MG 9568

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 19, 2018

Iwaki, Fukushima—Presidents and Prime Ministers of Pacific Island Countries (PICs) gathered in Iwaki, Fukushima, Japan for the 8th triannual Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM 8).  As new full members of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), this was the first time for leaders from French Polynesia and New Caledonia to participate in the PALM.  The other countries are Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Fiji, Republic of Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Republic of Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, who served as the co-chair for the meetings held a press conference following the acceptance of the Leaders’ Declaration.  They said that the nations had been able to reach a point where they could send out a unified message on a number of topics of mutual interest and cooperation. MG 9528 Edit

The Prime Ministers did not mention that the process of pounding out a unified Leaders’ Declaration was not necessarily an easy one.  Draft copies of a proposed Declaration had been circulating among the PALM leaders for several months for each to comment on and propose revisions.  As the meetings neared, there were still some sticking points regarding the wording in the statement in regards to support for the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”, and strong wording that Japan wanted included in the statement regarding North Korean tensions.  Whole sentences were struck from the last draft before all members would vote affirmatively on the statement.

According to FSM leadership, in the end the Declaration was a compromise for all countries involved but it was a declaration that could all stand behind.

The full text of the PALM 8 Leader’s Declaration, which finished at 52 paragraphs, can be found at http://www.mofa.go.jp/a_o/ocn/page4e_000825.html.

May 21, 2018

Pohnpei—PUC has announced that due to warranty repairs on two of their generators they will be forced to shed power load beginning on May 29 and continuing until June 29.  Depending on where customers are located they can expect power to be off for four hours in the morning, four hours in the afternoon, or four hours in the evening for all of next month.

The following are times and areas that will be affected by the repairs on the two generators:

From 8:00 AM to 12:00 noon:

Pohnumpwompw, all of Ace Commercial areas, Daini to Public Market, Dausoklele to Pohnlangas, Madolenihmw, Kahmar, Meitik and Eirike areas, Nantehlik Restaurant and Apartments, Kangaroo Court and Lewi to Nanpil, Nett.

From 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm:

From Spanis Wall to Kepinle, Komwonlaid, Yakipa, Ninseitamw, Pohnrakied, Mapwsi and Likinkel areas, Joy Hotel to Ohmine.  From Paies to all of Kitti areas and up to Pohnlangas, Madolenihmw.  From Sekere Mormon Church to Pahnasang, all of Sokehs Island, Rusty Anchor to Best Buy Store, all of Nanpatapat Nanpohnmal, Nett and Sokehs, from Pwunso to Nanpeper areas, and from Social Security Office to Kolonia Elementary School

From 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM:

All of Dekehtik Island, Government facilities at Peilapalap, FSM Capitol Complex, WCPFC Complex and all businesses with standby generators.

As a precautionary measure, PUC also advises all of its valued customers to use power surge protectors for appliance to protect against unexpected surges during outages.

If you have any questions regarding the announcement, do not hesitate to contac the PUC Customer Service Office at 320-2374.

The College of Micronesia FSM

grad2 2018Palikir, Pohnpei (May 18, 2018) – The College celebrated its 67th Commencement Exercises on Friday May 18, 2018, at the Main Gym of the FSM-China Friendship Sports Center.

Guest speaker at this year's commencement exercises was an Alumna of the classes of 2011 and 2012, Sylvia Elias, who is the Student Activity Coordinator for Upward Bound-Pohnpei.

College President Joseph M. Daisy Ed.D. provided the welcoming remarks at the ceremony, and Ms. Reileen B. Joel delivered the Valedictory Address. Conferring degrees to graduates was Board of Regents Chairman, Dr. Tuslensru Waguk, and accepting the graduates was the Secretary of the FSM Department of Education, the Honorable Kalwin Kephas.grad 2018

In attendance were the college’s Board of Regents, members of the diplomatic corps, leaders from both the local and national governments, and members of the college community at large.

A total of 113 graduates from the National Campus, 46 from the Career & Technical Education Center (CTEC) formerly Pohnpei Campus, 19 from Chuuk Campus, and 9 from Kosrae Campus. The Yap and FSM Maritime Fisheries Institute (FMI) Campus will hold their commencements later this month.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 19, 2018

33149380 1727053310721327 4473572286938480640 nIwaki, Fukushima—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pulled no punches during his opening speech at the PALM 8 (Pacific Island Leaders Meeting) in Iwaki, Fukushima, Japan.  He referenced the new concept of the “Blue Continent” established by members of the Pacific Islands Forum during the meeting in Samoa.

“It means the ‘Pacific Ocean’.  It is an expression, isn’t it, brimming with great respect for the vast blue ocean.  Let us all champion ‘saving the blue’ more, embracing the same passion by which we urge people to ‘save the green’.  That is because the ocean is crying out in despair,” he said.

He went on to describe some of the travesties that are currently occurring in the Pacific Ocean.

“PCBs are being detected in high concentrations in creatures dwelling at a depth of 10,000 meters below the ocean surface.  The medium for this? Some say that’s microplastics.

“Plankton and shellfish have decreased in number, because seawater has gotten less alkaline, and that’s because humankind has had the oceans absorb an inordinate amount of carbon dioxide.

“And, in a mere 40 years, marine resources subjected to illegal and reckless overfishing have also increased to three times the previous level.  This is taking place not only in the high seas but also with your own EEZs, with lawless foreign fishing vessels continuing their indiscriminate activities.

“Then there is the issue of deep sea bed resources.  Even though the development of such resources might well damage marine ecosystems in an irreversible way, we have yet to have a governance system that needs to be put in place.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 23, 2018

 MG 8537 EditPohnpei—Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) invited eight Pacific Islands Journalists at Japanese government expense to cover the recently concluded PALM 8 in Iwaki, Fukushima.  The journalists were free to report on the events without censorship.

The journalists came from the FSM, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, and the Marshall Islands. As journalists the participants had widely varying levels of experiences with some veterans and others who were just beginning their journalistic careers. Their ages ranged from 20 to 55.  They were Polynesian, Melanesian, Micronesian and even one long-time resident American but they had in common a love for the Pacific region and the issues that affect their everyday lives in their home countries and a desire to better understand the relationships and the complicated processes of negotiations between their small island countries and with Japan.

MOFA, through its contractors and employees ensured that journalists’ needs were covered from the basics all the way up to helping to organize interviews with government officials or arranging side visits when that was possible. Because of flight schedules, some journalists arrived earlier than others. Others departed later but most journalists were left with at least some free time either before or after the PALM.  Some journalists like me chose to spend some of that free time on their own.  I chose to visit cultural sites with my cameras, negotiating the Tokyo train system for the first time unaccompanied.  The Tongan journalist chose to spend his advance free time interviewing a Tongan rugby player now playing in Japan.  Others stayed with the group.  MOFA was accommodating to most wishes and organized tours including a tour and information on the towering Tokyo Sky Tree.

Though I arrived on Sunday evening, May 13, the program didn’t begin in earnest until the morning of May 15.  It began with a program orientation briefing in an MOFA conference room, followed by a briefing on Japan’s Initiative on Climate Change.  Even lunch had a purpose.  We were taken to a restaurant run by Kinki University where all of the fish we were served was harvested from fish farms in innovative ways.

After lunch there was a briefing by Country Assistance Planning Division of the International Cooperation Bureau and JICA on Japan’s official development assistance to the Pacific Island Countries, assistance policies, outcomes and future perspectives.  The day ended with a briefing on the objectives and motivations for the PALM 8 from the perspective of Japan.

The next day began with a briefing at the Reconstruction Agency on reconstruction efforts, seven years after the devastating earthquakes and tsunami that killed over 19,000 people. Over 6,000 people were injured and over nearly 2600 were missing.  Over a million buildings were damaged; over 10,000 that were completely collapsed, 280,000 that were partially collapsed and nearly 750,000 that were partially damaged.  Many people have yet to return to their homes even these seven years later, and 2.7% of Japan’s third largest prefecture cannot due to the melt down at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power station.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 17, 2018

Pohnpei—On May 14, Governor Marcelo Peterson signed an executive order establishing the Pohnpei Domestic Violence Act Task Force.

The Pohnpei Domestic Violence Act said that provisions regarding protection acts would not take effect until a task force has reviewed and studied the provisions and made recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature no later than six months after the provision became effective.

The Executive Order says that the primary duty of the Task Force is to review and study the utilization of protection orders in section 1-109 to 1-117 of the Pohnpei Domestic Violence Act and submit recommendations to the Governor no later than six months after the Act became effective.  It gives the Task Force very little time since the Act became effective after the Governor signed it into law in December of last year.

The Task Force will be responsible for providing advice and to make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature, either on its own initiative or by request from the Governor on matters relating to the implementation of the Act.  It will also be required to facilitate an annual review of implementation of the Act in the form of a report to Legislature on the achievements and challenges with implementation of the Act.

The Executive Order did not name specific people to be assigned to the Task Force.  It said instead that it would consist of representatives from the Department of Health Services which will chair the Task Force.  Other members would be representatives of the Department of Public Safety, the Attorney General’s Office, Micronesian Legal Services, and the Pohnpei Women’s Council.

The Task Force held its first meeting on May 17.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 8, 2018

Weno, Chuuk—On May 8, Associate Justice Larry Wentworth amended his October 27, 2017 written Judgment of Conviction against Cortez Benedicto to correspond with the oral sentence Wentworth issued.

Benedicto and Rieta Eram were the first people to have been successfully convicted of the crime of human trafficking involving the abuse of a girl who was at the time of the crimes only 14 years old.  The crimes could have landed the defendants in jail for up to 45 years with the possibility of $75,000 in fines.  But the written sentence that Wentworth handed down required Benedicto to pay a $5000 fine, to spend his weekends in jail, and to be confined at the GPPC Construction camp when he was not working for a period a total of 15 months.  Eram was sentenced to only 15 months of probation for knowingly providing a minor in her custody for the purposes of sexual exploitation in exchange for cash and other material benefits.

Justices are not required to define reasons for their sentences and no reason was given for the light sentences at that time.  And now, at least in the case of Benedicto, the already light sentence is even lighter. During sentencing, Wentworth said that if Benedicto had abided by all of the conditions of his sentence, including the payment of the $5,000 fine, and if his employment ends in April 2018, he would be permitted to leave the FSM at that time.

The May 8 Order Conforming Sentence said that since Benedicto had complied with all of the terms of his sentence, once his travel arrangements were made the court would return his passport the day before his flight. Until then, Benedicto was subject to the sentence imposed on him including weekends in jail.

He gets to go home to the Philippines after paying a fine and serving a light sentence for six months.

FSM’s Human Trafficking law was designed to serve as a significant deterrent to the crime for those people who might consider violating the human rights of others.  However, the law does not prescribe a minimum sentence.

