By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

August 31, 2018

Chuuk— In an email circulated to a large group of FSM and international government officials and others, Vikas Bijlwan, a former Padma Enterprises- Saki Store employee from India made several serious allegations of wrong doing associated with the store. He made the claims from India after he was allegedly summarily dismissed from employment with the store in Chuuk on the evening of August 4 and handed a plane ticket for a flight that departed for India just over five hours later.

FSM Secretary for the Department of Justice Joses Gallen has dispatched investigators from Immigration and Labor to investigate the claims. In an online interview on Wednesday of this week, Gallen wrote that their investigation into various labor claims, including allegations that owners of the Saki store confiscated passports of foreign workers on arrival, a claim that if true might have meant that employees were held against their will, should soon be completed.

He wrote that Immigration and Labor were already assigned to investigate the claims when National Police officers in Chuuk began their own investigation so he instructed them to “hold on and not interfere with the immigration investigation.”

“Yes, we will pursue to criminal investigation if warranted from the immigration report,” he wrote.

Bijlwan claimed that employees feared reporting any of the accusations he made in his email because they had been told that the foreign owner allegedly claimed to have influence through bribery and other means with government officials including FSM Attorney General Joses Gallen.

Gallen said that he had no idea what would lead Bijlwan to make that claim. Gallen said that he is not a part owner of any Saki Stores and that he solely owns JG Stores with no partner. He said that he has no association with the owner of Saki Stores.

One result of the investigation so far is that employees from India whose work permits had expired were repatriated to India but at press time, the Immigration and Labor investigation had not been completed.

Bijlwan’s widely circulated email message which included copies of his contract, his expired entry permit, and his passport also included a link to a “warning” he had written on “blogspot” to other Indian workers considering employment with the store. That warning included several allegations not under the purview of Immigration and Labor. We could not confirm whether those allegations are being investigated.

 MG 1715By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

August 22, 2018

Pohnpei—As part of their ongoing training, Pohnpei’s Fire Fighters staged an emergency exercise in the courtyard of the government building in Peilapalap.

Trainers had established a scenario for the training. The scenario they developed was that someone was trapped in a burning home. The firefighters were first to control the raging fire and then seek to find and rescue the trapped person.

Meanwhile, the scenario said that one of the fire fighters was to be overcome by smoke inhalation and would require rescue and emergency medical response as well.

The simulated house fire was set in several barrels containing a mixture of gasoline, diesel fuel and car tires. After the fires were lit, firefighters rushed in as a team to put out the stubborn flames. The water sources for the powerful hoses were two fire department vehicles and the hoses ran through the building. MG 1742

Captain Patrick Carl said that he had not expected the training blazes to be quite as blackly smoky as it was. Several spectators had no choice but to leave before the exercise was over due to the fumes

Once the flames were under control, emergency medical responders rushed in to treat and evacuate the mock victims who were each loaded onto ambulances at which point the exercise ended.

Later in the day the fire fighters also participated in a vehicle extrication exercise where a mock victim was trapped inside a wrecked car.

Carl says that the current training will continue through September and that once the training is complete, his Division of the Department of Public Safety will put the plan into place that would set up a 24 hour emergency response team in early October.

World Health Organization – Western Pacific Region

20 August 2018 – The Federated States of Micronesia has become the first Pacific island country to complete a Joint External Evaluation (JEE).

JEEs are voluntary, and involve a team of local and international experts working together to evaluate the country’s preparedness for outbreaks and health emergencies. This includes a set of core capacities required under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) – a legally-binding international instrument signed by 196 countries across the globe, including the Federated States of Micronesia. The JEE process provides countries with recommendations on how to strengthen their national systems and address identified gaps, as part of an ongoing process of learning and improvement.

“This has been a week of thoughtful discussion, valuable insights and new ideas — but also a recognition of what has already been working well,” said Magdalena Walter, Secretary of Health and Social Affairs. “We know that by working together we can better protect our people from outbreaks and emergencies.”

Dr Li Ailan, Regional Emergency Director for the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Western Pacific, praised the country for being at the forefront of health security in the Pacific: “The Federated States of Micronesia should be proud of the fact that this is the first JEE in a Pacific island country.”

The JEE in the Federated States of Micronesia was conducted from 13-17 August and included experts in a range of disciplines including surveillance, antimicrobial resistance, risk communication, emergency management and biosecurity. WHO supported the country to prepare for the evaluation and ensure it was appropriately tailored to the Pacific island context, where geographically dispersed populations make delivering health services and managing emergency response operations logistically challenging and expensive.

