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"Rhetoric is a poor substitute for real solutions"

By Philip N. Haruo

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, June 11, 2008) –Prior to the Leadership meeting last week with members of the Olbiil Er a Kelulau (OEK) and Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC), President Tommy E. Remengesau, received a letter, dated May 30, 2008, from members of Senate requesting for Leadership meeting – to resolve what the members believe to be "a crisis of grave nature," PPUC’s proposed electrical rates – and that the meeting be convened prior to the Remengesau’s trip to Portland, Oregon.

In response, Remengesau had written to the members of the Senate on June 3 and stated that he is as concerned as they are over the "critical energy situation," and appreciates the request the members of the Senate have proposed and indicated his approval of meeting.

Remengesau had indicated in his letter that this particular requested Leadership meeting "will lead to the kind of action we need" to address the energy challenges that Palau currently faces.

Remengesau indicated in his letter that Leadership meetings are opportunities for leaders – despite political differences and affiliations - to work together to reach agreements through which concrete actions are taken for the benefit of the people they represent. He further wrote that previous Leadership meetings "have been failing in this respect, primarily due to the Senate’s inability to follow through" on agreements reached.

Remengesau further wrote that there are numerous bills – acts that if enacted could generate income for Palau - currently in the Senate, which have received minimal or no action at all.

"Instead of acting on these pieces of legislation [sic], the Senate holds more meetings, hearings, and ‘reality checks,’" Remengesau wrote. Moreover, the Senate does not need a "reality check" in order to "figure out that this nation must generate more revenue if we are to sustain ourselves."

Remengesau had stated in his letter that people have become disappointed and cynical of the Senate’s inaction and political illusiveness. He wrote, "Rhetoric is a poor substitute for real solutions. And yet, when a situation is most critical and the need for cooperation among leaders is greatest, the chatter gets turned to the highest volume."

In his letter, Remengesau also puts to rest implications that his off-island trips are indications that he is retreating from the trying challenges of the nation. He indicated that his recent trips off-island has promoted Palau, secured funding - $250,000 for Protected Areas Network and $12 million for the Micronesia Challenge - and established relationships with other nations, which has benefited Palau and her people.

"My effort in the international arena has been aimed at protecting our environment and boosting our economy," Remengesau wrote, "Actions speak louder than words."

Remengesau wrote that the Senate must take action now. He indicated decisions must be made and acted upon to help bring more revenue to Palau. Moreover, he wrote that though some choices will be difficult and unpopular, it is the "ability to make such difficult decisions" and act on them that "separates leaders from mere politicians.

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