“We have to respect the Court’s decision because that is how the criminal justice system works. We will work within the law and keep on enforcing it. If we need the law to be amended for more strict minimum punishments we can ask Congress to consider that possibility as an amendment,” said Joses Gallen, FSM’s Secretary for the Department of Justice after the initial sentence was handed down in October of last year.

Meanwhile, Eram still will continue to serve her light sentence of 15 months of probation.

The victim’s sentence is not court appointed.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 22, 2018

 MG 7714U, Pohnpei—As the torrential rains that caused flooding and multiple landslides continued to fall on Pohnpei in March, Susan and Rickson Kihleng and their five children decided it would be safest to evacuate their home.  On March 17, neighbors gave them the news that the large mango tree behind their house had uprooted and brought the entire hillside crashing into the back of their home.

The landslide blew out the double French doors before burying their kitchen and living room in deep mud. It broke windows and finally settled against the house to a depth of approximately six feet.  When the rains subsided, they had a massive mess to clean up and a home that they weren’t sure was safe to occupy.  Since then, they have been cooking and washing dishes on their front porch and living in combined sleeping quarters.  Every time it rains, the water comes straight down the hillside and into their home.

While the Kihlengs, who are pastors at Ambassador Church in U that they planted 15 years ago, have lost many of their possessions, they have their lives, they have each other, and they have their faith. As of today, they have some good news as well.  MG 7701

Several contractors have looked at the work that needs to be done at their home.  One contractor gave a quick quote that was in the low six figures.  Some have said that their home was a total loss.  Others said that their earth moving equipment was too big to access the hillside.  Others never showed.  But yesterday one person said that they he has access to smaller sized equipment and can do the job.  He is set to begin doing it as early as today.

It’s a ray of hope the Kihlengs haven’t had for a long while.

The Kihlengs have received a lot of help from their friends, neighbors, and church members who have helped them to dig out as much as it is possible to do by hand.  As of last weekend, community volunteers were able to dig down to the level of the water pipes that had broken during the land slide.  The Kihlengs now have running water after weeks without.  Volunteers also dug a temporary drainage ditch that will at least partially alleviate the problem of the house flooding every time it rains.

IMG 7713They’ve also had a bit of help from outside the FSM.  A contractor who once employed Rickson in the United States came to Pohnpei to evaluate and help the Kihlengs understand exactly what would be needed.  Susan said that he will be leaving a detailed plan of everything that will need to be done.  He coordinated the volunteers who dug out and repaired the Kihleng’s broken water pipe and dug the temporary drainage ditch.

Susan said that they have at least enough money to get started and will go from there.  She said that the Kihleng family is grateful that the Pohnpei State government has begun the process for possible disaster assistance based on the State and National disaster declarations.  That paperwork has been filed but at press time, they hadn’t yet heard anything.

By Giff Johnson

Marshall Islands Journal

22 May, 2018

Majuro—The US Defense Department is reviewing the strategic importance of the Compacts of Free Association for the United States as part of a major study of security issues related to the freely associated states (FAS). The study is also evaluating the implications for American defense and foreign policy interests of the People’s Republic of China economic aid in the Freely Associated States.

The study was mandated by the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act passed late last year by the US Congress.

It is to be submitted to defense committees of the House and Senate no later than December 1 this year. The report is to be issued in unclassified form but may include classified attachments.

What is significant is that this is the first study of its kind during the Compact Two period by the Defense Department at the direction of the US Congress.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has conducted several evaluations of US aid and other issues related to the Compacts of Free Association since the start of the second Compact funding period in 2004. It is currently wrapping up a study on use of US funding by the RMI and FSM, and transition issues for the governments as they gear for use of trust fund money when US grants end in 2023.

The Congress directed Defense to address security, defense and foreign policy issues related to the Micronesia area. Concern over the impact of China in Micronesia is an underlying issue of the study. China maintains diplomatic ties with the Federated States of Micronesia.

The terms of the study include:

• The role of the Compacts of Free Association in promoting United States defense and foreign policy interests, including the United States defense posture and plans.

• The status of the obligations of the United States and the Freely Associated States under the Compacts of Free Association.

• The economic assistance practices of the People’s Republic of China in the Freely Associated States, and the implications of such practices for United States defense and foreign policy interests in the Freely Associated States and the Pacific region.

• The economic assistance practices of other countries in the Freely Associated States, as determined by the Comptroller General, and the implications of such practices for United States defense and foreign policy interests in the Freely Associated States and the Pacific region.

 MG 5964

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 18, 2018

 MG 5547Iwaki, Fukushima, Japan—At 11:00 in the morning, on May 18, stern faced and serious “Hula Girls” at the Spa Resort Hawaiian worked on their blocking for a special “one off” performance for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Pacific Island nations in their dance studio at Spa Resort Hawaiian in Iwaki, Fukushima.

Though many were already wearing makeup and false eyelashes for the 1:30 PM show and the later one at 7:30 PM they were not in costume.  They were in dance rehearsal clothes.  They were very serious about what they were doing. Smiles were subsequently rare.  Each dancer was concentrating on knowing their spots and giving the best performance they could for the visiting dignitaries including their own Prime Minister

But when their regular daily show at the world famous Spa Resort Hawaiian began at 1:30 in the afternoon, their faces lit up with huge smiles as they performed dances from several Pacific Island nations.  It’s was the same at the regular 7:30 pm show.  They’ve done those shows many times but the special show for the leaders was a one-time event.  Costumers created stylized outfits for them to represent each of the 19 Pacific Island countries that were present at the show at the 8:45 pm show.  On the stage, each country’s flag was represented.stern faced

The dancers lined the stage at the beginning of the special show and waited.  A voice from the stage announced to the large gathered crowd that Prime Minister Abe and the leaders of the Pacific Islands whose indigenous dances have been portrayed on that very stage are in the balcony.  Hotel guests, dressed in the “uniforms” left in the rooms of each guest appeared to be shocked and amazed at the presence of the leaders and rushed forward to the stage to turn and look up to balcony to wave and take photos of their leader and his colleagues from the Pacific Islands nations.

The standing ovation went on for nearly 10 minutes before the show started with a special added performance by the visiting under 18 Samoa Rugby team who were in Japan to play a friendly match with a similarly aged team in Japan.

 MG 9056When the show was over, the Pacific Island leaders took to the stage to take a bow and to greet the dancers representing their countries.

Many people are not aware that, though hula dancing certainly did not originate in Japan there are far more hula dancers there than there are in Hawaii.  Estimates on the number of people in Japan who take part in hula classes or are members of a halau range anywhere from 500,000 to 2 million people, while in Hawaii there are approximately 50,000 practitioners.

In Hawaii, many hula instructors and musicians have found it difficult to make a living.  Many of them make several trips to Japan each year where their talents are monetarily appreciated. MG 5709

Japan’s love affair with Hawaii is not a new thing having its roots when the first Japanese settlers began to arrive over 100 years ago.  King Kamehameha welcomed eight nearly starving Japanese sailors whose ship was found drifting in 1806.  A visit to Japan by the king of Hawaii to meet with Emperor Meiji Mutsuhito in 1881 further solidified the relationship between Japan and Hawaii.

In 1966, the first Hawaiian themed resort in Japan opened in Iwaki, Fukushima with center pieces of hot springs and hula dancers.  It was first called the Joban Hawaiian Center but changed its name to Spa Resort Hawaiian in 1990.  By 1971, the resort was averaging over one and a half million visitors per year and that number was maintained through 2004.  In 2005, a movie about the founding of the resort brought in another surge of visitors.

Iwaki was once a coal mining town but when demand for coal decreased in favor of oil, the economy was in danger.   The town leaders founded the resort as a way to rescue Iwaki’s economy.

 MG 9406The resort was damaged in an aftershock of the earthquakes of 2011 and was forced to close.  While the resort was closed, the world famous hula dancers toured Japan performing at earthquake refugee shelters and other venues.  The resort re-opened in 2012 but fear of radiation from the damaged Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant kept tourists away.  The effects of the fears on Iwaki’s reputation as a tourist destination were even more difficult than the closing of the mines in 1966.  Fukushima is still working on that problem.

But in the last few years, tourists have begun to return in large numbers, partially due to the promotion and good will of Japan’s famous hula girls.  In two shows each day, the dancers perform not just hula but dances from New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, and of course, Hawaii.

Photos by Bill Jaynes

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 18, 2018

Pohnpei—The mission of the PMK (Pohnpei Menin Katengensed) Fish Market is a noble one.  The non-profit market hopes to protect Pohnpei’s fishery from unsustainable fishing practices while simultaneously providing fishers with the best prices for their sustainably caught fish.

 MG 7968The market is beautiful and clean.  Surfaces gleam and all of the caught fish are cold and inviting.  Fresh fish on ice are only display for one day before they are filleted and vacuum packed.  PMK Market buys fish only from its members, each of whom pay annual dues of $10 and commit to fishing only by sustainable methods.  The market does not buy night caught fish nor does it buy net caught fish.  It buys only fish caught by line and adheres strictly to the law in terms of size limits and seasonable bans on spawning fish.

It provides training for member fishers on sustainable catch methods and on proper fish handling techniques both in terms of cold storage and in terms of safe release methods for fish that are caught under size.  It does not buy crabs that have eggs and never buys crabs that are undersized.  All fish are thoroughly inspected before purchase.

The market does not buy Skipjack tuna but only because the meat does not do well when vacuum packed.

The Menin Katengensed is also offering free training to local fishers for catch-and-release of undersized fish, safe handling and sanitation for fishers and market owners, and catching and on-board handling and processing of sashimi-grade tuna. Member fishers will also be receiving discount ice, engine oil, and the use of long-storage coolers to ensure fish are kept onboard at safe temperature and to reduce overhead costs. MG 7965

Francisco T. Sohl, the manager of PMK Fish Market and the Secretary for the Menin Katengensed Fisher and Market-Owner Association, said that though the PMK association currently has five members in each of the municipalities, some fishers have chosen not to participate due to PMK’s ban on night time fishing.  Still he says they hope to attract 10 more fishers from each municipality.  He thinks that may happen when fishers realize that PMK Market pays on average 33 percent more for fish than do most local markets. He invites all fishermen to join for the benefit of Pohnpei coastal fishery and for their own livelihoods.

Sohl said that it is not the goal of the non-profit market with outside funders to drive other local operated markets out of business.  He said that the market has three main goals.  It hopes to serve as a model for other markets to emulate in terms of safe fish storage and sales and sustainable fish purchasing.  It hopes also to provide a living wage for fishers and to minimize over fishing.