“We are happy to have supported the Federated States of Micronesia through the JEE process,” said Dr Eunyoung Ko, WHO Country Liaison Officer. “Now we’ll continue to work together to implement the recommendations and catalyze further progress towards health security.”

In the Pacific, WHO works closely with national authorities and regional partners to collectively prioritize, implement and fund sustainable national and regional health security capacities, guided by the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emergencies (APSED III) and the Pacific Health Security Coordination Plan 2017-2022 (PaHSeC). These strategic frameworks support countries and partners to take collective action to accelerate implementation of the IHR at national and regional levels.

Other countries in the Western Pacific Region that have conducted a JEE include Australia, Cambodia, Japan, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Viet Nam.

Office of the Assistant Secretary

Insular and International Affairs

WASHINGTON – Doug Domenech, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, this week approved $1,345,256 in fiscal year 2018 grant funding under the Coral Reef and Natural Resources initiative to the U.S. territories and the freely associated states. Office of Insular Affairs Director Nik Pula was in American Samoa this week to co-chair the 40th U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Meeting where he announced the funding.

“The Assistant Secretary and I are pleased to provide these grants to the U.S. territories and the freely associated states and help protect coral reefs and marine resources,” said Director Pula. “From rehabilitation of corals, to outreach, restoration, and removal of invasive species and pests, these projects support an important aspect economies and livelihood for people in the islands.”

American Samoa Coral Reef Advisory Group - $173,200 to restore and rehabilitate coral reefs at the Ofu-Olosega islands in American Samoa that have been damaged by an algae outbreak of Valonia fastigiata. Project managers will be working closely with the National Park Service.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality - $166,949 to support several projects including 1) participation in the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Meetings; 2) Laolao Watershed Management Plan Development; and 3) the Coral Nursery Development Project.

Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans - $220,231 to support several projects including 1) Marine Tour Operator Workshop; 2) Coral Reef Management; 3) Coral Reef Conservation Outreach and Education; 4) Removal of an invasive bamboo plant, Bambusa vulgaris from priority watershed areas; 5) the Tasi Guides Program; and 6) the geotechnical investigation of rainfall-induced landslides in Piti-Asan watershed.

U.S. Virgin Islands Division of Coastal Zone Management - $122,791 to support coral restoration and coral nursery operations, and 2) participation in the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Meetings.

Women’s Aquaculture Farming Initiative, Republic of the Marshall Islands - $134,582 to support a Women’s Coral Farming initiative in Mili and Arno Atolls to grow hard and soft corals for local use and to ensure protection of wild coral reef resources.

The Hawai’i State Museum of Natural and Cultural History and the Palau International Coral Reef Center - $185,503 to establish biology-based regulations for the sustainable harvest of reef fishes in the Republic of Palau, build research capacity in Palau to develop the sustainable use of coral reef fishes, and help meet the subsistence and artisanal fishing needs of Palau residents.

Mariana Islands Nature Alliance - $142,000 to support the Tasi Watch Ranger Program which was developed to build and strengthen CNMI youth and community’s involvement in management of coastal and near-shore marine resources. This project includes efforts to remove invasive tangan tangan trees, leucocephala, and restore native species of trees and plants that were lost during Typhoon Saudelor in 2015.

Earlier this year, $200,000 was provided to support the 2018-2020 National Coral Reef Management Fellowship Program in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Funds are made available through the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs’ Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative. Applications are generally submitted from October through May 1st each year. Funds are awarded once OIA receives appropriations from the U.S. Congress until they are exhausted.

The Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, and the Office of Insular Affairs carry out the Secretary of the Interior’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Additionally, OIA administers and oversees Federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. OIA supports the Secretary's mission of Fulfilling Trust and Insular Responsibilities through balancing efforts and limited resources towards stronger economic and health capacities, and fiscal accountability in the U.S. insular areas.

Global flight safety standards for contracted aircraft operators have been updated to include air drop threats, controls and defences in a collaboration involving the Flight Safety Foundation, air operators, humanitarian organisations and facilitated by the World Food Programme (WFP). Air drops are occasionally used by humanitarian organisations like WFP to deliver food and other basic supplies to remote areas.

Version seven of the new Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS) Program also includes the addition of safety goals at the top of each control and defence, providing industry with the ability to establish measures to rate the organisation’s safety performance against each goal.

The BARS Program was created by the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) in collaboration with some of the world’s largest resource and mining companies to provide a more efficient means of monitoring, assessing and analysing risks associated with contracted aviation operators. FSF BARS Program managing director David Anderson said the inclusion of air drop risks and controls in the latest version of the Program responded to the continued rise in global humanitarian activity and the unique challenges involved in these operations.

