wasre management

The FSM Office of Environment and Emergency Management (OEEM) in collaboration with the Japanese Technical Cooperation Project for Promotion of Regional Initiative on Solid Waste Management in Pacific Island Countries (J-PRISM) conducted its first Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) meeting through its phase two program on September 28, 2017 at the OEEM Conference Room. The half-day meeting, chaired by OEEM Assistant Director Cindy Ehmes, brought together State counterparts from the respective Environmental Protection Agencies and Transportation and Infrastructure/Public Works Office in each of the states, national government representatives, JICA, and the Japan Ambassador to discuss the results of a recent waste baseline survey, strategy development, and container deposit legislation systems. The Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Ryochi Horie, presented to the meeting services and funding schemes available to the FSM. As a result of this meeting, the relevant key agencies signed their Plan of Operation (PO) and Project Design Matrix (PDM) to continue collaborative efforts in combating waste management issues under the J-PRISM II Project.
Prior to the JCC meeting, J-PRISM II and the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) conducted a Solid Waste Management Workshop on September 27, 2017 to provide guidance on strategy development in reference to the Regional Cleaner Pacific Strategy. A more detailed strategy development session, led by a SPREP Solid Waste Management Advisor, was conducted on the 28th of September after the JCC meeting.
J-PRISM is a five-year project implemented and funded by JICA that is aimed to provide technical assistance in areas of Solid Waste Management. The project is in its second phase and the areas of focus include Collection and Disposal, Strategy Development, and the Container Deposit Legislation. During phase one of the project, the areas of focus included Policy development, Awareness, Landfill Management, Collection and Disposal, and Recycling.

muslim

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community FSM
Muslims of Micronesia held a very unique event in Pohnpei this past month called “Coffee, Cake and True Islam”. It aimed to remove misconceptions about their faith. “More than 60% of Americans have never met a Muslim, that is dramatically higher for people in Micronesia, so we wanted to make a comfortable platform for people to come and meet Muslims, ask us questions, and become at ease when they find that our teachings are peaceful. The biggest misconception is that our beliefs teach terrorism, but that is completely false”, said Kauser, the Imam (Religious Minister) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of FSM, currently the only Muslim denomination established in the FSM. There was a popular youtube advertisement that was seen more than 25k times all across Micronesia inviting people for this event. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community commented that they wished to use a common platform to advertise for their event and especially something that was not used before.

By Giff Johnson
Marianas Variety
MAJURO — Nearly one million dollars was illegally removed from the Marshall Islands government’s United States-based trust fund and only a portion of the money has been recovered, said officials in Majuro Friday.
A series of 12 unauthorized withdrawals from the Marshall Islands Trust Fund “A Account” at State Street Bank and Trust Company during June and July sent $982,265 to accounts at banks in Ireland and Malaysia. State Street Bank is a major U.S. bank headquartered in Boston. While the $273,883 sent in four withdrawals to an account in Dublin, Ireland was recovered, the $708,382 sent to accounts at the Standard Chartered Bank in Selangor, Malaysia has not been returned, said Marshall Islands Finance Secretary Maybelline Bing.

Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia
PALIKIR, POHNPEI
October 6, 2017- The Second Regular Session of the Twentieth Congress adjourned on September 29 with the adoption of resolutions on various nomination and the various programs and services facilitated by the National Government, among others.
On the nominations, the Congress adopted Congressional Resolution (CR) 20-22 to confirm Sihna Neth Lawrence as the Nation’s representative and member on the Joint Trust Fund Committee.
Other board representation measures included CR 20-37 which confirmed Pelma Johnson Mingii as the National Government representative on the Board of Regents for the College of Micronesia and CR 20-44 for Tony M. Tareq as the Yap State representative on the MiCare Board of Directors.

soccer supplies

The US Coast Guard cutter Kiska made a brief port stop in Pohnpei. The intention had been for the crew to stage an exhibition soccer match with members of the Pohnpei Soccer Association but mechanical difficulties made it impossible. During their stop they donated soccer gear to the Pohnpei Soccer Association.

rescue boatThe government of Japan donated a new, powerful search and rescue boat to the Pohnpei Department of Public Safety. During a short ceremony at DPS on October 6, Ambassador Ryoichi Horie presented the boat to Governor Marcelo Peterson. Governor Peterson said that it is an important function of DPS to be able to provide for public safety in its own waters and that the new boat would make that possible.

Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia
PALIKIR, POHNPEI – October 8, 2017- The 20th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia adjourned its Second Regular Session on September 29th with the passage of measures for a new national budget and a new national department, among many others.
As convened on September 14, the 2nd Regular Session was to foremost pass the fiscal year 2018 operations budget for the National Government and address other matters pending before the body. With the Amended Compact funds zeroed out to the state government, the Congress passed Congressional Act (CA) 20-47, to appropriate a national budget of $67,903,100 to address operations of all branches of the National Government, its agencies, various programs, grants, subsidies and contributions and Capital and Human Resources Development.
Also for FY 2018 budget cycle, the Congress passed CA 20-51, to appropriate $8,500,000 to fund priority infrastructure projects in the states of Chuuk, Kosrae and Pohnpei. The state of Yap opted to maintain its funding for state priority infrastructure in the National Government FY-18 budget. The Congress had, during FY-2015, initiated a national government contribution of $10 million to fund the states priority infrastructure projects.
On a budget related matter, Congress had passed CA 20-39 for $160,000 to supplement the FY-2017 budget and CA 20- 46 to extend the lapse date for the funding for the Joint Committee on Compact Review and Planning (JCRP) which is also in the FY17 budget.