Unfortunately, the method used in February to roll out the message of the new fish market did make it seem that the new market was the only safe place for customers to buy fish in Pohnpei.  An email message was sent out on a Google group whose membership consists mainly of expats announcing the new market.  On the following day a message was sent out on the same group announcing the results of testing that showed the presence of harmful bacteria such as e. Coli in a small survey of fish from each of five fish markets.

“I guess all I can say is that the timing of the article release was unintentional and the timing probably hurt the new MK market opening as much as anyone else,” wrote Dr. Kevin Rhodes who conducted the study and released the emails.  Rhodes is an adviser to PMK, who for twenty years has conducted research on coastal fisheries in Pohnpei and released several beneficial studies with the goal of improving the lives and livelihoods of the people of Pohnpei.  He says that is still the goal.

Sohl says that PMK has a meeting in the middle of each month and encourages local market owners to come to one of them and talk about how they can work together to improve market safety of seafood sold in Pohnpei and to discourage overfishing.  He said that he encourages any community member with questions to attend one of the meetings.  The next meeting will be on June 15.

Contact PMK Fish Market at 320-3697 for time and venue for the meeting.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 16, 2018

 MG 8414 EditTokyo—This afternoon FSM Secretary for Foreign Affairs Lorin S. Robert met with Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono in a conference room in Tokyo in conjunction with the PALM 8 (Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting) which has been held every three years for the last 21 years.

After exchanging pleasant greetings, the media was escorted from the room while the heart of the meeting progressed.

A press release in Japanese from the Ministry of Foreign affairs said that Minister Kono asked for consideration for the stable operation of Japanese fishing vessels and also requested cooperation in the recovery of the remains of Japanese people buried in the FSM.

The Ministers also expressed their opinions on cooperation for the success of PALM 8, cooperation based on the "free and open India-Pacific strategy", regional affairs including North Korea, and cooperation in the international field in a wide number of issues.

"At the outset, I convey warm greetings from the leaders and people of the Federated States of Micronesia. I wish to join the previous speakers in expressing my appreciation to Prime Minister Abe and for the invitation, and to the leaders and people of Fukushima Prefecture and Governor Uchibori, especially Mayor Shimizu of Iwaki City for their very, very warm welcome and courtesies. I commend the organizers and all those involved in the preparations and arrangements.

"Co-Chairs, it is my pleasure to make a short comment on the assigned topic of Cooperation in the International Arena; and specifically, I would like to address the Korean peninsula issue.

"From a Pacific perspective, it is absolutely safe to say that all of us want to see peace on the Korean Peninsula, and in this region in general.  Also, we know that this Peace we wish for is not to be found in a 'one stop shop,' nor with the right of might. We know from recent events that this is simply wishful thinking. MG 9238

"For peace in the Korean Peninsula to become a reality, it must be formulated from within and be embraced by those who live there; supported by all of us first as a people for peace, and even more so as members of the United Nations. Peace for the people of the Korea’s means peace for our region.

"The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea have made that first attempt—that first important step.

"I, like many other Pacific Islands leaders, applauded this effort to bend into the wind, or reach over a burning furnace to exchange a handshake that may usher in and embrace the start of meaningful and respectful dialogue; ultimately towards a lasting calm and peace for the Korean Peninsula, and for all of us who share with them the Pacific Ocean.

"First meetings are always difficult, and can be made more difficult if there are preconditions made to be met before any sit down. Preconditions can discourage, even derail any effort to meet.

"I am often amazed at how much is the 'take away' from meetings from which no one expects satisfying results, and how surprisingly history will often record that those first meetings are pivotal.

"There are many more things that we who sit on the sidelines wish for, for all our sakes.

'First and foremost we wish that the climate and environment of the meeting be calm, and civility be its central décor. That after the noodles are done, and Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim are served their Chocolate dessert, both would realize how easier it is to speak softly across a table, rather than shout at each other their ideas of fire, fury, and total destruction across the Pacific Ocean.  This only causes fear in those whose only role is to wish for peace.

'Little as our voice may be, the leaders of North Korea and South Korea acknowledged receiving a letter from the Federated States of Micronesia congratulating and encouraging the two leaders good effort towards possible reconciliation.

"As I speak from Micronesia and for the people of Micronesia, I cannot help but remember that my government has a very special relationship with Mr. Trump’s America.  Like Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, The Federated States of Micronesia  is more than just a diplomatic ally of the United States; we have a strategic defense and security agreement with the United States of America.

"A man I know a little about advises us that with great power comes great responsibility. It was a paraphrase of Luke 12:28 that reminds us that to whom much is given, much is expected.

"The United States of America is strong. And the strong can and should afford to be humble with their strength and might.  Sitting down for a few words with Mr. Kim is more than just an “America First” show of strength. It is an exhibit of the character that America is known for.

"We continue to hope first for calmness among peoples and nations. Mostly, I long for normalization and lasting peace for the Korean Peninsula. And in my humble opinion such a wish can only be realized by two countries—The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), and the Republic of Korea (South Korea)."

Arnold ChloeCharley Paul

Association for Promotion of International Cooperation

TOKYO – Two graduating seniors from Xavier High School in the Federated States of Micronesia have been awarded the coveted APIC Scholarship that covers all expenses related to full-time degree studies at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.

Chloe Rose Ann Arnold of Chuuk State and Paul Charley, Jr. of Kosrae State, both in the Federated States of Micronesia, will begin studying for undergraduate degrees at Sophia University this fall. They will join five other undergraduate and two graduate students, all graduates of Xavier High School, who are studying at Sophia University as earlier recipients of the APIC Scholarship program.

Arnold, who was part of a group of international student researchers that studied climate change in the Arctic last year, is class valedictorian. She has been on the honor roll for every semester she’s been at Xavier High School.

Charley, Jr., has been active in school and community activities from his freshman year. He’s also played leading roles in class and student body government activities.

“We are pleased to award this year’s APIC Scholarships to Chloe Arnold and Paul Charley, Jr.. This scholarship program is one of the most successful in the Micronesia region. It recognizes the academic achievement and leadership potential of the recipients, as well as the special role Xavier High School and Sophia University play in promoting learning and educational growth in their respective countries,” said Ambassador Peter Y. Sato, president of The Association for Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC).

The full-ride scholarship is sponsored by APIC, a private foundation in Tokyo dedicated to strengthening Japan’s relations with the nations of the Pacific Islands and Caribbean. The APIC Scholarship, which is awarded to two Xavier High School graduates each year to study at Sophia University, was organized by Ambassador Peter Y. Sato and Ambassador Shoji Sato, APIC’s executive director.

Both men are retired career Japanese diplomats. Peter Sato’s last post was as Japan’s Ambassador to China. Shoji Sato served as Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 18, 2018

 MG 9304Iwaki, Fukushima—This morning the FSM’s President Christian met with Japanese Prime Minister Abe for a bilateral meeting at the Resort Spa Hawaiians in Iwaki, Fukushima, Japan.  The meeting took place as a side meeting to the PALM 8, the Pacific Island Leader’s Meeting that has been held every three years for the last 21 years.

After the country leaders conveyed their mutual greetings and expressions of support, the media was ushered from the room, a standard practice.

According to a translated press release, Prime Minister Abe noted that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Micronesia. He would like to further strengthen the relations between the two countries and that at PALM8 he would like to discuss the issues that the region is commonly faced with such as maritime security, climate change, disaster prevention and others. He said that Japan intends to ​​grant aid of 200 million yen (approximately $1.8 million USD) to Micronesia to strengthen disaster prevention and reduction capacity.

In response to this, President Christian expressed appreciation for Japan's long-standing support and stated his respect for Japan's leadership towards the success of PALM8. MG 9288

PM Abe stated that he would like to coordinate and cooperate with Micronesia under the "Free and Open India-Pacific strategy".

In response to this, President Christian expressed his intention to continue to closely cooperate with Japan.

In addition, Prime Minister Abe asked for cooperation towards the stable operation of Japanese fishing vessels, cooperation in the collection project of the remains of Japanese soldiers, and cooperation towards the early resolution of the abduction issue with North Korea.

President Christian expressed his willingness to discuss the North Korea issue with Japan.

photos by Bill Jaynes, The Kaselehlie Press

Pohnpei Fishing Club

May 12, 2018

 MG 7921Pohnpei—The 25th Annual Fishing Club Tournament was a very successful fishing tournament.  We had two great days of fishing. While the first day was hot and sultry, the second day was overcast and rainy, and brought up a few big fish.  Still the big fish of the tournament was caught on the first day by Walden Weilbacher, a 195 pound marlin.

We also want to thank our sponsors for this event.  Ambros, Inc., provided the beer, t-shirts and the grand prize a trip for two anglers to Saipan along with entry to the July Saipan fishing derby—a great prize and one that was hard fought.

We also want to thank our other sponsors, Bank of the FSM, MRAG, Ace Hardware, LP Gas, Etscheit Enterprises, Blue Nile, Pohnpei Port Authority, Panuelo Enterprises, Panuelo Gas Station, POP Fishing & Marine, Pohnpei Surf Club, Mangrove Bay, FSM Telecom, CTSI.  We had great support from our sponsors.

22 boats entered the two day tournament.  It was a very good turnout and we had lots of prizes to give away.

Below is the list of winners:

Grand prize - most points from point fish by boat over the 2days  MG 7941                                                               

2 roundtrip tickets –Happier Hooker, Walden Weilbacher, Captain - total boat point fish- 290points

 

The grand prize was awarded as a boat prize with two lucky anglers from the winning boat going to Saipan.

The winner was determined by the most weight in point fish caught on one boat over the two day tournament. Happier Hooker won with 290 points which consisted of a 195 pound marlin, Walden Weilbacher, a 48 pound YF, Walden Weilbacher, a 25.5 pound YF, Thomas Beckmann, and a 21.0 pound GT, Damian Semens. 

Congratulations to Happier Hooker.

The other prizes were for big fish.  Since the grand prize was a boat prize, these same fish could be used in the individual categories.

Volleyball

Joyce McClure

May 9, 2018

Colonia, Yap—Volleyball and beach volleyball technical training is on the calendar the week of May 6th in Yap as expert instructor Apenisa Saukuru of Fiji trains aspiring and experienced referees in how to officiate and coach teams during the lead-up to the 2018 Micro Games.  Participants who complete 25 hours of training will be awarded certification.

The FSM National Olympic Committee is the sponsor of the training thanks to an IOC Development of National Sport Structures grant of $30,000. In addition to the overall cost of bringing Saukuru to the island for nearly three months prior to the Games, the FSMNOC is also using the grant to bring volleyball coaches from Chuuk, Kosrae and Pohnpei to join the Yap volunteers as they prepare for the popular sport that will have teams from all ten delegations participating in the competition.

Saukuru is a former Pacific Games Gold and Bronze medalist and Asian Volleyball Confederation certified referee with approval by the Federation Internationale de Volleyball, the governing body of Volleyball, to be the Expert Instructor.