“Air drop activity has its own unique set of risks and controls and is very different to other aviation operations, which is why we’ve dedicated an entire appendix in this latest version of the BARS Program to these activities,” he said.

“The air drop section was developed in collaboration with humanitarian organisations and relevant operators and facilitated by the World Food Program, – the result is a common safety standard for aircraft operators to address the challenges of these complex operations.”

Mr Anderson said the other significant update in the latest version of the BARS Program was the inclusion of safety goals – a result of industry feedback from resources, mining, construction and insurance organisations that contract aircraft and helicopter operators.

“No other standard has ever outlined ‘why’ a control is in place – the addition of safety goals to each control and defence in the standard is a significant step forward for our industry,” he said.

“This provides aircraft operators with the guidance to establish metrics to assess how the organisation is meeting its safety goals, improving visibility and performance.”

Mr Anderson said before the BARS Program existed there were no clear benchmarks for companies to assess the safety of their own, or outsourced, air operations. This created multiple audit levels that were carried out with no information-sharing or comparability between companies.

“Over the past seven years, the BARS Program has done more than 550 audits in 33 different countries for about 170 different aircraft operators,” Mr Anderson said.

 MG 1565Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

August 11, 2018

FSM—Sponsored by the US Embassy to the FSM, the unique band “Vocal Trash” blew through three states of Micronesia in a whirlwind tour spreading their environmental message where ever they went.

“Vocal Trash” is based in Ft. Worth, Texas.  “Vocal Trash has been entertaining the globe with a message of peace, love and saving our planet,” their Facebook page says. “Our mission is to unite the world through song and dance. We are environmental activists, that have dedicated our lives to inspiring others to find hope and joy, while saving our planet. Everything on our stage we have rescued from a landfill- from tool box guitars to a milk urn bass... up cycling at its finest. We have been on our Let Peace MG 1489 Begin Tour that has included over 5 countries and all 50 states. We have so much to share with the world, and we’re truly excited and blessed to get to do what we love every day.”

The band’s high energy performance, even in the blazing heat and high humidity of Kosrae, Chuuk, and Pohnpei was infectious.  Led by Kelsey Rae and Steve Linder, the band includes Grug Dugan, Anthony Silva, and Pablo Barragan.  They were all consummate performers inspiring audience participation throughout their performances.

Banging on water bottles, trash cans, and even the stage floor; playing a guitar whose body was a Dewalt power tool case, break dancing, and even tap dancing every song, every message encouraged their audiences to actively work to preserve the earth.  They likely had more impact on the problem of littering in one hour and a half performance than KPress has had in over 16 years of editorials.

They were hard not to love though no one seemed to try wherever they went.

 MG 1645By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

August 13, 2018

Pohnpei—Governor Marcelo Peterson and LianCheng Overseas Fishery FSM Corporation, Luen Thai Fishing Venture represented by Deng Lu today signed settlement agreements on the long standing civil actions between the State and Luen Thai.  They also signed an agreement for Luen Thai to lease land on Pohnpei Port Authority property, as well as an agreement to begin a tuna farming pilot project in Pohnpei waters.

Governor Peterson called the moment an important event for Pohnpei Economic Development.

Luen Thai currently employs approximately 100 people in Pohnpei.  Deng says that the new agreements will pave the way for at least 100 more jobs that don’t currently exist in Pohnpei.

The Governor and Deng said that the pilot program for tuna farming would be in waters near the APSCO dock in Sokehs.  The Mackerel Tuna (Euthynus affinis) that would be raised there, if the project is successful, would be exported as fresh high grade sashimi quality.  Deng said that the current market value for sashimi grade Mackerel Tuna in the Japanese market is at just over $16 per pound varying with exchange rates.

The settlement documents and Lease Agreement were accompanied by a memo to Governor Peterson from Pohnpei Attorney General Dana Smith who explained each element of the agreements.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

August 9, 2018

Weno, ChuukOn August 8, FSM Supreme Court Chief Justice Dennis Yamase sentenced four men for the crime of Trafficking Children. The men faced the possibility of a total of 30 years and/ or a fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $50,000. While the sentence was slightly more than half of what they could have received it is still the strongest sentence the FSM has handed down for the crime.

He sentenced Onsori Sino, Kachura Angken, Taisiro Loves, and Lucky Shiro to serve 15 years in the Chuuk State Jail. He suspended all but nine of the years. He also required each of the men to pay $1000 in restitution to the victim at the rate of $50 per month beginning on October 1, 2018. The amount is payable to the State Justice Ombudsman no later than the first day of each month until the amount of restitution is satisfied.

