Palau government sets deadline to bring stranded residents back

(Photo from the Palau Office of the President)

Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. is calling for immediate action on the stranded Palau citizens on Guam.

Remengesau has directed Vice President Raynold Oilouch to arrange a charter flight from Guam to Palau to repatriate the stranded residents, which include several students at the University of Guam.

Oilouch is the Chairman of the Palau National Emergency Committee.

Remengesau Jr. asked Oilouch to identify the most feasible date for the repatriation process and to ensure compliance with COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols in Palau.

“This work should be done in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health to ensure that all of the relevant government leaders agree on a plan and work together to guarantee the success of this project,” Remengesau Jr. said.

Bring home stranded citizens

Last month, the Palau President mentioned the government’s efforts to bring home 20 stranded Palauans in Guam back to the island via a chartered flight.

It was mentioned in a letter addressed to Governor Lou Leon Guerrero who made a request to the federal government to curb the movement of citizens from the Freely Associated States into Guam during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter dated April 9, Remengesau Jr. clarified that it has never been Palau’s purpose or intention to send any Palauan to Guam during the pandemic and that all flights — except weekly mail and cargo flights — were already suspended in Palau, at that time.

He said the Palau government is looking at all options to get the stranded Palauans home as soon as possible. “For this reason, we have gone to great effort to establish emergency quarantine facilities and are trying to arrange expensive charter flights to Palau,” he said.