APIC04TOKYO (May 9, 2018) – In the years before World War II, the Micronesian islands under Japanese rule were self-supporting, a level of economic independence never reached during the U.S. colonial period after the war or since independence in the mid-1980s, noted Pacific historian Francis X. Hezel, SJ, told a packed lecture hall at Sophia University.

Speaking to an audience of more than 130 -- including Palau Ambassador Francis Matsutaro, Federated States of Micronesia Ambassador John Fritz, and Marshall Islands Ambassador Tom Kijiner – Hezel said sugar cane plantations on Saipan, Tinian and Rota brought in more than 6 million yen, more than all other regional industries combined. Tuna fishing, which dried the fish and turned it into tuna shavings or katsuobushi at factories on Chuuk, Pohnpei, Palau and Saipan, produced revenue of over 5 million yen annually, Hezel said.

“The sugar industry was bound to have an enormous impact on these islands. For instance, the Japanese and Okinawan population in the Northern Marianas exploded, from well under 2,000 in 1920 to more than 40,000 by 1937,” Hezel noted.

Hezel’s lecture was titled, “Micronesia and Japan – The Islands That The Japanese Forgot.” The Jesuit priest, who began serving in the Micronesian region in 1963, was invited to speak in Tokyo by Ambassador Peter Y. Sato, president of the Association for Promotion of International Cooperation, a private foundation that seeks to strengthen Japan’s ties with nations of Oceania and the Caribbean, and Chancellor T. Sakuma, SJ, and President Yoshiaki Terumichi of Sophia University, the historic Jesuit school. The lecture was also part of a yearlong series of events marking 30 years of diplomatic ties between the Federated States of Micronesia and Japan by the FSM Embassy in Tokyo.

In 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, Japanese naval forces steamed from island to island in the Micronesia region to oust German colonists. The Paris Peace Conference in 1919 awarded the Micronesian islands to Japan as part of the newly formed League of Nations.

Hezel said that under Japanese rule, Micronesians made gains in public education and religion. Japanese authorities established the first rudimentary public school system, and offered three years of basic education for all islanders who lived within walking distance of one of the 24 public schools built across the region.APIC06

And Hezel noted that Japan encouraged Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries to establish missions in the Japanese Mandated Islands. For instance, Admiral Shinjiro Yamamoto, who was a Catholic, appealed to the Pope for priests and brothers to be sent to Micronesia.

“Soon Spanish Jesuits were sent to open a new mission in the islands. Four pastors from the Japanese Congregational Church also arrived to begin work in Chuuk and Pohnpei. German Liebenzell missionaries were invited to resume their work and set up new stations in the west. And so non-Christian Japan brought in missionaries to assist it in its ‘civilizing’ mission,” Hezel said.

The Jesuit priest, who has written a number of histories on the Micronesian region, also spoke about the Japanese who moved to the islands to set up trading companies. The first Japanese traders arrived in 1890 in Chuuk.

“They included Koben Mori, son of a samurai, and Mogahira Shirai, who had fought in the wars of the Meiji restoration,” said Hezel. Mori is the great grandfather of Emanuel “Manny” Mori of Chuuk, who served two terms as president of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Hezel said islanders missed the Japanese era in the post-war years.

“When I first came in 1963, Micronesians expressed their fondness for food (ramen, sushi, etc) and their nostalgia for the ‘old days’ of their Japanese schooling (including the strict discipline). On my first visit to Palau, I heard popular songs with Japanese-like melodies. Japanese names seemed to be everywhere,” Hezel recalled.

He said the Japanese era achieved levels of success that were never matched by the U.S. during its post-war administration of Micronesia, or during the current independence era in the Marshall Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia, as well as the U.S. Northern Marianas Islands.

Hezel said during the Japanese period:

Islanders were introduced to modern world, just as Japan itself had been a half-century earlier during the Meiji restoration. Not just dress styles, and songs, and rise of the towns, but through an education system.

Industry rose to new heights, with diversified exports. For one short periodat least, the islands were able to pay their way in a global economy.

Island culture had been so transformed by its exposure to Japanese influence that the signs of this remain to the present.

Hezel noted that the Micronesian islands also affected a generation ofJapanese who worked in the region.

“The islands had made their mark on the Japanese and Okinawans who had lived and worked there during the 1920s and 1930s,” Hezel said. “Guntos were formed, regular meetings were held, and yearly books appeared with published accounts and photos of the old days. Pacific Island studies programs were established, and The Journal of the Pacific Society was published for years afterwards.

“Early tourism build up in the islands was Japanese, resulting from the historical and cultural ties. Saipan and Palau were the principal destinations–because they were closer to Japan, not just in geographical distance but culturally as well. The islands still bore the marks of Japanese presence,” Hezel said.

But that was then, Hezel added. He challenged the Sophia University audience asking, “What will be the next phase of the Japanese-Micronesian relationship that is now more than a century old?”

College of Micronesia FSM

1332213Twelve future physicians and dentists have graduated from the Doctors and Dentists for Tomorrow (DDFT) programme at the College of Micronesia-FSM, having received their associate’s degrees, and are now in the process of applying for medical and dental school for 2019 in Fiji and Papua New Guinea.  The twelve Micronesian students represent the first class of DDFT students.  A second class of twelve DDFT students will graduate in 2019, and it is hoped that additional classes will follow, as DDFT seeks to train the future Micronesian healthcare providers and leaders of tomorrow.

DDFT is a joint program of the College of Micronesia-FSM, the Pacific Island Health Officers’ Association (PIHOA), and the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawai`i, in concert with local partners, such as the Pohnpei State Division of Health Services.  DDFT is an intensive basic science preparatory programme for high-performing Micronesian high school graduates.  DDFT students undertake two-and-one-half years of intensive applied basic science training on the campus of the College of Micronesia-FSM, before proceeding to medical school at a regional partner schools, such as the University of Fiji, Fiji National University, or the University of Papua New Guinea.  

DDFT is unlike any other programme in the Northern Pacific.  Students are taught using problem-based learning (PBL), which is the mode of instruction at regional medical and dental schools.  Instead of lectures and memorization, students learn pathology, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, medical psychology, and medical microbiology through applied case studies.  These applied case studies are nearly identical to the ward rounds that students will participate in when they arrive in medical school, and include high-pressure critiques from clinical faculty members, which many students describe as acutely stressful, but also a great learning experience.  Through solving real-life medical problems, students learn not only the basic sciences, but also the medicine they will one day practice in Micronesia.  Students also participate in rotations at Pohnpei State Hospital, Dental Services, and Public Health, where they see the material they are learning in application on real patients.

In referring to the unique nature and difficulty of the DDFT programme, Dr Paul O. Dacanay, stated that, “This programme is hard!  As a faculty, we make it that way, because we only want the best and the brightest caring for the people of Micronesian in the future.  The fact that these students have succeeded and are now applying to medical school is a testament to their hard work and dedication.”

The twelve graduates were honoured at an awards dinner held on Thursday, 17 May 2018, where they received special awards and recognition.  Also honoured at this dinner were the family and friends who have supported the students during their time in DDFT. 

Scarlett Lebehn was honoured as the DDFT Class of 2018 Valedictorian.  She was also presented the first Dr Eliuel K. Pretrick Award for Academic Excellence in Health Careers, by Dr Gregory A. Dever on behalf of the Pacific Island Health Officers’ Association.  Dr Dever, in referring to all of the graduates, noted that, “You are the future of your country.  You are treasures that your country and the region can look to for healthcare leadership in the decades to come as you treat and inspire the people of the FSM.”

Additional academic honours awards were presented to Caroline Apaisam, who was honoured as the DDFT Class of 2018 Salutatorian; Bina Jackson, who received Upper Second-Class Honours, followed by Mira Pama, who received Lower Second-Class Honours, and finally, Joyce Panuel, who received Third-Class Honours.

Seamon Andreas, Jr., was presented the Positive Attitude award; followed by Quilan Cantero, who was honoured with the Enthusiastic Learner award; and then by Lucyle Eliou, who received the award for Excellence in Teamwork.  This was followed by Joshua Gabriel, who was honoured with the award for Meritorious Improvement; to be followed by Jamie-Ann Noket, who received the Superior Problem-Solving award; and then BeeWee Tara, who received the award for Excellence in Leadership; being followed by Treza Thoses, who received the Outstanding Improvement award. 

During the awards ceremony, Dr Brian P. Mangum, DDFT faculty member, noted, “We are intensely proud of the accomplishments of these students!  They have worked hard for the past two years.  But this is only the beginning of their journey to becoming the doctors and dentists for tomorrow.  They will now progress to medical school, where they will use the knowledge they have gained in the DDFT programme to excel in their studies, so that one day they can return and care for their own people, and thus ensure the future health and well-being of all Micronesians.”

The following day, the DDFT students officially graduated from the College of Micronesia-FSM during its regular commencement ceremonies. 

All twelve are applying for entry to both the University of Fiji and Fiji National University to begin their medical or dental studies in early 2019; and have committed themselves to returning to practice in the Federated States of Micronesian upon graduation.  “These young women and men are committed to the FSM.  They have learned about the health challenges facing the region, as well as both clinical and public health approaches to face these challenges,” stated Mr Robert W. Spegal, programme manager, “and when they return, they will face these challenges head-on as the healthcare providers and leaders of the region.”

The twelve graduates have already chosen which specialties they would like to pursue, based upon their clinical exposure, as well as research into which specialties are most need in Micronesia, including general surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry, pathology, and ophthalmology.    

Three former DDFT tutors are already in medical school in Fiji, including two who are in their second year at the University of Fiji, and wish to return to Micronesia as general surgeons, and one who is in her first year at Fiji National University, and wishes to return to practice as a cardiologist one day.

Vital FSM Petroleum Corporation

May 22, 2018

Guam pricePohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, May 18, 2018 – Vital FSM Petroleum Corporation (FSMPC) announces to its valued customers the potential of further increases in wholesale gasoline, kerosene and diesel prices in the coming weeks. This will be the third price increase into the authorized reseller channel in the past 12 months and remains consistent with movements in regional markets.
 
FSMPC CEO Mr. Jared Morris states, “As of May 18, 2018, Pohnpei motorists continue to pay $4.25 per gallon for regular, unleaded fuel. In Kosrae, pump prices are as low as $4.15 per gallon. Guam pump prices increased another twenty cents in the past week, and are up to $4.43 per gallon. In the past six months, the price has increased in Guam by $0.57 per gallon, whereas we have only seen a pass through in the FSM of around $0.40 per gallon. We will do our best to cushion this as long as we can, but if prices stay high we will have to follow Guam.” 