The court advised each of the men their right to appeal the sentence and also of the right of a person who is unable to pay the cost of an appeal to apply for leave to appeal “in forma pauperis”.

The men had been convicted of Trafficking in Children after prosecutors proved that each of them had sex in Patta, Chuuk with a young girl of 14 or 15 at the time.

Prosecutors proved to the court that the young victim’s claim that in September of 2015 Sino had sex with her in exchange for marijuana were true. The criminal information on the case said that on that day, the victim had been sent by her mother to buy disposable diapers. Sino followed the victim and urged the victim to allow Sino’s daughter to buy the diapers for her so that she could go to his house with him. After the act, witnesses saw the two leaving Sino’s house

.

Kachura Angken was convicted based on evidence presented by the prosecutors along with the victim’s testimony that in October 2015 he solicited a minor to have sex with him in his taro patch for the sum of $15.

Tasiro Loves was convicted on testimony of the victim, other evidence placed before the Court, and arguments of counsel. In 2015, Loves lured the victim to a home belonging to another person on Patta and induced the minor to have sexual intercourse with him for $2.00.

Lucky Shiro was convicted of having had sex with the victim for a promised sum of two dollars that he apparently didn’t have the cash to pay after the act was completed.

Yamase ordered the men to report to the Chuuk State Jail to begin serving their sentences by noon on August 16, 2018.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

August 16, 2018

Pohnpei—Pohnpei has filed criminal charges against two Nukuoro employees related to theft of nearly $18,000. The charges came after a Pohnpei Office of the Public Auditor review of the municipality revealed financial irregularities that were then handed over to the Compliance Investigation Division, which after investigation referred the matter to the Pohnpei Office of the Attorney General.

The charges were filed at the Pohnpei State Supreme Court on the evening of July 27. Itaia R. Fred and Blumina Leopold were charged with the crimes. Their arraignment is scheduled on August 17. Both are presumed innocent unless otherwise proved in court. At press time they had not yet entered their pleas.

Both of the defendants are charged with grand larceny, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, cheating, misconduct in public office, and compounding a crime.

According to the filed charges, Fred is the chief representative of the Mayor for the municipal government of Nukuoro. Blumina Leopold is the Assistant Treasurer for the Nukuoro government.

The charges against Itaia, who has already been convicted of felony charges on a plea bargain for a financial crime involving the Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture where he currently works, is accused of stealing over $14,000 from the people of Nukuoro over a three year period.

Editor’s note: Just before print deadline, Fred and Leopold pled “not guilty” to all charges. The trial will resume on September 14.

 MG 1636By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

August 11, 2018

FSM—Sometimes you meet a person whose accomplishments are so numerous and astounding that it’s hard to wrap your mind around all that they have done. Dr. Orhan Kural of Turkey is that kind of man but because of his personality, I didn’t know the extent of it until I looked at his website (www.orhankural.org).

He came into my life when he walked through my office door carrying a backpack and dragging a suitcase on Friday. He introduced himself and then proceeded to pull publication after publication from his suitcase and backpack, a small sample of books he had published. He told me that he is a world traveler and had been told by someone on his journeys to look me up.

His business card lists as a Lecturer of Istanbul Aydin University, Honorary Consul of Republic of Benin, Vice Honorary Consul of Vanuatu, President of Turkish Travelers Club of Turkey, and the President of the Association of Yellow Crescent. All of those titles are just a hint of what Dr. Kural is about.

To say that he is a world traveler is to understate the matter in the extreme. During his current trip he visited the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and of course, the Federated States of Micronesia. After departing from the FSM he traveled to Tuvalu, and Nauru. They were the last four countries he needed to have visited in order to have visited all 193 countries recognized by the United Nations.

The number of countries a traveler has visited is one way to talk about how extensively one has traveled but another, better way is by region. The Nomad Mania site divides the world up into 1281 regions, the idea being that, for instance, spending a day in New York city does not mean that at a traveler has actually visited the United States. Before Dr. Kural’s current trip he was ranked as the 41st most traveled person, having visited 764 of the 1281 regions. That ranking is likely to go up after this journey during which he will also visit Saipan which, as a US Territory is not one of the 193 UN countries.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

August 2, 2018

Palikir, Pohnpei—During the Fifth Special Session of the 20th FSM Congress, Chuuk’s Senator Robson Romolow introduced a resolution (C.R. 20-119) regarding the upcoming referendum for his State to secede from the FSM.

