Remarks made by Yap State Legislature’s Legislative Counsel
On February 5, 2013, a public hearing of Y.A.P. (Yap Awareness Project Group) was held in Yap State Legislature. Y.A.P. had presented a petition to Legislature on November 28, 2012, requested the state leadership to be united in terms of ETG’s proposed investment (ref). During the public hearing, Y.A.P. restated their concerns for the state’s anticipatable economic demise, as well as their request for the state leadership to be united for the betterment of the Yap state.
Responding to Y.A.P.’s petition, Legislature members have explained the legal issues pertaining to the Investment Agreement, also detailed the controversial process of reviewing and signing the Investment Agreement, as well as several Resolutions relating to that Agreement. For a more complete understanding of the issues involved in this public hearing, we strongly encourage you to read Mr. Clement Yow Mulalap’s post on facebook for a clear picture (resource).
By the end of the hearing, the Legislative Counsel (Legal Advisor) for the Legislature made two remarks, which succinctly summarize the essential problem of the ETG-Yap State controversy. We recommend everybody concerned about ETG issues read those remarks. We have transcribed the remarks here. Please bear with us: there may be inaccuracies in the transcription because of the recording quality. Please verify with the audio file uploaded by Mr. Clement Yow Mulalap (http://bit.ly/Wu3qZv, around the 1:56:50 mark), or check with the video clips on youtube (Remark 1, Remark 2).
Ms. Leelkan Dabchuren (Legislative Counsel for the Yap State Legislature) :
[Thank you chairman.] I just want to clarify that the Investment Agreement, the one that is signed, that was all of the government engaging in a negotiation [the negotiations] with a private entity for a private business, and that is not part of the government’s role [work?]. And that was where the first wrong step was taken.
I just want to comment also on the signed document, that I understand what the Y.A.P. group is requesting (questioning?), that the leadership of Yap should be unified to come up with the best course(?) of action for the best interest of the people of Yap. That is very, I think everybody agrees with that. There is one legal problem. The Governor has already signed the Investment Agreement obligating the State to implement certain acts to amend laws, to create an environment to benefit ETG. These are specified in the Agreement. Those are legal obligations on behalf, on the State, and all the leadership of Yap can come together, form an unified position on ETG or any development for that matter, but that would not void the signed agreement with legal obligations on the State, until and unless there is a very clear statement that the agreement is void. I think everybody agrees that the letter from Governor to Deng Hong concerning voiding the agreement is subject to several interpretations. And therefore, one can argue for the agreement is void, one can argue that it’s an invitation to go back to the table. And therefore the Agreement remains its effect.
I have to say this because as the legal advisor for the legislature, the legislating branch cannot undo or give effect to a different course of action. Other than that, what the state is legally obligated to do? And agreement obligates the State of Yap, this by the definition in the legal, in the agreement. And so, it is stated that, put the Agreement aside, and give it to the leadership to figure it out, that is fine; however, if the foreign investment permit and business license were issued in anticipation of the signed agreement, and the government leadership ignores those two instruments– the foreign investment permit and the business license, then we are leaving, leave the State government, leaving the land owners or private citizens, in the court defend for themselves, without living up to the terms of the signed Agreement, and so, those two acts are not separable, as much as people are tired of the signed agreement, it cannot be separated from what ETG is doing, or probably planning to do.
And to add to that, the letter from Deng Hong responding to Governor’s letter, included terms that are not in the signed agreement.
I just want to clarify that, because I think it’s important for the people and the community to realize that if they are entering to lease agreements because of the government has signed the Investment Agreement with ETG, yet, the government is gonna leave ETG and private land owners defend for themselves, then what the people in the communities believing them are to be entirely correct that they cannot rely on, depend on the government because of the signed Agreement? Thank you.
Thank you LC. So, the question is, is there any hope in, or any chance for realizing, for the benefit, regard the leadership of the state to come together and discuss, or, cannot do much.
Ms. Leelkan Dabchuren:
Thank you chairman. I am assuming I am supposed to address that. I will, or anybody else.
The state leadership can and probably should get together and form a unified position of any matter concerning the people of Yap. But with respect to the ETG signed the Agreement, that document is signed, obligating the state to perform certain actions, and I believe some of the people in the communities are relying on that government signed document, to enter into lease agreements, because they have the backup of the government. So it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to separate the Investment Agreement from what the private, people have to [do] with their private land. Thank you.
(*Note: The person who uploaded those video clips to youtube apologized for cutting the recording into two parts. No further editing was added. No voice or image was deleted.)
(*Note: The transcription is not perfect. If the reader finds anything not accurately reflect the original words, please let us know. Kam’magar!)