According to the Guam Daily Post, a factor attributed to the region’s rising costs of fuel is a decline in crude oil inventories since petroleum-exporting countries have reduced their combined output.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 18, 2018

Pohnpei—Senator Aurelio Joab said that 90 percent of the speech he gave during a meeting of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) was about his preference for development of eco-tourism in Pohnpei.  He said that only a small section of his speech discussed the Executive Branch’s intention to submit a bill to allow a resort developer to operate a casino for foreigners in Pohnpei.  It was that part of the speech that was posted to Facebook though that segment of the speech was only and introductory paragraph to a much longer speech in which Senator Joab made clear, his own preference for the development of eco-tourism.

He said that he wants to make it clear that any bill proposing to allow casino gambling in Pohnpei would come through the Standing Committee on Resources and Development that he chairs.  His mentioning the proposed bill in his speech to PATA was not an endorsement or a condemnation of the Governor’s proposed bill.  He said that it is incumbent upon his committee to perform due diligence before making any recommendations regarding any proposed bill and that was a small part of the reason for the delegation’s visit to Saipan.  He said that there are no foregone conclusions drawn before research and hearings are complete.

“For as long as I can remember, tourism has been a favorite subject of our speeches in conferences and community gatherings”, Joab said during his speech.  “Tourism has been given a prominent place in our state and national development plans and in our legislative enactments as well.  But how do all these plans, enactments and speeches translate into actual progress?  Over the past two or three decades, we have seen vast advances in tourism in Guam, Palau and especially here in the Northern Mariana Islands.  But for the eastern islands of Micronesia, true development in tourism has been disappointingly slow.

“To my colleagues in Pohnpei, I say that the time for rhetoric is over.  Now is the time for action.  From my travels throughout the region and in other parts of the world, I have observed that advances in tourism can come in many forms.  As policy makers in the legislative branch of our government, I believe we should keep an open mind with respect of all forms of tourism development, but from my perspective and for my state of Pohnpei, I am partial to the support of eco-tourism,” he told the PATA members.

“My friends, I am partial to eco-tourism because I am partial to what the environment means to us as islanders.  The sunsets that span across our lagoons and into the deep Pacific and the glittering waterfalls that tumble down from the mountain tops of our rain forests to the valleys below are not just pretty pictures ---- they are the essence of who we are.

“Each of our islands is founded in folklore similar to the legends of Pohnpei.  We each have a story to tell to the visitors to our islands.  The Pohnpei Delegation is here to share our story of how we would like to promote tourism in Micronesia and to learn from you how you have come to maximize the marvels of our islands to sustain our families, our communities and our future generations.  Thank you for letting us be a part of that process.”

Joab said that the short video clip posted on Facebook was just the first two paragraphs of a much longer speech that clearly stated his preference for the development of eco-tourism. “I trust and hope that the social media can look at these proposed development dreams in a positive way and meaningful ways, and not jump to (any) conclusions,” he wrote in an email.

Simina and Li

FSM EMBASSY, BEIJING – April 27, 2018. Speaker Wesley W. Simina was in China recently wherehe met with the newly seated leadership of China’s parliament His Excellency Li Zhanshu,Chairman of the National People’s Congress and His Excellency Wang Yang, Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

At the invitation of His Excellency Chairman Wang of the (CPPCC), Speaker Simina of the 20th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia paid an official visit to Beijing and Qingdao in China from April 23 to 27, 2018. The official visit to China has further reinforced the consensus reached between President Peter M. Christian and President Xi Jinping during their meeting in Beijing in March 2017. The Parliamentary Diplomacy from this official visit has reinforced the strong bilateral relationship that exists between the Federated States of Micronesia and the People’s Republic of China.

Speaker Simina sits down with Chairman Li of the NPC

On April 23, 2018, Speaker Simina and his delegation were received at the Great Hall of the People by the newly elected Chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC), His Excellency Li Zhanshu. During their meeting, consensus between the two legislative leaders was reached to further foster and promote mutual trust between the two sides. Programs such as legislative exchanges will continue, and both sides have agreed to expand cooperation in a broad range of areas to support mutual economic development such as in science and technology, health and education, and tourism, to name a few.

The Chairman noted the economic development constraints faced by the FSM and stated that China will support the FSM to the best of its ability. Chairman Li welcomed the FSM’s interest to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, more specifically, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road program, and will give active consideration towards the FSM’s interest to be a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

CODEL meets with FSM students

Simina deleg studIn the evening at the Westin Hotel, Speaker Simina and his delegation were hosted to a dinner reception arranged by the FSM Embassy. The dinner reception allowed Speaker Simina and members of his delegation to meet with FSM citizens, most of whom are Chinese scholarship students studying in Beijing.

Speaker Simina and members of his delegation took turns in providing advice and encouragement to the FSM students studying in China. Speaker Simina and his colleagues, who are all members of the Congress Standing Committee on Education, noted the important role that the students play in the overall bilateral relationship between FSM and China and expressed their support towards all the 70 FSM students studying throughout China. The delegation encouraged students to do their best and return home after completion of their studies to contribute positively and meaningfully to development in the FSM.

Pacific/Regional News 16 May 2018
 
KOROR (RNZ Pacific/Pacnews) — A recently completed project to eradicate rats from Palau’s Kayangel is expected to provide a boost to the atoll’s ecosystem and increase local food production. The two-month operation established 45 kilometers of trails across which bait was spread while eliminating alternative food sources for the rats.

Kayangel is one of the several hundred islands that make up the nation of Palau, but one of its only two atolls. It’s also home to a wealth of wildlife including the Micronesian scrubfowl, the Palau flying fox, and the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle.These creatures were threatened by rats which began to proliferate at an alarming rate on the atoll after being introduced following a shipwreck in the 1980s.

A major storm in 2014 exacerbated the rat threat, affecting local wildlife, crops and contaminating the local water supply. The final outcome of the rat eradication project will be confirmed in 2019.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 3, 2018

Kolonia, Pohnpei—During Saipan’s Governor Ralph Torres’ visit to Pohnpei to attend the meeting of the Pacific Islands Development Bank, he invited Kolonia Town Mayor Jose San Nicolas to go to Saipan for a visit.  The Mayor jumped at the opportunity and made the trip at his own expense just two days after the gala opening of the now heavily used China Kolonia friendship gym.

During the visit, Governor Torres asked San Nicolas how Saipan could help Kolonia Town.  San Nicolas said that he first offered help on the problem of recycling of scrap metal that has become a big problem since China banned the importation of metals.  That ban meant that the Chinese owned scrap metal yard in Nett closed down.  But Mayor San Nicolas said that Kolonia had already made arrangements with a company from Taiwan, the details of which are in their final stages.MAYORS PHOTO SAIPAN

Instead, San Nicolas asked the Governor if Saipan could potentially provide expert trainers for the Kolonia Town Police Department since Kolonia has no police academy.  The governor agreed to that and more and has organized a group of instructors that is set to arrive in Pohnpei on May 17. 

San Nicolas has written to each of the police departments in Pohnpei’s municipalities and to the State Police to invite those departments to attend the training exercises.

In addition to offering the training, which will also include paramedic training, Governor Torres also offered two used police vehicles, a used ambulance, and firearms for the police force along with the shipping costs for those items.

San Nicolas said that he notified the FSM Secretary for the Department of Justice, Joses Gallen of the handgun donation and agreed that the handguns should be shipped to the National Police for safekeeping until legal matters can be resolved.  San Nicolas said that he doesn’t think that there is currently law on the books that would allow officers of municipalities to carry firearms but that he also wasn’t certain whether the law prohibits. He is seeking clarification on that matter from AG Gallen.  Additionally, none of Kolonia’s officers are currently handgun certified, though the matter of certification will change after the professional police trainers arrive if they are allowed to train with the weapons.  That remains to be seen.

He said that CNMI has previously donated handguns to FSM states but those donations were to the states and not to municipal governments in those states.

Some have vociferously questioned the need for an armed Kolonia Police force since handguns are banned in the FSM.  In a social media conversation on the issue, Kolonia Town Council Speaker Jack Harris reminded readers that approximately two years ago a lone gunman approached the Kolonia Town hall and started firing live rounds.  Four unarmed Kolonia Town police officers had to hide until the gunman stopped to reload at which time they were able to disarm him.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

May 3, 2018

Pohnpei—Pohnpei’s Senator Aurelio Joab made a statement at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) regarding the Governor’s plans to establish a resort and casino in Pohnpei.  It was not a new idea but his presentation garnered a strong reaction on social media after a youth delegate posted a video of the speech.

The idea was first introduced by former Governor John Ehsa, albeit on a grander scale than is currently being proposed.  Current Governor Marcelo Peterson also mentioned the idea of a 200 room resort when he gave his State of the State address to the legislature.  He said that a company was interested “in establishing a 5-star or 4-star hotel operation in Pohnpei and will be adding an additional 200 rooms.”  His speech made no mention of a casino operation but Senator Joab’s presentation to PATA in Saipan did, though Joab’s speech made no mention of any particular investor.

In July of 2016, the Governor issued a call for a feasibility study for a Five Star Eco-Lodge Resort.  That call also made no mention of a casino operation.

Pohnpei’s Chief of Staff, Joseph Saimon said today that it is true that the Governor submitted a bill to Pohnpei’s Attorney General for review before submission to the legislature that if passed would allow for a casino operation in Pohnpei.  He said that the provisions of the bill would be similar to the bill that the legislature passed during Ehsa’s administration.  It would not allow for locals to gamble at the casino but would allow for visiting foreigners to do so.

“A passport would be required for gaming entrance,” he said.

Saimon said that the bill that Pohnpei Legislature passed during the Ehsa administration had a “sunset clause” that has expired.  The bill currently on the AG’s desk would also have a similar sunset clause for action.

Contrary to what Governor Peterson said during his State of the State address, Saimon said that no developer had yet been identified but if the bill passes legislative scrutiny, the State would issue a call for notices of interest. An investor would be chosen from those investors who submit notices of interest.

Saimon said that a potential site for the resort could be in Dekehtik or on a property in Madolenihmw.

He said that Pohnpei legislators spent time in Saipan investigating the operations and history of resort casinos there.

Senator Joab was in Guam at press time.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

April 25, 2018

IMG 7470Pohnpei—In this morning’s pre-dawn hours dozens of people gathered together at the Kangaroo Court, the Royal Australian Navy housing complex, to commemorate ANZAC Day.

The 25th of April, ANZAC Day, is one of Australia's and New Zealand’s most important national commemorative events marking the anniversary of the first major military action involving Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. Around the world and in every city and town in Australia and New Zealand, commemoration services are held at dawn, the time of the original landing by the ANZAC’s on the beaches of Gallipoli, Turkey in 1915. It is a day when all Australians and New Zealanders reflect on the sacrifices of so many.

