.  “We are the smallest member country of the United Nations and though we trail other countries in other matters, we lead the world in the areas of conserving the “lukel a klengar” or cradle of life, both on land and sea.”

“There were people 25 years ago that expressed concern about Palau becoming independent with no money or resources,” said High Chief Reklai.  “Palau was mostly jungle 25 years ago and now here we are,” stressed High Chief Reklai.

He added Palau is not only a leader in the conservation but also an ally and friend with over 90 countries out of the 190 plus member countries of the United Nations.

Both leaders emphasized the need Palau has to have friends and allies around the world, which they both say Palau has done successfully.

“Even bigger, richer and greater countries have friends and allies and depend on their allies for their development,” said High Chief Reklai.

Remengesau added that the presence of so many representatives of different countries during this 25th Independence anniversary attests to Palau’s success.

“We have developed and improved so much in that 25 years and we did this not on our own but with help and support from our friends and allies,” declared Remengesau.

Both President Remengesau and High Chief Reklai emphasized the need to maintain Palauan’s unique identity through preservation of Palau’s language and culture.

“Our language and culture differentiate us as Palauan people and we should continue to emphasize, keep and teach our language and cultural practices so that we do not lose ourselves.”