elimo

Chuuk Conservation Society
October 17, 2017
On the 17th of October, Chuuk State Governor Johnson S. Elimo signed into law the Protected Areas Network bill for Chuuk State at the latter part of the second and final day of the eleventh Federated States of Micronesia State and National Leadership Conference held in Chuuk.
The Governor’s approval action capped lobbying efforts by various government and non-government entities the past thirteen months with a sense of success.
Seconds before signing the bill, Governor Elimo said the PAN legislation would “strengthen the stewardship of natural resources by rightful owners” and add to the successes of enduring customary resource protection practices. In addition, he believed the PAN effort would create opportunities for gainful collaboration involving resource owners and protected areas management partners.

donations

By The Fourth Branch
October 14, 2017
Founded in 2004, "Reach Out Pacific" (REPAC) has repackaged donated goods into containers and shipped them to Micronesia.
Their mission: "to improve healthcare and education throughout the Pacific".
For over a decade, REPAC has managed to donate much needed hospital equipment and school supplies to less fortunate Micronesian communities. Many residents of Honolulu are familiar with REPAC through the Friends of the Library of Hawaii, which donates unsold books to REPAC every year.
REPAC has helped countless persons and strengthened relationships across the Pacific. However, we noticed that REPAC discontinued donations to Chuuk State in the FSM since 2012. So we reached out to REPAC founder, senator Glenn Wakai of Hawaii for clarification.
Senator Wakai has shown his commitment to continuing this service of goods reaching the islands. He has successfully rallied groups of volunteers annually and poured his time into sustaining this effort. In response to his many contributions, Palau president, Tommy Remengesau Jr. appointed senator Wakai as Palau's honorary consul to Hawaii.
Under Wakai, REPAC has grown into a successful and beneficial nonprofit organization. However, it has also had some bad experiences.
From 2005 to 2012, REPAC has shipped four containers of donated school and medical supplies to Chuuk. Two of which reached Chuuk without complications. The other two containers have basically disappeared. Senator Wakai explained that his contacts in Chuuk have yet to confirm if the two shipments of donations have reached their intended recipients. The fate of these two containers remain a mystery. He explained that similar issues occurred in the RMI.
Senator Wakai expressed frustration over the irresponsibility. REPAC will continue to help Micronesia, but has halted donations to Chuuk and the RMI.
“I know that Chuuk has the greatest needs in Micronesia. It's unfortunate that it's plagued by leadership and a system that is not accountable. As Chuuk languishes, the rest of the world and REPAC is moving forward.” Hawaii State Senator, Glenn Wakai.

Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia
PALIKIR, POHNPEI
On October 09, 2017, Senator David W. Panuelo received, on behalf of Speaker Wesley W. Simina, the United States of America Ambassador Robert Riley and the new U.S. Pacific Command Representative, Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield.
Rear Admiral Chatfield took over command from Rear Adm. Babette "Bette" Bolivar as the U.S. Pacific Command representative to Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Republic of Palau. She is also Commander of the U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas and Commander, Joint Region Marianas. The Rear Admiral’s visit was to meet with the leadership of the National Government and the Pohnpei State government for familiarization.
Senator Panuelo who is also the Chairman of the Pohnpei Delegation in Congress welcomed the Rear Admiral and thanked her for her role in the U.S continuing security efforts in the islands. Their discussion touched on a variety of issues ranging from politics to fisheries and port security to veterans affairs.
Rear Admiral Chatfield and Ambassador Riley were accompanied by Deputy Chief of Mission Joanne Cummings, Captain Thomas Price and staff from the Embassy.

Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia
PALIKIR, POHNPEI
On September 27, 2017, a delegation from the U.S. Embassy led by Ambassador Robert Riley and D.C.M. Joanne Cummings accompanied Captain Christopher M. Chase, Guam Sector Commander- U.S. Coast Guard, along with an entourage of Coast Guard personnel to meet with Speaker Wesley W. Simina.
Captain Christopher M. Chase took over command from Captain James Pruett as the new U.S. Coast Guard, Guam Sector Commander. One of the Coast Guard’s Guam Sector responsibilities includes the FSM and the purpose of the visit was to introduce the new Sector Commander to the leadership of the Nation. Captain Chase met with Speaker Simina to share his concerns and also his forthcoming plans on the collaborative efforts between the U.S. Coast Guard FSM and to improve the areas of importance such as search and rescue, law enforcement, Ports Waterways and Coastal Security (PWCS), marine inspection, mariner’s licensing and documentation, port safety and marine environmental protection.
Speaker Simina stated that a major portion of goods being shipped to Micronesia, namely FSM is through its ports and understands the gravity of maintaining its ports. The Speaker thanked the U.S. Ambassador and Captain Chase for the visit and assured him of FSM’s commitment to do its part in maintaining the country’s seaports.

natural resources

The U Municipal Government (UMG) continues to demonstrate its leadership and commitment to managing their natural resources for the betterment of its residents and environment. Over the past year, with assistance from various financial and technical partners such as Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP), Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), Rare, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Pohnpei State GEF R2R project, and others; the UMG accomplished critical milestones toward improving and strengthening natural resource management, but additional staff is needed to implement the municipality’s objectives. It’s most recent initiative includes creating a permanent position, a Natural Resource Management Coordinator (NRMC), within their local governmental structure to spearhead conservation and management efforts in U. This new position will help coordinate and undertake efforts such as implementing the recently adopted U Municipal Fisheries Management Plan, the Nanwelin Rohi Forest Stewardship Plan, and other municipal level activities. The individual hired will also help coordinate activities among State and National level agencies, U government units, and the communities of U.