Lt. Commander Lauren Milburn of the Royal Australian Navy gave the welcome and call to commemoration.  It was the Lt. Commander’s first Anzac day commemoration in Pohnpei which proceeds universally along a prescribed course no matter where it is commemorated, though the subtleties do vary.

The celebrants were asked to join in the singing of the hymn, “Abide With Me”.

Chief Petty Officer Byron Evans read the poem, “Waiting” written by poet Lee O’Neill.

Australian Embassy’s Charge’ d’Affaires Eliza Woolcock provided the official address.  Australia’s Charge d’Affaires, Eliza Woolcock spoke next. “Australians and New Zealanders had fought in battle before April 1915 but as part of another nation’s forces. We commemorate this as ANZAC Day because it is the anniversary of the first time they fought under the flags of their own countries,” she said.

“Today the first rays of sunlight on the dawn of the 25th of April 2018 in Pohnpei will soon shine for the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, who will be at other dawn services this morning around the world.

This morning Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta-Fierravanti-Wells will also be speaking at the ANZAC Day ceremony in Palau, along with Australia’s Ambassador to the FSM, Palau and Marshall Islands, HE George Fraser. The Ambassador passes on his regrets that he is not able to join us here in Pohnpei this morning…IMG 7474

“For Micronesians, today also acknowledges the loss of life and suffering here in Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Yap during World War II, along with former and current Micronesian Service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom and maintain peace in other parts of the world…

“This is a day of remembrance for the fallen, and of the returned. The words ‘we will remember them’, and ‘lest we forget’, are always part of these services…While all wars are tragedies, we must not diminish the sacrifices of those who gave everything, who put their own lives at risk to protect others from the atrocity of further war. Harry Emerson Fosdick says, ‘the tragedy of war is that it uses man's best, to do man's worst.’

“We do not glorify war, but we are grateful for the willingness of service men and women to put their lives at risk for the good of others; to work together to protect values, and people, not only of their time, but also for future generations unknown to them,” she said.

After her speech, representatives of several nations and organizations participated in the laying of wreaths at the ANZAC shrine.

Mrs. Lara Evans read the traditional “Ode of Remembrance”, which says, “They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old, ages shall not weary them nor the years condemn.  At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.”

The Last Post bugle call was sounded followed by a minute of silence in remembrance.

Reveille was sounded while flag bearers, Maisy and Amos Milburn and Emily and Jameson Evans helped their parents to raise the Australian and New Zealand flags.

The Youth 4 Change choir sang the Australian and New Zealand National Anthems.

After the solemn ceremony, a traditional, hearty “Gun Fire Breakfast” was served on the compound.

Japan officially turns over paving equipment to Pohnpei

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

April 24, 2018

 MG 7382Pohnpei—This morning the Japanese Embassy officially turned over road paving equipment to the Pohnpei Transportation Authority (PTA).

The donation of the two rollers and an asphalt finisher and their spare parts were worth approximately 41 million yen (approximately $376,000 USD).

In accepting the donation from Japan, Acting Governor Reed Oliver promised that the equipment would be maintained.  He fluidly spoke the Japanese language when he thanked Ambassador Ryoichi Horie for the donation of the people of Japan to the people of Pohnpei.

Before turning over the symbolic keys to the equipment to the Acting Governor and the Pohnpei Transportation Authority, Ambassador Horie said that he hoped that the donation would help Pohnpei to maintain its roads.  He also challenged the Pohnpei Transportation Authority to maintain the new equipment. MG 7260

Though the equipment was officially turned over today, two weeks prior to the turnover, PTA had already used the equipment to repair streets in Kolonia that had been damaged during the heavy rains that caused mudslides in Pohnpei in late March. 

Ambassador Horie witnessed some of the repairs that PTA was able to accomplish in Kolonia because of his country’s donation to Pohnpei.

Takuya Nagaoka (Executive Director, NGO Pasifika Renaissance) and

Jason Barnabas (Assistant Educator, Pohnpei State Historic Preservation Office)

CIMG0530The Pohnpei State Historic Preservation Office and NGO Pasifika Renaissance has launched a new radio program “Nahlikend En Leng” in Pohnpei from April 25th! This is the second collaborative project of the two organizations, as we began to film Pohnpeian Elders’ stories together to share videos on YouTube (https://goo.gl/gmoiEo) from last year.

This weekly program is aired on V6AH at 8 PM every day. We read aloud Pohnpeian legends, tales and historical accounts in the Pohnpeian language and broadcast Pohnpeian Elders’ stories recorded during our video documentation project. The name of the program, Nahlikend En Leng, is the honorific title of "paret" (in Pohnpeian) or brown noddy tern (Anous stolidus). The bird bears news both good and bad, such as the loss of a loved one or other important happenings.

Many older Pohnpeians have fond childhood memories of listening to stories told by elderly relatives before bed. This practice, however, has been largely lost in Pohnpei due to the spread of new media such as videos and games and the decline of the younger generation’s interest in traditional culture.

In Pohnpei, the radio (V6AH) is currently the only media covering the whole island of Pohnpei and its outer islands. This program aims to pass down important Pohnpeian stories to younger generation and to promote the importance of cultural heritage. We hope the program will spark conversations about their culture and history during family gatherings and sakau sessions.

If you are not in Pohnpei, you can listen our programs on YouTube: https://goo.gl/ykK9CZ. We would like to thank Pohnpeian Elders, the COM-FSM Library, the Department of Education and the Pohnpei Public Broadcasting Corporation (V6AH) for their assistance. If you like to contribute stories to our radio program and video documentation project, please phone us at 320-2652. Stay tuned!

FSM National Government

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President Peter M. Christian was joinedPresident Peter M. Christian was joinedby the Chuuk Governor Johnson Elimo,Pohnpei Governor Marcelo K. Petersonand Yap Lt. Governor James Yangetmai,and their respective delegations, to Saipan,Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), to attend the 23rd Micronesia Islands Forum (MIF) on April25 – 27, 2018. The MIF is composed of Chief Executives, namely: the Presidents of the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the four Governors of Chuuk State, Pohnpei State, Yap State,and Kosrae State, and the Governors of the Territory of Guam and CNMI. The Chief Executives met to reaffirm their commitments on behalf of their people and their governments to the Micronesian Region as a whole, in order to establish closer ties among themselves, continued constructive dialogue and cooperation upon issues of mutual interest, and agree upon initiatives that benefit the MIF members and the Micronesian Region.

The Summit was opened by outgoing Chairman of the 22nd MIF, Guam Governor Calvo, on the afternoon of April 25, 2018 and the chairmanship passed onto Governor Torres of CNMI, who officially called the 23rd Micronesia Islands Forum (MIF) held in Saipan, CNMI 23rd MIF Session to order and began his opening statement by welcoming his fellow Chief Executives to Saipan. He highlighted this year’s theme of “Navigating the World as One Micronesia” to promote the family spirit of the Micronesian Islands. FSM President Christian, Palau President Remengesau, RMI President Heine, Guam Governor Calvo, Chuuk Governor Elimo, Pohnpei Governor Peterson, and Yap Lt.Governor Yangetmai gave their opening remarks.

The reports and recommendations from the nine standing committees were given, along with presentations on a number of issues of interest in the region and jointly directed action in the MIF respective jurisdictions and were reflected in the 23rd MIF outcome documents. The MIF agreed on the MIF Secretariat’s deliverables, cooperation on biosecurity, interventions on climate change and telehealth/telemedicine, and promotion and support of increased transportation access. The Forum concluded with the announcing of the 24th MIF venue to be held in Chuuk, closing remarks by the eight Chief Executives, exchange of gifts, and signing of the 23rd Communiqué, Resolutions and Letters on April 27, 2018.

While in Saipan, FSM President, Chuuk and Pohnpei State Governors, and Yap Lt. Governor also met with the FSM citizens residing in Saipan and were hosted by Saipanese families and friends to a Carolinian and Chamorro gathering to celebrate the close ties between the FSM and CNMI cultures. It was announced at the FSM citizen engagement of President Christian’s intent to establish an FSM Honorary Consul in CNMI which would need to be processed through the U.S.Government. He requested the U.S.Government representatives attending the 23rd MIF for an "amicable and expeditious processing and approval, in order to provide valuable services and representation for our citizens residing in our neighboring Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands”.

In the spirit of cooperation in the area of law enforcement and combating transnational crimes, the Presidents of FSM, RMI andPalau signed an agreement establishing the Micronesian Transnational Crime Unit (MTCU), which is hosted by FSM. Members of the MTCU will work together towards operationalizing this unit and will collaborate in achieving its mandate.

Accompanying the President, State Governors and Lt. Governor to the Forum were officials and representatives from the national and state offices, national agencies and national enterprises.

By Amanda Pampuro

Pacific Island Times

  As more locals in Pohnpei rely on local markets to buy their fish, the question of food safety becomes an ever more pressing issue.

  A snapshot study sponsored by MarAlliance, a San Francisco-based organization aiming to support “positive change for threatened marine wildlife, their critical habitats and dependent human communities,” suggests that many fish being sold in open markets are sitting in dangerously warm temperatures, making them ripe places for illness-inducing pathogens like E. coli and Vibrio to grow.

  Dr. Kevin Rhodes, the fish biologist who ran the study admitted that the small sample — five fish from five markets — is not enough to condemn local fish markets,  but contended that the results highlight a need for regular testing and enforcement.

  Since it was founded in 1992, the Pohnpei Environmental Protection Agency’s mission has worked on developing protocols to test and regulate food safety at various locations including stores, restaurants, take- outs and fish markets.

  “Nobody’s been doing fish testing on the island, for at least the last 20 years to my knowledge, which is about as long as I’ve been here,” Rhodes said. “There’s obviously a lack of sanitation and health standards at the fish markets and that was part of the reason for me to do (the study).”

  Donna Scheuring, a consultant with the Pohnpei EPA, confirmed that testing market fish for bacteria and disease is not a priority, but that monthly facility testing is—unless of course [EPA personnel] are too busy. The small EPA office has three inspectors who cover all food-related businesses, including school cafeterias and prisons.

  “Inspecting fish markets, we try to do them at least once a month, but sometimes if other things happen, inspectors are called for something else, it doesn’t always happen,” Scheuring admitted. “We’re pretty familiar with the fish markets and all of the food establishments around here, so we kind of know which ones we have to keep more of an eye on and which ones we can rely on doing the right thing and not have to supervise them as much.”

  Between the sea and the sale, fish need to be kept on ice to maintain internal temperatures of 41 degrees Fahrenheit and prevent bacterial growth.

  Scheuring’s best guess is that Pohnpei has about 20 markets, and she added that enforcing regulations is difficult because, “Fishermen are all over the place. … (and) a lot of the fishermen fish at night.”

