Sen. Adalbert Eledui, 1948-2010

HONOLULU (Pacific Islands Report, Dec. 16, 2010) – Palau’s National Congress has lost a firm voice for the environment. Respected statesman and conservationist Sen. Adalbert Eledui passed away on Tuesday in Koror after a long illness. He was 62.

"It’s a great loss to Palau," said Sen. Surangel Whipps Jr., a longtime admirer and colleague on the Senate Committee on Resources, Commerce, Trade, and Development, which Eledui chaired. "I enjoyed working with him."

Whips, who carpooled with Eledui on their daily 26-mile drive to the state’s capital, admired his strong leadership and personal commitment to ideals.

"He was known as a fighter," Whipps said. "Strong-willed." He stood up for what’s right. One of the last things he did was, after coming back from a medical checkup in the Philippines, was to attend an APL [Asia Pacific Leadership Program] meeting in Yap to talk about the environment and conservation. When he came back he was very ill. All the way up to the end, he was working to do his job as a senator and what he believes in. That’s the type of person he was."

Senator Regis Akitaya told the Marianas Variety that Eledui "was one of the most active and dedicated public servants in this country. We will miss him."

Senator Alfonso Diaz, a frequent opponent in congress, gave Eledui his due.

"He was one of the strong men of the Senate."

Eledui grew up in Palau during the formative years of the young republic. He entered military service in 1969 and, following a 23-year career, retired as a Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army in 1992. He later joined the Koror State Government, becoming Director of the Department of Conservation and Law Enforcement.

During his service with the state, Eledui was instrumental in crafting regulations to protect the highly popular Rock Island Southern Lagoon Management Area, a controversial task that required limiting access to the highly popular tourist and recreational spot. He instituted stiff fines for user violations and exacted visitors’ fees to pay for upkeep in the area.

As a community activist, he was among founding members of the Palau Conservation Society. And as a Senator in Congress, he helped establish the highly regarded Coral Reef Research Center.

Elected as a senator in 2008, Eledui gained a reputation as a thorough lawmaker who acted on careful study and deliberation. Whips points to Eledui’s introduction of regulations for oil exploration in Palau, setting standards and requirements in the face of a move to sign deals outright with anxious oil companies.

"His thinking was, if we’re going to do it, let’s do it right," said Whipps.

Eledui is survived by his wife, Elena, and daughter, Edelene.

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To this day i still dont understand what happened to you ...

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