Weno, Chuuk—On October 6, the FSM Supreme Court in Chuuk ruled that Cortez Benedicto and Rieta Eram were guilty of crimes related to human trafficking. It was the FSM’s first successful human trafficking conviction.
The charges had asserted that Tataichy Punan had participated in the crimes but he has been found to be not guilty.
During the same week the court found Hercules Jonatan Siega and Johnone Manaky to be not guilty of human trafficking crimes related to another alleged young victim.
Benedicto was convicted of Human Trafficking for taking a fourteen-year old girl to his GPPC construction campsite in 2015, where he engaged in various forms of sexual conduct with the young girl with the knowledge of Rieta Eram. The court ruled that the Benedicto made payments of money and other material benefits to Rieta Eram. Benedicto faces up to 15 years in prison and or a fine of up to $25,000 for that crime.
He was also convicted of the crime of Trafficking in Children for the same activities. He faces up to 30 years or a fine of $50,000 for that crime.
Rieta Eram was also convicted of Human Trafficking for allowing her fourteen-year old sponsor girl to sleep with and have repeated sexual intercourse with Benedicto in exchange for cash and other material benefits. She faces up to 15 years in prison and or a fine of up to $25,000. She was also convicted of Trafficking in Children which carries a penalty of up to 30 years or a fine of $50,000.
The court will hold a telephonic sentencing hearing at 2:00 on October 27.
Tataichy Punan was cleared of all charges.

 

 

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
October 20, 2017
Chuuk, FSM—Four young men were charged today with a total of 10 felonies filed by the FSM National Government today in Weno. The charges are related to the theft of firearms, ammunition, a laptop and other items from the Chuuk headquarters of the FSM National Police on October 12.
Morgan Alex Serious, Kthree Mataichy, Limo Elimo, and a 16 year old defendant are charged with the crimes. Police arrested the defendants, one of whom is the son of the Chuuk Governor, yesterday. The State and National Leadership Conference was taking place in Chuuk at the time.

new zealand

FSM Public Information Office
September 13, 2017
FSM—On Wednesday, September 13, 2017, President Peter M. Christian received the Letter of Credence of Her Excellency Karena Lyons, Ambassador of New Zealand to the Federated States of Micronesia, in an official ceremony held at the President’s conference room.
During the ceremony, President Christian welcomed Ambassador Lyons and thanked her for taking her time to visit the FSM to formally present her Credentials as the new Ambassador of New Zealand to the FSM. He acknowledged and thanked the New Zealand Government through Ambassador Lyons for the bilateral cooperation and assistance provided by New Zealand, such as the capacity training and scholarship, and other areas of cooperation.
President Christian reiterated that Climate Change is still a priority for the FSM and acknowledged and thanked New Zealand for it supports to the Pacific Islands Forum and other International fora on the issue.
Ambassador Lyons thanked the President and expressed her appreciation for the warm welcome and for accepting her letter of credence. She also expressed the New Zealand Government’s appreciation to the FSM for its support at the United Nations.
The President concluded the courtesy call with the Ambassador by inviting her to also visit the others States. He also encouraged Ambassador to continue strengthening the relationship between the FSM and New Zealand.
During Ambassador Lyons’ visit to the FSM for her presentation of credentials, she also paid courtesy call on Speaker Wesley W. Simina, FSM Congress as well as on Heads of Departments of the National Government. She also paid a courtesy call on the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Resident Ambassadors of the People’s Republic of China, Japan, Australia and the United States.
In attendance at the Presentation of Credentials ceremony were Vice President Yosiwo P. George, Secretary Marion Henry, Secretary Joses Gallen, Deputy Secretary Samson Pretrick, the Chief of Staff, along with staff from the President’s Office and Foreign Affairs.

ecosystem

The island nations of Micronesia are ground zero for climate change. The impacts of sea level rise are already forcing abandonment of low-lying atolls and will continue to have excessively large impacts on traditional cultures reliant on oceanic and coastal resources for their health and continued existence. Mangroves are known to be sensitive to impacts from even slowly rising sea level, but appropriate adaptation actions can increase their resilience. They provide physical protection from rising seas and intensifying storms. Pohnpei’s mangroves provide all these services but are threatened by a combination of multiple stressors that are predicted to intensify in the future.

FSM Public Information Office
September 21, 2017
New York–Direct flights to Japan from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) could be coming soon.
Today Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin S. Robert signed an amendment to the Air Transport Agreement between the Federated States of Micronesia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) that will allow Air Niugini to extend its current air service from the FSM to Japan.
PNG Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Rimbink Pato signed the agreement on behalf of the PNG government in a ceremony hosted by the PNG Mission to the United Nations. After the signing, both Secretary Robert and Minister Pato made brief remarks welcoming the extension of air services and the strengthening of the bilateral relationship between FSM and PNG.
Secretary Robert welcomed the extension of air service to Japan and expressed gratitude to PNG for helping to bring together the entire Pacific by establishing direct flights between numerous islands. Minister Pato observed that travel between FSM and PNG had strengthened people-to-people contact, and he highlighted the potential for associated growth and investment in the oceans and fisheries sector.
Air Niugini commenced regular flights to the FSM States of Pohnpei and Chuuk from PNG in December 2016, operating twice a week every Wednesday and Saturday. The new flight extensions to Japan are in the planning stages, and have not yet been scheduled. The signing of this important agreement will allow further detailed operations planning to continue.