   Because many Pohnpeians work day jobs, Scheuring said most of them rely on fish from local markets. In addition to trusting the sellers not to poison their customers, Scheuring trusts the customer to know what to eat.

  “Pohnpeians are experts at looking for good fish,” Scheuring said. “It’s kind of obvious, the eyes are clear and the gills are pink and the flesh is firm, that’s just kind of a standard protocol for how you go out to the fish market to see if the fish is fresh or not, so it’s not a big deal for Pohnpeians.”

  While the National Oceanic Resource Management Authority oversees the entire FSM, each state has its own EPA with its own rules and regulations. Because it exports to Guam, Rhodes said Chuuk has one of the more rigorous protocols.

  While the market represents the end of the line, Rhodes pointed out that a number of important issues concerning the fisheries will impact the future of Pohnpei and the FSM.

  “What prompted me to do this study is … I’ve seen a lot of declines in markets,” he said. “Pohnpei State is trying to develop eco-tourism in the long term because the loss of Compact Funds in 2023, so I was hoping it would incentivize them to improve sanitation and health not only for the consumers but also for what tourists see when they come into the state.”

U.S. Department of the Interior

SAIPAN – U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech wrapped up his visit to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands where he gave remarks and met with Micronesia’s island leaders at the 23rd Micronesian Islands Forum.  Hosted this year by CNMI Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero TORRES, the annual summit brought together the governors of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands; the presidents of Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia; as well as the governors of two FSM states: Chuuk and Pohnpei, and Lt. Governor of Yap.   

“The U.S. Government and the Department of the Interior under the leadership of Secretary Zinke will continue to be bridge-building partners,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech.  “We must strengthen our relationships as we confront serious challenges together, both in the U.S. territories as well as in the freely associated states.” 

The Assistant Secretary participated in a second day of presentations at the MIF to learn more about regional issues of concern for the islands of Micronesia such as workforce development, energy, invasive species, transportation, health, telecommunications, tourism, and preserving the environment. 

Joyce McClure

Yap Visitor's Bureau

2014MicroGames Volleyball 2

Colonia, Yap. World class technical officials in volleyball and baseball will be in Yap for the 2018 Micro Games, announced Jim Tobin, secretary general of the FSM National Olympic Committee. Supported by a grant from the U.S. Olympic Committee, volleyball referee Hansen Leong and baseball referee John Thomas Flanagan, have been nominated by USA Volleyball and USA Baseball respectively to work with the Micronesian referees and umpires to improve their officiating during the Games that will take place July 15 to 27 in Yap. “We are very fortunate to have these two certified pros who have participated in world championships provide their expertise during the Games,” said Tobin. “It’s going to be a great learning opportunity for the Micronesian officials as well as the athletes." 

U.S. Coast Guard 14th District Hawaii and the Pacific

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard and Navy completed a 24-day joint mission in the Western and Central Pacific under the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative to combat transnational crimes, enforce fisheries laws and enhance regional security, Wednesday.

A Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment from Tactical Law Enforcement Team Pacific embarked USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) and conducted 12 fisheries enforcement boardings with the assistance of the ship’s visit, board, search and seizure team and law enforcement shipriders from the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

All boardings were conducted in the exclusive economic zones; eight were in Federated States of Micronesia and four in Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Coast Guard teams and Pacific Island Nation shipriders routinely conduct combined boardings within the host country's exclusive economic zones to protect the ocean and the living marine resources within.

Boarding teams conducted inspections of the vessels to ensure compliance with individual nation’s laws and regulations and conservation management measures.

“The goal of combined efforts by the Navy and Coast Guard through the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative mission is to combat transnational crime threats, including narco-trafficking, human trafficking, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” Lt. Cmdr. Kenji Awamura, district response enforcement operations planner at Coast Guard 14th District. “In keeping with USS Michael Murphy’s motto, OMSI 'Leads the Fight' in combating these activities. IUU fishing undermines efforts to conserve and manage global fish stocks and negatively impacts economies of Oceania States. In partnership with Australia, New Zealand, France, and the Pacific Island nations, OMSI promotes economic and environmental stability throughout Oceania.”

Partnership between the Coast Guard and Navy supports OMSI, a Secretary of Defense program to use Department of Defense assets transiting the Pacific region to build maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting the Coast Guard's maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania.

“I am proud to say that the crew performed superbly across all mission areas as well as being tremendous ambassadors afloat and ashore for the United States throughout our deployment,” said Cmdr. Kevin Louis, commanding officer of USS Michael Murphy.

The Coast Guard is responsible for patrolling the waters around the numerous islands belonging to the United States throughout the region. Each of these islands has territorial waters stretching out to 12 nautical miles from shore. Beyond that, stretching out to 200 nautical miles is an exclusive economic zone, an area defined by international law that allows each nation exclusive rights to the exploration and use of the marine resources within.

Oceania contains 43 percent, or approximately 1.3 million square miles, of United States' EEZs.

Marshall Islands Journal

Pacific International Inc.’s claim against the FSM government is currently in legal limbo, after an FSM Supreme Court judge abruptly cancelled a scheduled hearing for February 23 and has not issued notice for a new hearing nearly two months later.

At 5:15pm on February 22, FSM Judge Bealeen Carl-Worswick “vacated” a hearing scheduled for the following day, “due to a scheduling conflict.” She said “the court will reschedule this matter by future court order.”

As of this week, eight weeks since the hearing was cancelled, no new hearing date has been scheduled by Carl-Worswick.

A major pending issue is PII’s motion before the judge to put a hold on the litigation and “compel the parties to arbitrate their claims.”

The arbitration motion follows on a 2015 mediation session between the FSM government and PII at which a written agreement was reached to partially settle the dispute over the Chuuk road project based on a conditional payment to PII and then proceeding to binding arbitration. After the agreement was signed, the FSM government said it could not bind the FSM Congress to the agreed-to $2 million payment because the Congress and not the executive branch has authority for spending. Judge Carl-Worswick also rejected a summary judgment motion by PII, saying without the concurrence of both President Peter Christian and the FSM Congress, the mediation agreement was unenforceable.

However, despite this, there was no dispute over the plan to send the dispute to binding arbitration, said PII attorney Thomas Tarpley, who is based in Guam. “The parties agreed that the entire dispute would be submitted to and decided by arbitrators regardless of the settlement terms, which would be addressed post-arbitration,” said PII’s motion to the court to order the dispute to arbitration.

But the FSM Attorney General’s office opposed the move, saying “it does not appear that PII is ready or prepared to proceed to trial. “Instead, it appears appears that PII is again tempting to enforce the terms of the June 3, 2015 document which has previously been presented to and rejected by the court as legally enforceable,” said FSM Assistant Attorney General Craig Reffner.

Without a court date, PII’s motion is languishing two months since the judge cancelled the status conference and four months since the motion was filed.

Pohnpei Public Library

April 24, 2018

DSCN7179This year Pohnpei Public Library celebrated its 33th Anniversary with a “Library Week,” from Monday, April 23 to Friday, April 27. The theme for this year’s celebration was “Read, Know, Grow”. On April 24, International Organization of Migration (IOM) did a presentation on climate change that was participated by a group a students from Ohmine School called the Ohmine Environmental Club.

On Friday evening, the library held a special celebration to commemorate the anniversary and to recognize essay and art contest winners. This event began with a prayer by Wahnporon Bruce Robert followed by welcoming remarks by Head Librarian Lester Ezekias. This year, library was fortunate to have Mr. Atarino Helieisar, Chief Law Librarian for the FSM Supreme Court Law Library, to be the Keynote Speaker of the evening. On his speech, he shared the importance of reading and how it can lead to success.

The program ended with the presentations of awards to the students who were selected as winners for the art and essay contest. Art winners were Naven Jay, ECE, Awak School; Gibson Sohs, ECE, Awak School; Lishallay Sanel, ECE, Sapwalap School; Marsha Amor, 1st grade, Awak School; Grace Rodriquez, 1st grade, CCA School; Frank Primo, 1st grade. Awak School; Jayne Hadley, 2nd grade, Awak School; Jared Castro, 2nd grade, CCA School; Ariel Alosima, 2nd grade, CCA School; Ahlai Ehmes, 3rd grade, CCA School; Vera Pelep, 3rd grade, Awak School; Melon Maya Helgenberger, 3rd grade, Palikir School; Cwissyella Elimo, 4th grade, Nett School; Lotoya Ladore, 4th grade, Awak School; Lavinya Ladore, 4th grade, Awak School.IMG 0116

Essay winners were Caroleen Eliam, 5th grade, Ohmine School; Mariza Mellan Hawley, 5th grade, Awak School, Aldred Rodel Tecson, 5th grade, Kolonia School; Beulah Tamani, 6th grade, Nett School; Faith Jewel Wynn, 6th grade, SDA School; Jayne Fredrick, 6th grade, Seinwar School; Isabella Kostka, 7th grade, Awak School; Keavae Adams, 7th grade, CCA School; Vanicka Oliver, 7th grade, Nett School; Jesian Lawrence, 8th grade, Ohmine School; Kekoa Apis, 8th grade, Nett School, Kacheana Tolenoa, 8th grade, Nett School; Theo Thiesen, 10th grade, SDA School; Shaquille Nimea, 10th grade, SDA School; Audrey Antreas, 10th grade, Our Lady of Mercy; Rhea Tisha Kephas, 11th grade, Our Lady of Mercy; Nick Raifmai, 11th grade, Our Lady of Mercy; Mermy Jeanette Yamada, 11th grade, SDA School; Gary Olter, 12th grade, Our Lady of Mercy; Kiana Edwin, 12th grade, CCA School; Alliyah Tecson, 12th grade, SDA School.

Pohnpei Public Library wants to express its gratitude to the following businesses, individuals and agencies for their contributions and support that made this Library Week successful one. Sponsors include Ms. Denise Oen, Ms. Maria Isabele Lojan, Ms. Catherine Allen, Mr. Lucas Cupps, Ms. Alsihner Kusto,MicroPc.fm, Pohnpei Rotary Club, Ocean View- West Wing, Ohmine Environmental Club, International Organization for Migration, Sea Breeze, Nihco Store, Joy Restaurant, Isamu Nakasone Store, FSM Development Bank, China Star Restaurant, Caroline Fisheries Corporation, Ace Office Supplies, Ace Hardware, 4-TY Enterprises, Kaselehlie Diner, Palm Terrace, Pohnpei Arts &  Crafts, Pohnpei Hardware, Pohnpei LP Gas, and Pohnpei Service Station.”

Secretariat of the Pacific Community

25 April 2018

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea- Participants at the Third Domestic Ship Safety Forum have recommended adopting a community based approach involving end users of domestic ship services to improve safety at sea.

