By: L.N. Reklai

July 28, 2017 (Koror, Palau) President Tommy Remengesau Jr. refer back House bill 10-38-2,HD4 citing need for clarity. The bill to improve, expand and renovate airport terminal, passed both houses of OEK by July 28th in order to meet scheduled signing date for the Joint Venture Agreement on August 1st. [restrict]

Despite looming deadline, Remengesau referred the letter back on the same day seeking clarification to a language that he said could jeopardize the project.

In his letter Remengesau said that the current language in the bill requiring contracts executed by the President to obtain final approval from Congress is essentially requiring “third round of OEK approvals for the same contracts”.  This, he said, could create confusion and jeopardize the implementation of the project. He suggested removing the language “subject to approval by law” from the bill.

Copies of contracts were provided to OEK members in May and members of OEK had made “critical observations from the perspective of protecting our Republic” and that those recommendations were incorporated to improve the contracts, according President Remengesau in his transmittal.

Remengesau acknowledges OEK’s contributions in the bill stating that House of Delegates had “carefully crafted to protect the Republic financially and guard the rights of valued airport employees”. He added   Senate expanded the scope to include renovation of existing buildings and place strict ceiling on borrowing taking “principled stand for financial responsibility”.

According to Remengesau, Senate and House Joint Resolution expressed OEK’s approval and support for President Remengesau to enter into Joint Venture Agreement with Japan Airport Management Partners (JAMP), Concession Agreement, and Lease Agreement and “granting specific authorities necessary to ensure the success of the joint venture”.

After authorizing President to enter into contracts, the bill as it is now will require final approval from OEK of the contract or “third round” of approval by OEK according to President’s transmittal letter.

President Remengesau states that the changes that OEK has put into the draft bill “represents the best collective wisdom of Palauan government” and just need to have additional requirement for approval removed to avoid confusion.

40 PNC sections of 504, 501 and 511 provide authority to the President to borrow funds with OEK providing guidelines under which such authority is executed. [restrict]