U.S. Department of the Interior
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke received President of the Federated States of Micronesia Peter Christian, in a courtesy visit at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The Secretary and the President discussed a variety of topics focusing on the importance of the close and mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia. The discussion touched on Compact funding procedures, security in the Western Pacific, and financial and economic aspects of the relationship and implications for the next 6 years and into the future. The President also challenged the Secretary to a friendly fishing competition.
The U.S. Department of the Interior administers funding to the Federated States of Micronesia under the Compact of Free Association, a bi-lateral agreement which defines the close relationship between the U.S. and the FSM.
President Christian was accompanied by FSM Foreign Minister Lorin Robert, FSM Ambassador to the United States Akillino Susaia, and attorney Sam Witten. Secretary Zinke was staffed by Chief of Staff Scott Hommel, Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Doug Domenech, Director of the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) Nik Pula, and OIA policy division staff Tanya Harris Joshua.

The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China made a second donation of renewable energy appliances to municipal governments in Pohnpei. This time Nett Municipality, Sapwuafik, Nukuoro, and Kapingamarengi were the recipients of the donation. The ceremony was hosted by the Nett Municipal Government. Nett received 6 solar street lights destined for the islands of Lenger and Parem. The outer island municipalities received home solar light kits (pictured below) to help outer island families have access to clean, renewable energy. Ambassador Li Jie pointed out that these solar lights can provide proper light to children in the evenings so they can do their homework and read. The donation was facilitated by the Care Micronesia Foundation’s Executive Director, Mr. Patrick Blank, who worked with PUC’s new General Manager, Mr. Nixon Anson, to review a recent PUC survey on renewable energies in Pohnpei and select the best placement for the new equipment. In his speech, Ambassador Li pointed out that these solar lights were purchased with donations from private groups and businesses in China. The first round of donations was made in June of 2015 where 30 sets of solar home lights went to Pingelap and 4 solar streetlights were donated to Mokil for community lighting. The Chinese Embassy looks forward to doing more projects with renewable energies in the FSM in the future.

natural energy

The Ichigo Holdings Team was once again dispatched to Chuuk from September 10th to 19th, 2017 for the purpose of installing additional water purification systems on the islands of Eot and Piis Panewu of Weno, Chuuk. These two islands have agreed to placement of water stations to produce drinking water and to distribute produced water to neighboring islands during disaster and emergency situation. In addition, the Team also conducted their first emergency water supply drill/trainings with organizations that are in charge of emergency operations such as Chuuk ODA, Chuuk Disaster Operations (CDO), and Micronesia Red Cross Society-Chuuk Chapter.
The Ichigo Holdings Team paid a visit to Honorable Johnson Elimo, Governor of Chuuk, for a meeting to discuss the overall schedule, necessary arrangements and any issues need to be resolved. The Chuuk Government, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Micronesia Red Cross Society were kind enough to provide logistics assistance such as transporting units (trucks and boats) for the donated water treatment and solar power equipment that included Ichigo Holdings product from AQUANEXT (Seawater-type: Model SW-NE5 & SW-NE1, Blackish- Type: Model BW-GS5 & BW-GE5, and Manual-Type: Model BW-HP).
Over twenty participants gathered at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for briefing from Chuuk State Disaster Control Office and JICA Study Team member and for the commencement of the drill. The drill started off with loading of the equipment, fuel, etc. and boarding of staff/workers. After arriving at the designated water stations, equipment were unloaded and transported to the site and began operation of the various water treatment system which were installed beforehand. During the drill, several community members, from elementary school children to community leaders, gathered to witness the drill and drank samples of the purified water. Although the drill targeted organizations in charge of emergency operations, a handful of community members were also actively engaged. The drill ended with removal of the systems and loading them back onto the boats for the journey back to Weno and closing out with a small meeting for evaluation.
The community members were informed that these water purification systems can be used daily to provide clean and safe drinking water. The daily usage will ensure that the systems are operable during emergency situations.

united nations

United Nations summary
September 23, 2017
New York—YOSIWO GEORGE, Vice-President of the Federated States of Micronesia, pressed the global community to better combat climate change, which was among the most serious threats to global peace and security and must be at the top of the Assembly’s agenda. He called for the appointment of a Special Representative on Climate Change and Security, stressing that mitigation efforts were essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Paris Agreement on climate change provided an avenue to enhance cooperation and he called on all States to implement that accord, support the Green Climate Fund and contribute to innovative climate solutions. He recalled the success of the Montreal Protocol and its Kigali Amendment to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, pressing the remaining parties to ratify that agreement before the next meeting in November.
Expressing support for the 2017 Ocean Conference, held in June, he said his country would support the organization of a second conference in 2020. At the Pacific Island Forum Leaders Meeting in Samoa, Micronesia had endorsed “the Blue Pacific Identity” as a driver of collective action in the region. To tackle the mounting threats to the Pacific Ocean, the special case of small island developing States must be enshrined in the implementing agreement under the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, and he welcomed the successful conclusion of the Preparatory Committee. It was now urgent to launch and conclude the intergovernmental conference to draft and adopt a new legally binding agreement.
As fisheries were a mainstay of Pacific island economies, he called for steadfast efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. He expressed concern over the lack of recognition and respect that costal States had in managing fisheries in their exclusive economic zones. Some developed country fishing nations had advocated flag-based rights in regional fisheries management organizations, measures that would undermine zone-based management measures and erode small islands’ ability — as resource owners — to exercise their sovereign rights. He called on those partners to withdraw all such proposals and support the efforts to increase benefits from the sustainable management fisheries in exclusive economic zones.