The Third Domestic Ship Safety Forum was organised by the Pacific Community (SPC), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Government of Papua New Guinea. The forum was attended by representatives from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, along with regional and international partners.

The gathering provided an opportunity to examine challenges and discuss possible solutions for emerging and persistent issues in relation to domestic shipping safety in the Pacific as well as consider the responsibilities of ship operators and maritime administrations in this matter.

Speaking at the official opening of the Forum, the Hon Westly Nukundj, Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Transport and Infrastructure said, “We acknowledge that this meeting with support from the regional and international maritime organisations plays an important role in facilitating discussions that are mutually beneficial to our countries. It provides an avenue to stimulate solutions to common challenges while identifying priorities for inclusive and sustainable development.”

Domestic ship services are a major part of the transport system in Pacific Island Countries and while issues relating to ship safety in the region remain an ongoing challenge, the potential of adopting a more community based approach was proposed as a way to make significant progress towards safety at sea. Participants agreed to explore ways to promote a community-based approach towards safe, accessible, green and efficient domestic shipping that supports resilient development of Pacific communities.

Bekir Sitki Ustaoglu, Head Asia-Pacific Section of IMO Technical Co-operation Division highlighted the importance of ensuring maritime safety is seen as a common priority for both government and industry leaders saying, “This is a platform where we are trying to obtain direct input from all stakeholders in matters related to the safety of domestic ferries. The dependence of Pacific Islanders on inter-island shipping is of paramount importance and every effort must be made by government and industry alike to ensure that only safe ships sail.”

Thierry Nervale SPC’s Deputy Director for Oceans and Maritime, stressed his organizations support for a more community based approach and committed to providing the technical support required to implement this methodology. “Providing technical support to ship operators and maritime administrations is at the core of our programme.”, said Mr. Nervale, “SPC will support the implementation of the forum activities and a new approach towards safer domestic shipping focusing on community needs requires improved maritime governance.”

The Forum reiterated that all stakeholders in the Pacific, work towards ensuring that all vessels operate in a sound and safe condition, posing no danger to the lives of those on board or to the marine environment.

By Gina T. Reilly

Pacific Island Times

   A research that looked at 12 years of commercial reef-fish trade data between Chuuk and Guam revealed a relation between increased exportation of fish products to government Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) disbursement trends on Guam.

  The SNAP disbursement factor is just one findings in a University of Guam Marine Laboratory research called, “Disentangling Economic, Social, and Environmental Drivers of Coral-Reef Fish Trade in Micronesia” by Javier Cuetos-Bueno and Peter Houk.

   The study covered commercial fishing trends from 2003 to 2014.  As a federal program, SNAP provides nutrition assistance to low-income individuals and families. Using their monthly SNAP allowance, those who are eligible can obtain food items such as meat, fish, and vegetables from retailers. Current data indicate nearly one third of Guam residents participate in the program.

   According to the study, “SNAP recipients are believed to account for an important proportion of reef-fish demand in Guam, but no data are available to quantify their contribution.” However, the study noted a relationship between commercial fish exports from Chuuk and SNAP disbursement patterns. When reef-fish exports from Chuuk “increased steadily between 2003 and 2010 due to consumer demand on Guam, it was at a time when SNAP disbursements also doubled.

  After this period, the study said “a decoupling of SNAP issuance and annual exports followed the 2010 peak.” Between 2010 and 2014, importation decreased by an average of 25 metric tons per year, at an overall decrease of around 48 percent.  “This decline was driven by reduced profitability, as large increases in fish acquisition and airfreight costs reduced profits beyond sustainable thresholds,” according to the study.

    But looking at daily export trends, SNAP disbursement days also impact the amount of reef-fish exported to Guam. The study said “proximity to SNAP-days became the dominant predictor of modern daily exports, as larger proportions of Chuuk fish have increasingly been exported to Guam around these high-demand days.”

     “Daily exports were 30 percent and 18 percent higher than the overall monthly mean during the SNAP allowance days, and the days before-after respectively, with less variation on other days,” the study said.

   During the research period, export rates of reef-fish from Chuuk averaged at 148 MT per year, ranging from a minimum export rate of 108 MT in 2014, to a maximum of 206 MT in 2010. The fish imports had an average gross retail value of $1.5 million. According to the study, Chuuk and the other island had been a source of reef fish for Guam since local production cannot fulfil growing consumer demand. For the past decades, Chuuk has transported fish to Guam to support this need.

   However, with less fish importation from Chuuk, Guam’s local fish markets are now moving outside the Micronesian region to source out frozen reef-fish products. The study noted that evidence of similar expansions is “becoming increasingly noticeable across the tropics, highlighting growing concerns for small-scale fisheries in remote locales.”

   The research captured both inter-annual and intra-annual trends on reef-fish trade between the two locales by examining different economic, social, and environmental drivers. From a global perspective, the study said that looking at these drivers would help understand and manage coastal fishery resources in the area.

Secretariat of the Pacific Community

25 April 2018

Nouméa, New Caledonia – A Social and Environmental Responsibility (SER) policy applies to all the work of the Pacific Community (CPS) since 3 April 2018. On that date it was approved by SPC Director-General, Colin Tukuitonga. The SER policy aims to manage the social and environmental risks and impacts inherent to all SPC activities in an ethical and sustainable way, along three key areas: people, operations and programs.

The SER policy was developed by Aude Chenet, Coordinator of Environmental Sustainability, under the supervision of Sylvie Goyet, Director of the Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Program. The specialized technical expertise has received financial support from USAID-Climate READY .

The Social and Environmental Responsibility Policy will have a positive impact on individuals, enhancing the fulfilment of the staff and others involved in its activities, with SPC promoting diversity and inclusion, ensuring equal rights and forming a safe, healthy and dynamic work environment; it will also apply to operations, with SPC committing to environmental protection with a focus on carbon neutrality and zero waste; finally, SPC commits to supporting programmes and projects to deliver activities that maximise benefits while minimizing social impacts and environmental degradation.

The policy is now entering a "test phase". In SPC Divisions, practical activities will be implemented and evaluated; in the programs, three projects will apply it as a pilot. A SER practice group will be established to exchange knowledge, build capacity and cooperate in implementing the policy. This group will work in conjunction with the Regional Human Rights Education Team and the Social Development Programme, with an ultimate goal of systematically integrating SER into the overall functioning of the Organization.

“SER policies have been successful for two decades. They strengthen organizational cohesion and provide the social and environmental responsibility basis for sustainable development. For more than five years, SPC has been working to strengthen its environmental sustainability in its operations. By extending this logic to its programs, it is part of a dynamic that aligns perfectly with the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to climate, equality and renewable energies”, says Aude Chenet at SPC.

Yap Congressional Delegation Office
April 24, 2018
 
GENEVA, Switzerland — On March 24, 2018, at the 138th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, Switzerland, the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) assumed the chairmanship of the IPU’s Asia-Pacific Group (APG). This geopolitical group represents two thirds of the world's population, including countries as diverse and populous as China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Iran, in addition to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The APG is one of six geopolitical groups in the IPU, and is comprised of 34 national parliaments.
 
Speaker Wesley W. Simina presided over the APG meeting at which major issues of policy were discussed, including the possibility of changes to the Statutes and Rules of the IPU. The APG also agreed upon endorsements for a number of high-level positions in the various standing committees of the IPU.
 
As Chairman of the APG, Speaker Simina ensured fair representation of the APG member countries on the IPU’s Executive Committee and other groups by reviewing and coordinating with the member parliaments the nominations of candidates on various committees and groups. He also coordinated the APG’s positions on key issues on the agenda of 138th IPU Assembly, as well as attend a number of bilateral meetings with the IPU President, the Secretariat, and other geopolitical group Chairs on matters internal to the IPU.
 
The Asia-Pacific Group was also honored by the presence of Madam Gabriela Cuevas Barron, the new President of the IPU, at the group’s meeting. At the invitation of Speaker Simina, Madam Cuevas Barron addressed the APG on her visions for the IPU.
 
The FSM Congress will serve as chair of this geopolitical group for the entire year, convening the next Asia-Pacific Group meeting at the 139th IPU Assembly in October 2018.
 
Aside from chairing the APG meeting, the FSM Congress delegation was also heavily involved in other activities during the 138th IPU Assembly which ran from March 24 – 28, 2018.
 
During the Governing Council meeting, the FSM delegation and a substantial number of other countries strove to put on the agenda an emergency item on Violence Against Women Parliamentarians. The FSM believes this is an issue of great importance upon which an IPU resolution could make a great impact. Unfortunately, the assembly could take up only one emergency item, and it chose during a late night vote to consider another important resolution.
 
This particular resolution speaks to the rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem in light of the recent UN Charter and resolutions on the subject matter. Although adopted by the majority of countries, nearly 30 countries, while in support of peace and the two-state solution on Israel and Palestine, expressed its reservations due to some texts in certain parts of the resolution.
 
In addition to voting on this and other resolutions and reports during the 138th IPU Assembly, the FSM delegation also engaged in a number of bilateral meetings with other national parliaments represented at the IPU. These included meeting the Speakers and Members of Parliaments from other Pacific Island countries including Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, and Vanuatu. This joint meeting primarily focused on common concerns and ways of addressing Pacific regional issues through the IPU. Other bilateral meetings, which mainly focused on enhancing parliamentary relations, included a meeting with the Speaker and Members of the Advisory Council or Majlis al-Shura of the State of Qatar, and a meeting with the Members of the Viet Nam National Assembly.
 
Speaker Simina was also appointed to serve twice as President of the Assembly during the 138th IPU Assembly general debate, which revolved around the theme: “Strengthening the global regime for migrants and refugees: The need for evidence-based policy solutions”. Senator Isaac V. Figir, former Speaker of the FSM Congress and current Chairman on the Congressional Committee on Ways and Means, addressed the Assembly on behalf of the FSM delegation during this debate.
 
Through its membership on the IPU, the FSM Congress has addressed a number of matters of national concern through such international parliamentary dialogues including, among other issues, migration and refugees, climate change, and nuclear disarmament. The FSM Congress has also deepened and expanded its bilateral relations with other national parliaments around the world. Through the IPU, it has also obtained access to information, data, and guides on improving local legislations on matters of national concern.
 
Under the leadership of Speaker Wesley W. Simina, the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia continues to play an active and leading role in the world’s oldest national parliamentary organization – The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The IPU is an organization comprised of 178 countries, represented through their national parliaments, and 12 other associate members. The IPU also works closely with the United Nations and other international organizations sharing common goals. According to the IPU website, the IPU works with the world’s parliaments “to safeguard peace and drive positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.” For more information on the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), please visit www.ipu.org.
 
For more information on the FSM Congress’ participation in the 138th IPU Assembly and on other activities of the FSM Congress, please visit www.cfsm.fm.