On May 10, 2017, at the invitation of Dr. Ansito Walter who is a Professor of Public Administration at the University of Guam’ s School of Business and Pulbic Administration, Senator J. Uduch Sengebau Senior appeared as a guest speaker at the 2017 Spring Semester class on Leadership and Ethics.
Senator Senior began her speech by thanking Dr. Walter and students Kara Kebliil Remeliik, Eagan Olbiil Tewid, David Michael Malon, Jr.., Nathan Moses, Tommy Wuchilbuch, Jr., Patrick Hachigeliyar, and Leiann-Jean Miguel for the opportunity to offer a few thoughts on the topic of Leadership and Ethics that is of intense and immediate interest to all of us in Micronesia.
Senator Senior gave a brief overview of the Palau Constitution as it pertains to the responsibilities of the Olbiil Era Kelulau in Article IX of the Constitution. She also highlighted the very unique provisions in Article V that protect Palau’s traditional rights by providing that the government shall not take any action to prohibit or revoke the role of traditional leaders (men and women) as recognized by custom and tradition.
Following the brief overview of Palau’ s Constituion, Senator Senior spoke about her trials and tribulations during the four years of her first term in dealing with the Koror’s House of Traditional Leaders’ attempt to remove the statutory deadline of January 1, 1989 deadline for the filing of claims to public lands. Public lands include the famous rock islands in the southern lagoon of Koror State. Senator Senior provided copies of the July 25, 2013 letter from the House of Traditional to her that sparked a national debate that raged on during the entire first term of Senator Senior while she served as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Affairs.
In that letter of July 25, 2013, the House of Traditional Leaders of Korot State declared that they believed it was ethically and morally wrong for Senator Senior to represent the Koror State Public Lands Authority (KSPLA) as its legal counsel on the ground of a conflict of interest.
Senator Senior shared her thoughts on how she dealt with these allegations of ethics violations while a sitting senator in the 9th OEK. Senator Senior told the students that she has been a lawyer for over twenty years and is guided by the ethical rules for lawyers and is able to determine whether there is a conflict between her position as a senator and her legal representation of KSPLA. Senator Senior shared that at the end of the day, if she can sleep peacefully at night then it means that she is either doing the right thing or has not strayed too far from the right path. Most importantly, Senator Senior prays constantly for the divine guidance of the Lord God Almighty.
As she now serves her second term as Senator and chairperson of Youth Affairs, Social Welfare and Culture, she continues to pray fervently while doing her work for her constituency.
Senator Senior wrapped up her speech by saying that she is a servant leader and that being a senator is to heed a call for public service. As a servant of God, we must give of our time and talent which we receive as gifts from our God to serve God’s people. It is thus an honor and privilege to serve as a senator in Palau. [/restrict]