September 27, 2017
Washington D.C.—On September 27, the FSM issued the following statement to the United States State department regarding the issue of North Korea:
Micronesia can no longer be simply a concerned party on the sideline hoping that the North Korea government's barrage of threat to Nuke Guam will go away. A threat to Guam is a threat to the people or the Federated states of Micronesia and all other Micronesians who now make Guam their home. So together with the Chamorro people, and those who now live and work with them in Guam we condemn the escalating belligerence exhibited by the leadership of the people of North Korea;
The Federated States of Micronesia joins other members of the United Nations, and demand immediate resolution to the North Korea crisis;
The Federated States of Micronesia strongly urges the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation to step up to the table and begin discussions on how to avert any drastic move by the Government of North Korea;
The Federated States or Micronesia acknowledges that the leadership of North Korea may knowingly trust the false hope that the countries it aggravates or baits into armed conflict would be concerned for the welfare and safety of their innocent citizens who may become unwilling victims of an all-out war;
Furthermore, the Federated States Micronesia urges the United States of America to refrain from making statements that simply fuel North Korea’s urge to fire upon Guam;
The Federated States of Micronesia further urges the United States of America, as an acknowledged world leader, to be steadfast in its patience and wisdom in the face of great temptations;
The Federated States of Micronesia further urges its diplomatic allies, the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation, to come to the aid of the people of the Pacific by agreeing to a solution that averts a potential nuclear war that may affect all of us;
The Federated States of Micronesia declares that if there is one innocent person in North Korea who may harbor a secret desire for peaceful resolution for the Korean Peninsula, that is many enough to warrant and justify pacification of the current volatile situation by peaceful means.

pacific islanders

By Isobel Kinsang, Shanty Asher, Maxine Suka, Jannette Roby
October 4, 2017
San Diego - As dawn broke across the bay of America's Finest City, the blowing of a conch shell could be heard in the distance as a crowd began to gather excitedly at Ski Beach in preparation of the 23rd Annual Pacific Islander Festival “Voice of the Sea.” Vendors, volunteers and staff prepped for an eventful weekend full of excitement and fun while local San Diegans and visitors began to claim their spots in front of a pre-set stage.
The Pacific Islander Festival Association’s (PIFA) annual event took place on September 23rd - 24th with hundreds of participants and spectators daily. The 2-day event promoted and showcased the traditions, cultures and customs of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. It consisted of a vast variety of entertainment (music, dances and presentations), over 120 vendors (food, specialty crafts, island gear and accessories), cultural village booths from numerous islands in the Pacific, a scholarship program and other outreach activities.

PALIKIR, POHNPEI – September 13, 2017. On Wednesday afternoon, Speaker Wesley W. Simina also welcomed to the Congress the newly accredited Ambassador of New Zealand to the Federated States of Micronesia - Ambassador Karena Lyons.
The Ambassador had earlier that morning presented her credentials to President Peter M. Christian as her country’s representative to the FSM and extended courtesy meets to the state and national leaders.
Speaker Simina welcomed Ambassador Lyons to the Congress and expressed his congratulations on her accreditation to the FSM for it is an indication of both countries hopes to “strengthen the relationship through increased engagement and cooperation at all levels.”
The Speaker and the Ambassador exchanged views on various regional issues and concluded with Speaker Simina encouraging her to visit the rest of the states when her time permits. The Ambassador is based out of Hawaii and was accompanied by Senior Policy Advisor Jake Hamstra. She is also cross-accredited to the Republic of the Marshall Islands and to the Republic of Palau
New Zealand established diplomatic relations with the FSM on June 30, 1988 and was the fifth country to do so after the FSM established independence and was recognized by the United Nations on November 3, 1986.

epa

Pohnpei, 08 September 2017
The U.S. Freely Associated States Laboratory Certification Program has re-certified the Pohnpei EPA Environmental Surveillance Laboratory to analyze drinking water under the Colilert® Method and marine and other surface water samples under the Enterolert™ Method.
Laboratory Supervisor Fermin Scaliem and Lab Analyst Quinton Lawrence were also re-certified as Laboratory Analysts for the Colilert® and Enterolert™ Methods. New analyst Brad Soram received provisional certification for the Colilert® Method, and will receive full certification after an additional 90 days of experience analyzing samples.
The certification audit was done by USEPA Certification Officer Edna Buchan. The certifications are effective until 2019.
Labs receive certification when they meet specific criteria, pass an on-site evaluation at least every two years, and have a certified technician on staff. Technicians are certified when they successfully pass a written exam and a practical demonstration of proficiency test. Certification provides assurances that the lab produces scientifically valid and legally defensible data, and that the staff are qualified to analyze water samples for bacterial contamination.
Certificates were presented to the Pohnpei EPA Environmental Surveillance Laboratory and to individual technicians at an awards ceremony held at the Pohnpei EPA Office on Friday 08 September 2017.
During the ceremony, Ms. Buchan recognized the accomplishments of the lab in maintaining full certification for both drinking water and marine water. “Executive Director Henry Susaia and his staff are very deserving of this re-certification, and I am extremely pleased to find that Pohnpei EPA has continued to uphold the highest level of laboratory practice standards since their initial certification in 2008. The laboratory is truly an excellent facility that provides the water quality data necessary to move forward with protection of public health and sustainable economic development in Pohnpei State.”

