PALAU GOVERNOR DENOUNCES REMENGESAU OVER BANK BAILOUT

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By Nazario Rodriguez, Jr.

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Nov. 30) – Governor Jackson Ngiraingas of Peleliu State blasted Palau President Remengesau on Wednesday for the latter’s negative response on the offer of a Malaysian firm to rescue the defunct Pacific Savings Bank.

[PIR editor’s note: According to another Marianas Variety story, President Remengesau called the article published in Palau Horizon regarding the Malaysian firm’s alleged offer of US$20 million to save Pacific Savings Bank as "sensational journalism." During his weekly press conference on Wednesday, the president lashed out at the media for publishing the article saying there was no official offer made by the firm to the government.]

Ngiraingas instead challenged the President into an open public debate to be aired live on radio or in any forum for Remengesau to prove to the people of Palau his pronouncements that the country’s economy has improved.

"I’m ready to face him anywhere and anytime that he’s not telling the truth. If he does not agree to the challenge, then I’ll ask him to resign for the second time," Ngiraingas said shortly after last Wednesday’s regular meeting of the Governors Association in Melekeok State.

UK Investment Holdings Ltd. offered last week to rescue Pacific Savings Bank with a capital of US$20 million provided among others the approval of the Malaysian firm’s plan to build world class facilities in Peleliu known as the Nautilus City Project.

Remengesau told reporters on Monday that although he welcomes the offer, Palau would not want to be held hostage to the terms and conditions of the firm.

"What about the SHIMAO group? What about the Amman Hotels and Outrigger? Palau can accept their terms and conditions but not of that UK Holdings? I just make it clear that the Malaysian firm was invited by the president to do business here in Palau and he even appointed Morris Davidson as economic adviser," Ngiraingas said.

He said that by record, the people f Peleliu have supported the project as part of their efforts to find ways for economic development in the island.

"He has been singing to bring these two companies (Amman/outrigger hotels) with the aim of bringing in high end tourists. But his pronouncements contradict what he has been doing," Ngiraingas said.

Ngiraingas said that both projects have been brought to Palau by Senator Alan Seid.

"They even went to Israel and Hawaii and continued to talk about Amman and Outrigger. Could there be other interests behind all that other than those he told to the people of Palau?" asked Ngiraingas.

The president, Ngiraingas said, should stop telling the people of Palau that everything is all right.

"He always says in his regular press conference that Palau is going forward economically and socially but in reality it’s not what it is," Ngiraingas said.

He said that the president went to Hawaii and invited investors to come because the infrastructure projects have been put in placed.

"How can he say that when there is a problem of electricity supply and recently about the fines of US$100,000 being assessed by the Environmental Quality Protection Board against Ministry of Resources and Development for failing to solve the sewer problems?" Ngiraingas asked.

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