By: L.N. Reklai
July 5, 2017 (Ngerulmud, Palau) Senator Phillip Reklai, Chairman of Senate Tourism Committee and member of Foreign Affairs Committee, was stripped of both committees by Senate President Hokkons Baules after he questioned a report on the resolution to establish Trade Agreement with People’s Republic of China during the Special Session on Wednesday.
The report was up for discussion after the Standing Committee Chairman Senator Aric Nakamura reported out to the floor.
Reklai along with other Senators asked questions and expressed concerns during the discussion.
Reklai asked if the expressed policy of President Remengesau pushing for high value visitors was taken into account in the resolution. He also asked if such resolution was really necessary since investors from PRC have been here in Palau for many years doing business.
Senate President Baules responded harshly stating that as member of both tourism and foreign affairs committee he should not be asking such questions.
“I am a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee but I was never called to meet regarding the report. The report stated that Palau welcomes visitors and provided visitor arrival statistics but it did not clarify what those statistics have to do with this resolution.”
Senator Baules announced after the resolution was rejected in a vote of 5-5 by Senators that Reklai is removed from Chairmanship of the Tourism Committee and the membership of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
According to sources, Senate President Baules removed Reklai because he does not follow instructions, “ng diak lorrenges a tekoi”.
Senate Rules allows Senate President to place people in committees as members and remove them as well. The same rules also state that Chairman and Vice Chairman of Committees are removed only by resolution. [/restrict]