fishing

The 10th Annual Blue Nile Fishing Derby was held on September 9, 2017. It was a beautiful, warm sunny day, which seemed to drive a lot of the fish away. A few anglers figured it out though and there were some big fish that were land ed.
We want to thank Blue Nile; Mangrove Bay; Ambros, Inc., Guam; WSTCO, ST Guam; Coral Reef Guam; Titan Imports; Go Fujita/Nihon Tekkan; Pohnpei Rain Water, and D & Q Saipan for their sponsorship and support. There would have been no tournament without them.
The tournament was a big fish tournament with lots of prizes.
The catch of the day was Ryan Hawley’s 300.1 pound marlin. It was the clear winner.
Prizes are listed below:
Biggest Fish:
First biggest fish - Ryan Hawley for his 300.1lb marlin – Round trip ticket to Guam, $200.00 cash and a 4.5 liter bottle of Chivas Regal
Second biggest fish – Emerald Eperiam for her 59.3lb yellowfin tuna - $400.00 cash, 2.0 liter bottle of Chivas Regal, and a $25.00 gift certificate for Mangrove Bay Hotel
Third biggest fish – MARY TRETNOFF for her 50.7lb yellowfin tuna - $300.00 cash, 2.0 liter bottle of Chivas Regal, $25.00 gift certificate for M angrove Bay Hotel
Fourth biggest fish – Escura Guian for his 47.6lb Giant Trevally - $200.00 cash, $25.00 gift certificate to Mangrove Bay Hotel
Species prizes:
Biggest Barracuda – Konrad Englberger - 30.4lb - $100.00 cash
Biggest Wahoo – Thomas Inatio - 20.9lb - $100.00 cash
Biggest Yellowfin – Johnny Duffy - 23.6lb - $100.00 cash
Biggest Skipjack – Nick Gilmete - 16.3lb - $100.00 cash
Lady Angler
First – Naihila Peterson - 19.4lb Wahoo - $150.00 cash, $150.00 gift certificate
Second – Naihila Peterson - 14.1lb Skip Jack - $100.00 cash, $50.00 gift certificate
Junior Angler
First – Sean Michael Sohl - 14.1lb Skip Jack - $100.00 cash, $5 0.00 gift certificate
Second - Isaiah Hawley - 13.4lb SKIP JACK - $50.00 cash, $50.00 gift certificate
All boats that registered and weighed in received a free case of Budweiser. It was a hot day so that made many anglers very happy.
There was a big crowd at the weigh in. The Fishing Club sold hot dogs and sausages to support the Pohnpei Public Library.
Many thanks to all the people who helped out, Tina Albert, Bill Pendergraft, Uta Krause, Jim Tobin, all of Kumer’s guys and everyone else. It was great to see some of our sponsors make it to the tournament.
All told it was a great day. Everyone who went out looked like they had a good time.
Without the help of our sponsors we could not have had this fabulous tournament.
Next tournament is True Value in October. See you then.

japanese

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
September 9, 2017
Pohnpei—MAI (Mutual Service Aid Guarantee Insurance Corporation) presented gift certificates for sports equipment to volleyball teams in Pohnpei after the championship Liberation Day Games at the PICS gymnasium.
Mr. Shigeo Kakinoki presented the gift certificates to the winning men’s and women’s teams on behalf of the company’s President, Mr. Yasuyuki Fujishima who could not attend this year due to other commitments. It is the second donation by the company to support Pohnpei’s sports development with equipment and gift certificates for the Pohnpei Sports Commission. This year they donated more than $6,000 to support the volleyball games.
MAI was established in the FSM on July 9, 2014. Mr. Fujishima was inaugurated as Chairman of the FSM Captive Insurance Council in September 2015, and continues to work to support the Captive Insurance seminar in Tokyo and to contribute to the development of exchange of FSM and Japan.
MAI says that their longevity in the FSM is owed to the good investment environment of the Federated States of Micronesia.
“As the Rio de Janeiro Olympics have ended, Tokyo Olympics will be held in 2020,” wrote an MAI representative. “The FSM sent there first delegation to the Sydney Olympics in 2000. MAI hopes that many delegates from FSM will be sent to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 as well. MAI also hopes that its support and sponsorship may benefit in developing great athletes in the FSM.”
The spokesperson said that MAI wants to contribute to making the Rainbownesia Project, the official promotional project for Japanese tourism that was established in 2009, even better than it is now.
“As long as MAI stays in FSM, it hopes to continue sponsoring activities of Pohnpei State for its development in sports,” the spokesperson wrote.

chinese embassy

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
September 15, 2017
Pohnpei—Ambassador LI Jie of The People’s Republic of China presented donations of brand new uniforms to the Pohnpei State and Kolonia Town Police departments this morning during a ceremony at the Governor’s conference room.
Director of the Department of Public Safety Benito Cantero said that the process of obtaining the uniforms took quite a bit more time than anyone had expected but that he was extremely grateful that all officers would now have uniforms. That had apparently not been the case before.
Ambassador Li explained that the initial idea had been to simply order three sizes, small, medium, and large but they thought better of that idea and instead sent the measurements of all of the officers in both of the police forces to the tailoring company in north China. The company made all of the uniforms based on those measurements but instead of inches, they used centimeters and the uniforms all had to be re-made and then shipped to Beijing for ultimate transportation to Pohnpei.
He said that he was pleased to be able to help the police departments because during his time in Pohnpei he and his staff had always felt safe due to the work that the officers do.
Governor Marcelo Peterson also heartily thanked Ambassador LI and the government of China.
While the Pohnpei State police uniforms are quite similar to what they have been using, the Kolonia Town officers have made a change to a much cooler color. Their previous uniforms were dark black. The new uniforms have green cargo pants and a khaki colored shirt.

