This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. (September 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|7th and 9th President of Palau|
|Assumed office |
17 January 2013
|Vice President||Antonio Bells|
|Preceded by||Johnson Toribiong|
1 January 2001 – 15 January 2009
|Vice President||Sandra Pierantozzi|
Elias Camsek Chin
|Preceded by||Kuniwo Nakamura|
|Succeeded by||Johnson Toribiong|
|4th Vice President of Palau|
1 January 1993 – 1 January 2001
|Preceded by||Kuniwo Nakamura|
|Succeeded by||Sandra Pierantozzi|
|Born||29 February 1956|
Koror, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
|Parents||Thomas Remengesau, Sr.|
Ferista Esang Remengesau
|Alma mater||Grand Valley State University|
Thomas Esang "Tommy" Remengesau Jr. (born 29 February 1956) is a Palauan politician who has been the ninth President of Palau since 2013. He originally served as the seventh president from 2001 to 2009. He also served as a Senator in the Palau National Congress between his two administrations. He was elected as Vice-President of Palau in 1992 and 1996, then as President in 2000, 2004, 2012, and 2016.
Wishing to make Palau less dependent upon United States aid, he promoted the expansion and growth of the tourist industry through his policy and slogan of Preserve the Best and Improve the Rest. The "best" refers to Palau's especially gifted and diverse underwater resource in the Micronesian region, and its reputation of being considered among the top in underwater attractions of the world. In Palau's foreign affairs, Remengesau had been active in maintaining Palau's presence in the United Nations. During his administration Palau elevated to become known as an unheralded leader amongst the international community through environmental initiatives, such as the Micronesian Challenge and its cooperation with South Pacific Nations in advocating awareness of global warming and its effects in the South Pacific Region.
Remengesau was born in Koror, Palau. His father is Thomas Remengesau, Sr., who was District Administrator of Palau during the Trust Territory era, as well as Minister of Justice, Vice President, and briefly Acting President of Palau. His mother, Ferista Esang Remengesau, also served as First Lady of Palau. Remengesau was educated at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, in the United States, graduating from there in 1979.
At 28 years old, Remengesau targeted the youth voting bloc of Palau and successfully lobbied for their support, in the process becoming known as one of the forefront advocates for the youth of Palau. Remengesau was then elected in 1984 to the Palau National Congress (Olbiil Era Kelulau), carried by the youth and a grassroots campaign to become the youngest senator in the nation's history at the age of 28. In 1992, he was elected Vice-President and served two terms. In 2000, with the support of outgoing President Kuniwo Nakamura, he won the presidential election, defeating ex-senator Peter Sugiyama by a margin of 52% to 46%. He easily won re-election in 2004, defeating Polycarp Basilius by a margin of 66.5% to 33.5%, in a race dogged with rumors of improper financial influence from Taipei and Beijing.
In April 2009, Special Prosecutor Michael Copeland, who served as Attorney General of Palau, launched an investigation along with a Special Task Force, stating that "office received information that gave probable cause to believe evidence of criminal activity is contained on the hard drives of seized computers." Senator Remengesau decried the whole process as an act of "selective prosecution". After much speculation and media tabloid surrounding the investigation, Remengesau was found only to have been guilty of not filing properties of land and their values and accrued interest. Remengesau was charged with 19 counts of violating Palau's code of ethics for failing to disclose his interests in real properties and other assets in 2002 and 2003. The charges bear on the lack of filing of the transfers and the values of said properties. Remengesau has said that, "I am being charged for basically technical information related to the filing of personal assets under the Code of Ethics law." “It was incomplete but it’s not like that we did not file anything. When we filed in years 2000-2002, we believed that what we were filing was in compliance with the law,” Remengesau said.
When asked about the verdict, he replied: “It is interesting because in our inquiries, roughly 90 percent filed the same way I did. And it is also an eye opener. I learned a lot from this trial and I hope other officials will also learn something from this because they will now change the way they disclose their assets.” He added, “From now on, everyone who acquired land through tradition will also disclose it in their financial disclosure.” In April 2010, Associate Justice Kathleen Salii imposed a fine of US$156,400 on Remengesau. Although prosecutor Michael Copeland recommended a fine of US$1,357,500, Copeland would go on to express his satisfaction with the sentence in media interviews.
He took office as President again in 2013, after defeating his successor Johnson Toribiong in the November 2012 Palauan election. Due to his work regarding Palau's environment, Remengesau received the Pacific Champion Award in 2013, as well as the United Nations' Champion of the Earth title, the Inspiring Conservation Award, and the IGFA Conservation Award, all in 2014. In 2016, he received the Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in National Stewardship. He appeared in the 2016 documentary film Before the Flood to discuss the vulnerability of Palau to sea level rise.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tommy Remengesau.|
| Vice President of Palau
| President of Palau
| President of Palau