September 21, 2016
Mr. Moses Uludong, Chairman
Palau Media Council (PMC)
Koror, Republic of Palau 96940
Dear Mr. Uludong:
Please allow me to set the record straight on issues surrounding the recent Vice Presidential debate that PMC sponsored, and reasons for me not participating in the event. As a candidate for the Office of Vice President, I would like to be clear from the outset that I do not shy away from any opportunity to debate with the other candidates. However, I am sure you will agree that there are legitimate issues of concerns that must be raised and addressed by all candidates in order to set the ground rules prior to such an event taking place.
First, it is abundantly clear that PMC knew ahead of time that only one candidate would show up and yet you went ahead with the debate, if you could call it a debate of one person. Let us be mindful of the fact that PMC decided to schedule a date, time and place to hold a VP debate, without consulting us on whether such a date would conflict with our campaign schedules. As candidates for the Vice Presidency, we have other prior commitments to make appearances in Town Hall meetings all over Palau, from Kayangel to the South West Islands. To compound our campaign schedule with a marching order from PMC for a debate which conflicts with our schedule, is unfair and inconsiderate on your part. This is why we wanted to be consulted first before a date is set for the VP debate. On two separate occasions we received a letter of invitation from you to partake in a debate after you have already decided a date and published on radio and newspapers prior to informing us.
Second, as stated in our first letter to you, we continue to believe that our constitution dictates that the role of Vice President (VP) is to work with the President and not in a position to set the direction of the Nation and create policy to that effect. He is to work with the President as one of the Cabinet Ministers. Therefore, we should carefully design questions for VP candidates to fit this limited role. Additionally, it is impossible to speculate which ministry the President will assign the Vice President, therefore speaking in regard to ministry policies and issues at this moment is moot.
Third, and again as stated in my previous letter to you, I will be willing to attend any debate only if all the VP candidates agree to take part and it is scheduled to a later more convenient date. Therefore, knowing from the start that Senator Mlib Tmetuchel unconditionally declined to take part in any VP debate, it was pointless to hold a debate, and yet PMC decided knowing for sure that it was going to be a one man show (not a debate), for Senator Oilouch. Since Oilouch is a close relative, one wonders whether this whole charade, was staged by PMC to promote a favorite VP candidate. This brings into question if PMC operates under any adherence of proper ethics of journalism.
Also, be advised that I have received a letter from the Chamber of Commerce and the Palau Bar Association who are organizing another Vice Presidential debate after the primary elections. Unlike PMC, this planned event is responsive to our request to be a part of the planning process, including setting the proper date that is agreeable and not conflicting with our campaign schedule.
Cc: Tia Belau News; Island Times