fiber

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
September 20, 2017
Pohnpei—The KDDI Pacific Link which laid the fiber optic line to Yap three weeks ago and to Chuuk last week paid a port call at the Pohnpei port. Today they offered a tour of the sophisticated vessel in small guided groups.
Ambassador Ryoichi Horie and his wife Yuko were part of the first group.
The tour guide explained a map that showed thousands of fiber optic lines around the world. He said that the two largest users of that capacity are Google and Facebook companies.
He also explained some of the technical features of the massive vessel. He said that in addition to forward and reverse functions, the ship also has thrusters on each side of the vessel that allow it to maintain its position on the ocean to within one meter, left or right, forward or backward even in heavy seas. The ability is vital when laying carefully mapped out and planned runs of cable on very deep ocean floors.
He explained that the cable is not simply dropped randomly on the floor of the ocean but is carefully mapped so that it will lay out on the floor of the ocean properly. The ship uses sophisticated algorithms for its navigation during cable runs. Every motion is calculated and planned. Because of the great depth of the ocean, oftentimes the cable doesn’t hit the ocean floor until the vessel is as much as 15 kilometers away.
From the bridge the group descended to the deck of the vessel where the tour guide showed us the deep wells where the cable is stored and staged for implementation. Since they had already made the runs to Chuuk and to Yap, there wasn’t much cable left in the deep wells. From the wells, the cable moves through the use of a software controlled engine that uses multiple tires to control the speed that the cable is paid out.
He showed us a robotic machine that can be dropped on to the ocean floor and that is controlled by the use of joy sticks. He said that machine wasn’t needed on this trip but is often used when they need to do work on deep cables.
He explained that the principal enemy of fiber optic cables is not nature but man. Ships sometimes illegally drop anchor and sometimes those anchors damage cable that has been laid. Busy harbors are particularly prone to that type of damage. In places like that, the ship has a sled that can be dropped into the water that digs a trench for the cable to lay in.
The cable is laid to Chuuk and to Yap. It will yet be some time before the details for service through those lines can be organized.

nepalese

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
September 10, 2017
FSM—Indra Ghimire, Hari Timsina, Khadga Bahardur Thapa, and Bishnu Tamang’s nearly three year wait is over. Several weeks ago the government of Sweden agreed to allow the refugees to settle in their country. Accompanied by Assistant Attorney General Craig Reffner as far as Guam, the men left the FSM for Sweden from Pohnpei International Airport this evening.
“IOM has helped coordinate the travel and resettlement of the four and wishes them the best of luck in their new home,” an International Organization for Migration Facebook posting said on the following day.
The four men and 13 other Nepalese citizens arrived in the FSM on ramshackle boats with the apparent intention of seeking refugee status in October of 2014. The UNHCR evaluated the individual cases and found that the four men were indeed, genuine refugees.
After lengthy negotiations with the Nepalese government, 13 of the Nepalese citizens were repatriated to Nepal over a year ago with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration. The four who were identified as bona fide refugees voluntarily remained in the FSM.
They were under tight supervision while in the FSM as the UNHCR negotiated with potential host governments to find a new home for them. Though the four were still under tight supervision, the FSM Supreme Court ruled several weeks ago that the men should be allowed to freely move about in Pohnpei during the day light hours.
The UNHCR deals with hundreds of thousands of refugees each year but there are only a few nations in the world who have established quotas for accepting refugees. The United States has traditionally led the world in accepting refugees but under the new administration that number is decreasing, leaving even fewer spots for possible refugee resettlement.
The FSM Department of Justice has previously said that it does not have any mechanisms in place to deal with potential refugees. After having dealt with the complexities of the resettlement of the Nepalese refugees, it is unclear whether in the future they will agree to host identified refugees pending resettlement should more arrive. A previous Assistant Attorney General said that the FSM definitely should not be considered as a destination for potential refugees.

kolonia

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
September 20, 2017
Kolonia, Pohnpei— Kolonia Town celebrated the 33rd anniversary of its constitution this morning at the Town Hall. The celebration began with a march from the Pohnpei State government building to the Town Hall.
The Town leaders and citizens shared the celebration with its new Chief Justice, former Pohnpei State Police Chief Kerley Araceley. Acting Chief Justice of the Pohnpei Supreme Court, Nelson Joseph administered the oath of office to the new Chief Justice of Kolonia Town. Associate Justice Gustin Harris conferred the Chief Justices robe after which, Chief Justice Araceley gave special remarks.
Nixon Aldan served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. Deacon Berley Araceley gave the opening prayer followed by the raising of the colors by the Kolonia Town Police department in their smart new uniforms.
Speaker Jack Harris gave the opening remarks.
Mayor Jose San Nicolas gave the key note address followed by the laying of wreaths for those of Kolonia’s constitutional framers who have passed on since that day 33 years ago. The honorable Bethwel Henry, one of the founding fathers of Kolonia was present at the celebration.
The celebration ceremony ended with a recognition of Kolonia’s athletes who participated in the Liberation Day Games, followed by the closing prayer delivered by Reverend Billimon Henry.
The program listed special thanks for generous donations from 7 Stars Store, Black Sand Store, Senator Marvin Y. Yamaguchi, and Elizabeth Lowe.

theaterFour volunteers have begun a theater group in Pohnpei—The Pohnpei Players. They will be holding their first open casting call at Pohnpei Catholic School beginning on Friday, September 29.
Wayne and Kristi Parker, along with their children (ages 15, 14, 12, and 10) moved to the island in February to work as full-time missionaries with the Kolonia and Mesisou Churches of Christ, but their vision of work on the island didn’t end with their church work; they had a desire to share their extensive education and experiences with performing arts and performance management with the community in Kolonia. Wayne and Kristi each have over 30 years of performance experience through acting, singing, and choreography and have performed with many choral and theater groups all over the world. They both have experience with directing, teaching, managing and working in all aspects of performances, both on and off-stage. Their children also began performing at very young ages, and theater has become a hobby bringing together their whole family.
Community theater unites communities through laughter, excitement, and awe for both the performers and audiences. A local theater company not only gives the town entertainment and something to do, but the patrons (audience) and participants are able to gain new life experiences without leaving their own town, grow to be more accepting and understanding of other cultures, learn empathy and compassion, and become more self-aware. The people who become a part of a production, both on and behind the stage, gain and grow self-confidence and friendships as well as learn discipline, conflict resolution, responsibility, how to be a team player, the importance of helping the community, and much more, and little can beat the excitement and satisfaction of being a part of the hard work and completion of a successful production.

