By: L.N. Reklai
December 9, 2016 (Koror, Palau) A recent letter from Minister of Justice Antonio Bells to Governor Yositaka Adachi of Koror, entreats support for the timely approval of docking facility, building expansion and water use rights for the new Division of Marine Law Enforcement. Bells insisted that the discussion with Adachi regarding this project started over a year ago.
Adachi had responded to COS Eldebechel’s November letter expressing that this was the first attempt by the national government to contact Koror State for permits for new patrol boat docking facility, construction of a building and water use rights.
“Your letter of November 30th is the first attempt by the ROP to seek permission from KSG for water use rights for docking facility. You have mentioned the great urgency in resolving land and water issues for the project, but apparently the ROP has known about the construction needs for quite sometime now (at least several months). The Draft Final Drawing for the project was completed by Fisheries Engineering Co. Ltd. Of Japan in July of 2016, yet ROP did not consult with KSG or KSPLA about the scope of the project,” stated Governor Adachi’s letter to COS Eldebechel.
“In short, due to the complete lack of communication from the ROP, KSG and KSPLA are not responsible for any potential delays in the project, and neither KSG nor KSPLA have been made aware of the urgency to “proceed as scheduled” before significant and multi-million dollar land use and water use issues can be resolved,” added Adachi.
Minister of Justice Antonio Bells denied Governor Adachi’s claim that this was ROP’s first attempt to reach out to Koror State Government regarding the project, according to his letter of December 9, 2016.
“First of all, I wish to clarify that COS Eldebechel’s November 30th, 2016 letter to you is not the first attempt by the ROP to seek support and approval from KSG for water use rights for docking facility. Actually, one year ago on December 28, 2016, I briefly discussed the project with you and we both agreed to meet the next day to discuss the project in detail with other concerned agencies (EQPB, CIP, DMLE). On that same day, I submitted to you the Geological Survey Plan and the letter from Fisheries Engineering Co. Ltd. specifically requesting cooperation in obtaining sea and land use permission and other necessary permits for the project (attached),” stated Minister Bells in his letter.
Furthermore Bells stated, “I went to your office the next day with EQPB Executive Officer, CIP Manager & BPW Director, and DMLE Chief and we were told by your secretary to wait for you to finish another meeting. After waiting for 30 minutes beyond the set time, your secretary informed us that you would not be able to meet with us. Nothing was said about rescheduling the meeting.”
Minister Bells stated that they’ve met all the permitting requirements and see no reason for denial or delay in releasing permits.
Recognizing the ownership rights of KSG and KSPLA, Bells stated that they are willing to cooperate and work toward new Land Settlement Agreement. He continued to seek Governor Adachi cooperation and support in the permitting process so that the multimillion dollar project is not jeopardized.
Nippon Foundation and Sasakawa Peace Foundation through Japan’s government have agreed to support Palau’s marine law enforcement efforts by providing one medium size patrol boat (slightly bigger than PSS Remeliik), one smaller patrol boat, new berth for patrol boats, fuel and maintenance for 10 years, salaries and training for the crew of the patrol boats also for 10 years and a new administrative office to house Division of Marine Law Enforcement. Total cost of new boats, building, docking facility, fuel, maintenance, salaries and training for ten years is estimated at $70 million dollars. [/restrict]