By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
August 12, 2015
Pohnpei, FSM—If the FAA truly wanted to test the mettle of Pohnpei's emergency responders to a plane crash situation on the runway at Pohnpei International Airport, they couldn't have chosen a better day.
"You can't get much more real than this," said Ron Simpson of the FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration) regarding today's full scale emergency exercise.
It was true and the lessons learned will provide Pohnpei's emergency responders with a great deal of information about what can be improved.
While most of the emergency exercises in the past have been conducted under blue sky conditions, today's exercise was far from that. The weather was atrocious.
By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
July 16, 2015
Federated States of Micronesia—The FSM's Office of the National Public Auditor (OPA) released findings from its performance audit of the FSM's Fisheries Observer and Port Sampler Revolving Fund for fiscal years 2012 to 2014. It listed six significant findings (audit exceptions) requiring improvement in order to ensure compliance of the financial activities with the enabling legislation that established the fund. Two of findings were referred to the OPA Compliance Investigation Division.
By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
August 11, 2015
Pohnpei, FSM—A tribunal of Pohnpei State Supreme Court Justices has been constituted and the Special Prosecutor appointed on the matter of the impeachment of Governor John Ehsa. The Tribunal held its first hearing on Thursday, August 6 before a packed courtroom.
Associate Justice Nickontro W. Johnny is the presiding justice on the Tribunal. Chief Justice Benjamin Rodriguez and Associate Justice Nelson A. Joseph are members. Attorney Kembo Mida is the Special Prosecutor.
Governor Ehsa's counsel of record is Mr. Benjamin Abrams. Attorney Mr. Martin Jano is co-counsel.
The hearing last week was Governor Ehsa's opportunity to be heard regarding his legal objections to the impeachment proceedings.
Legal Counsel for Governor Ehsa argued that Articles of Impeachment served on the Governor's Secretary and not directly by hand on the impeached individual were improperly served rendering the service of the articles invalid.
Speaker Wesley Simina led a delegation of the FSM Congress to Nagasaki to attend the commemoration of the end of WW 2 and related peace ceremonies. The Speaker, along with Senators Berney Martin and Ferney Perman paid their respects at the "hypocenter", ground zero for the atomic bomb that was dropped in 1945. He said that the visit was emotional for the delegation. Some senators had tears in their eyes listening to the speeches of the survivors. Speaker Simina reiterated to the Nagasaki municipal authorities his commitment for peace. He believes that the entire Congress feels the same way.
Embassy of Japan - 01 AUG 2015
19 young students from all over Japan visited Pohnpei and enjoyed their stay for a week. They joined the Micronesia Nature Experience Project which started in 2002 and has been funded by Children's Dream Fund established with National Institute for Youth Education of Japan. Japanese children arrived on July 22 and received very warm welcome by many children in Pohnpei at the reception held at Pohnpei State Governor's Conference room after they visited Japanese Ambassador's residence.
During their stay, they fully enjoyed variety of programs such as visit to Nanmadol ruins, Keproi Fall and nature experience on Narlup island. After having stayed at their host families, two countries' children joined their farewell party and performed songs, dancing and storytelling. Japanese children left Pohnpei on July 28 with so much of fond memory of Pohnpei and strong friendship with children of Pohnpei. Welcome and farewell parties were attended by Japanese Ambassador and his wife, Mr. & Mrs. Masaki & Nobuko Sakai.
01 AUG 2015 - Giff Johnson's latest work — "Idyllic No More: Pacific Islands Climate, Corruption and Development Dilemmas" — is a call to serious planning and more. The author summons leaders to recognize that life has changed in the Marshalls and the status quo is the road to disaster. There was a time when this might not have been true–when people who wanted to kick back and live a simple island life could quietly opt out of school and retire to the family land to provide for themselves as their ancestors had done for generations in an island society that offered the resources, physical and social, to support its population.
But times have changed, the author convincingly argues. That kind of idyllic fallback is no longer an option. Residents of the Marshalls, including those outer atolls where life was simple and cheap, are voting with their feet. The outflow of Marshallese to the US is steadily increasing, slowly emptying the remote atolls even as it drains the population of the two large population centers, Majuro and Ebeye. Islanders today expect meaningful employment but find none at home.
Marshallese today want more but seem to be getting less. Water supplies are contaminated in many places, the copra industry which once provided modest disposable income for those who worked the land has gone south, and the quality of education is not what it once was. No wonder people now describe themselves as "poor." Normal household tasks have become more challenging with the breakdown of the old extended family on which they relied. As a result, even basic care of children often leaves a lot to be desired.
In today's world no island is simply an island. All nations have subscribed, willingly or not, to standards that are spelled out in global millennium development goals. Measured by these standards, progress in the Marshalls has stalled. Donors may open their hearts and wallets to the Marshalls, but the money given is all too often regarded as a treat to be passed around the table and sampled by everyone rather than for its real purpose. Consultants come in and craft a report outlining reform measures that goes unread and unimplemented. Government employees fly off to attend meetings that multiply each year and leave them little time to provide the public services their people so badly need.
How does this small island nation chart a new course for itself? One that offers it the hope of finding new resources while conserving those it now has? One that provides a pathway to the development that government and people claim to want for themselves? One that is, in that over-worked phrase, sustainable?
The answer is not nearly as elusive as it might appear, the author suggests. But making this happen will require reform: a change in habits, especially on the part of the government, and a readiness to implement practices that we know can be successful but threaten our own interests. That's what it will take, no matter whether we're dealing with global warming, preserving fish stock in national waters, improving education and health services, or trying to make the heavy emigration work to the advantage of the Marshall Islands.
The writer was the founder and long-time director of the Micronesian Seminar in Pohnpei. He is now based on Guam and writes a regular blog at: www.wheresfran.org.
Note: Idyllic No More is available online at AMAZON