rotary

Rotary Club of Pohnpei
A lot of hard work and community effort has been put into the upgrade of the Ipwitek Community Center which is now in the finishing stages of renovation. The upgrade of the Center, which consists of a Nahs, guest house, restroom and the St. Augustine Church Building, has been made possible through donations, fundraising and dedicated community labour and input. Pohnpei Rotary awarded $2000 to the Center to purchase materials needed for completion of the disabled concrete access ramp, a wall and safety railing. The ramp, completed by community labour, ensures access for all to worship and enjoy future events like school graduations and meetings, as well as temporary shelter during emergency declared situations.

Congress Information Services
September 14, 2017
PALIKIR, POHNPEI – On Thursday morning September 14, 2017, the 20th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia convened in Palikir for its Second Regular Session also known as the national budget session to pass the national government’s budget operations for the upcoming fiscal year – FY 2018.
Witnesses to the morning’s opening session were the President Peter M. Christian and Vice President Yosiwo P. George along with members of the Cabinet along with the heads of the various offices and agencies of the FSM national government. Also present for the morning’s opening was the Governor of the State of Chuuk, Johnson Elimo, the Dean and Members of the Resident Diplomatic Corp and two newly accredited non-resident ambassadors: Ambassador Leon Malazogu of the Republic of Kosovo and Ambassador Karena Lyons of New Zealand.
Also in the gallery Thursday morning was a special delegation of students and staff from the private Jesuit research university in Japan, Sophia University. The former Ambassador to the FSM, Shoji Sato, was dual hatted as a professor of Sophia University and also the Executive Director of Japan’s Association for the Promotion of International Cooperation led the delegation. The Office of the Speaker hosted a few local delicacies, fruits and coconut drinks outside of the chamber for the visiting delegation.
Following the introductions and recognition of witnesses in the gallery, Speaker Simina appointed the Committee to Wait on the President to be chaired by Senator Alik L. Alik with Senator Esmond B. Moses, Senator Robson U. Romolow and Senator Joseph J. Urusemal as members. A time was set up for the Committee to meet with the Executive leadership and inform the President that Congress is in session and inquire as to the executive’s agenda for Congress attention, if any.
After the dispensing with the day’s agenda, the Congress adjourned its ceremonial opening of the second regular session for the Body to get down to its work. Chairman Alik and the committee met with Vice President Yosiwo P. George and brought up five areas that Congress have agreed to focus on for its Second Regular Session: (1) FY-2018 Budget; (2) Assistance to foreign States for natural disaster relief; (3) Issues surrounding FSMTC; (4) pending nominations and grants; and (5) the possibility of establishing a consulate office on the U.S. West Coast.
The Vice President shared an Executive Branch priority list similar to the Congress with the following exception that he request Congress to consider: (1) Foreign Investment Policy Work; (2) World Bank Fiber Optic Cable project; and (3) MiCare.
The Second Regular Session of the 20th Congress is for 20 days and will adjourn on Tuesday October 3, 2017 unless shortened or extended by resolution. As usual, the Congress sessions are open to interested members of the general public.

arctic 02 

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
September 22, 2017
Micronesia—Three students from the Micronesia region recently returned from the arctic where they participated in an innovative program known as the Coral and Ice Exchange.
Chloe Arnold of Chuuk, Karen Ehmes of Pohnpei, and Dylan Tellei of Palau applied for the program and were selected to attend after the application and interviews.
The program was envisioned and developed by the Canadian organization, the “Students on Ice Foundation” and the Micronesian organization, Island Research and Education Initiative (iREi).
iREi Founder and Director Danko Taborosi said that one of the outcomes from the visit that perhaps surprised the students the most was the remarkable similarities between the cultures of the north and their own cultures despite the dramatically different climate. Each of the students wrote a summary of their experiences that we will publish in this issue. He said that Mr. Martin Carl, the principal of Xavier High School was extremely supportive in the student selection process and helping to prepare them for the visit.
Taborosi said that the plan is now to bring three Inuit students from Canada and Greenland to visit the Micronesia region sometime next year. This was the first Coral and Ice Exchange but the hope is to make it an ongoing, annual event.
iREi paid for the participation of Karen Ehmes. Chloe Arnold was sponsored by benefactors Tarek Sherif and Sophie Nicholson. Dylan Tellie was sponsored by Shallum and Mandy Etpison.

liberation day 01 

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
September 11, 2017
Pohnpei—September 11 marked the 38th celebration of Pohnpei’s liberation from Japan. It was on September 11, 1945 that U.S. Naval forces accepted the surrender of Japanese forces in Pohnpei and raised the American flag, ending the Japanese occupation. Though it has been 72 years since the date of its actual liberation, this year’s celebration was only the 38th.
Today, the FSM and the government of Japan have had friendly diplomatic relations for 29 years. Japan’s Ambassador Ryoichi Horie and his wife Yuko were at the PICS track for the formal commemoration ceremony of Pohnpei’s liberation.
As the ceremony began, Miss Liberation Day Queen Chasity Salvador of Kitti and Princesses Zelain Perman, Frieda Abraham and Yasmine Ehpel took their seats on the dais. Afterward, athletes from each of the nine municipalities who participated in the games marched onto the track.
Youth for Change singers delivered a stirringly slow rendition of the Pohnpei State Anthem.