EDITORIAL: Palau Ministerial Appointments

Differing views about the Congressional consideration of the appointment of Mr. Secilil Eldebechel and Mr. Andrew Tabelual for the respective Ministries of Finance and Education have been shared in the media and other forum.  As stimulating as these discussions have been, approved I am moved to share some impressions also.  Following the initial Presidential appointment of these two and the failure to get approval after reconsideration and re-appointment for a total of three Senate rejections to date, and they still must undergo Senate reconsideration.

The Olbiil Era Kelulau’s rather concise constitutional authority under Article IX section 8 “ to approve presidential appointment by a vote of not less than two thirds (2/3) of the members of the Senate” has seemingly been confounded by political rhetoric, petitions and pressure from special interest groups and others. While I understand that members of the Senate have taken under advisement letters and recommendations from the Office of the Rubekul Belau and the Governors Association among others, one must recognize that the expressed constitutional powers of the Olbiil Era Kelulau assures the check and balance concept between the separate branches of government and guarantees balanced decision making on critical issues. Thus, it is imperative that the Senate of the Olbiil Era Kelulau is accorded the courtesy to proceed with the due process of confirmation and deliver results based on its own deliberations and the final vote of its membership.
The Senate of the 9th Olbiil Era Kelulau has approved 5 out of 7 presidential appointees to date, an indication of progressive discussions.  However, it may not be prudent to insist that every appointment will be approved.  In hindsight, previous appointees to the cabinet and other positions did not receive Senate approval and continued on in various capacities as they are respected men and women in their own right-individuals like Dr. Victor Yano, Dr. Patrick Tellei, Ms. Youlsau Bells and former Senate President Surangel Whipps Sr. among others. As they moved on, other presidential appointees whose names were subsequently forwarded to the Senate were approved to timely complete the required number of Ministers for the Cabinet, other Boards and Commissions. One then fails to see the rationale in the persistent and futile attempt to railroad these two appointees through congress given the very clear trend of non-approval and the expressed priority of the Executive Branch is to timely fill the remaining cabinet posts and move forward with the conduct of business of this government. Unless the executive branch is simply unwavering in its “my way or the highway” stance, it may be time to  accept the outcome of the Senate’s final vote or send in new nominees as may be fitting. Nonetheless, we all need to move on with this issue as it has simply become stale politics that stands in the way of  progressive discussions on many other important things.