The resolution did not reach the floor of Congress for consideration during the short fifth special session but is still open for consideration in a future session.

Romolow’s proposed resolution says that “there are many unanswered questions with regards to the financial future and financial stability for Chuuk should it secede from the Federation.”

It says that “the governments of the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States have both expressed that an independent Chuuk nation will not be eligible for any funds from the Compact Trust Fund or otherwise.”

Finally it says that the “leadership and constituents from the Northwest Region of Chuuk have also expressed their concern regarding the potential referendum.”

The proposed resolution asks the 20th Congress of the FSM to request the Governor of the State of Chuuk to reconsider moving forward with the referendum related to Chuuk’s secession from the Federated States of Micronesia.

NORMA

MENEN, NAURU—At the 13th Annual PNA Ministerial meeting from August 1-2, PNA Ministers noted the continued success of the PNA purse seine Vessel Day Scheme (VDS). The PNA controls the fishing grounds in which about half of the world’s tuna is caught and the VDS has helped to increase PNA member fishery earnings from $60M before its implementation to $470M in 2017. The VDS has also contributed to sustainable management as all major western and central Pacific Ocean tuna stocks were found to be healthy in 2017.

PNA Ministers adopted several key measures designed to strengthen the economic and environmental performance of the region’s tuna fisheries, including the endorsement of a PNA Electronic Monitoring (e-moniotring) Program. This will build on a sub-regional E-Monitoring initiative spearheaded by the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, and Solomon Islands. E-Monitoring leverages advanced technology including video cameras to fill critical science and compliance monitoring data gaps in the region’s tuna fisheries. “This is a very positive step for PNA to take leadership in the development of the E-monitoring program for not just the PNA but also the region given more than half of the longline effort occurs in the high seas which has a poor record of monitoring and compliance. The installation of camera’s would improve validation of the catch and improve monitoring particularly of species of special interest” says Eugene Pangelinan, Executive Director of FSM’s fisheries agency.

The prohibition on high seas bunkering was also adopted by the PNA Ministers. In this respect, all purse seine vessels licensed to fish in PNA waters will be prohibited from bunkering (re-fueling) in the high seas starting Janurary 1, 2020 as this activity increases the risk of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Lastly, Kiribati joined the PNA longline VDS, joining the seven PNA members and Tokelau in the initiative, which was launched in 2014. Tokelau also joined the FSM Arrangement widening the operational area of the domestic fleets of PNA members.

Palau will host the next PNA Ministerial in 2019.

DSC 0490FSM Supreme Court 

On July 31, 2018, nine (9) students of the College of Micronesia Trial Counselor’s program received their certificates of completion, before a gathering of special guests, family members, and supporters.  The ceremony was held at the FSM Supreme Court in Palikir.

The certificate program provides training opportunities for current, as well as aspiring and upcoming trial counselors, to improve their skills and competency, and to prepare them to be effective decision makers in their respective courts. The program also provides for networking and sharing among trial counselors, and those interested in entering the legal field. Graduates have also gone on to further their legal studies in China, Vanuatu, and the United States.

During the ceremony, the opening prayer was given by Reverand Taylor Elidok, and opening remarks were made by Karen Simion, Vice President of Instructional Affairs, who gave an overview of the program. The keynote address was delivered by Jackson Smith, who was one of the graduates, and is the Chief Justice of the Sokehs Municipal Court.  Chief Justice Smith addressed the graduates by emphasizing the importance of a legal education, and the need to work toward a common good.

The certificates were presented to the graduates by Karen Simion and Associate Justice of the FSM Supreme Court, Beauleen Carl-Worswick. The closing remarks were given by Daniel Rescue Jr., General Counsel of the FSM Supreme Court.  Mr. Rescue discussed the special partnership between the College of Micronesia and the FSM Supreme Court through the administration of the Trial Counselor’s program, a relationship that has been in existence for nearly twenty (20) years.

Special guests also in attendance were: Joseph Habuchmai, COM Vice President for Administration, Maria Dison, Dean of Academic Programs, Dr. Denise Oen, Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Delihna Ehmes, Professor for Social Sciences Division, Joseph Felix Jr., Instructional Coordinator for the National Campus, Eusepio Hadley, Associate Justice of the Sokehs Municipal Court, and Dickson Martin, Temporary Justice for the Kolonia Town Court. 

The following are the 2018 graduates of the College of Micronesia Trial Counselor’s program: Hiteharu Augustine, Floriano Bonapart, Tamara Tara Booth, Mayleen David, Semenster Hadley, Stevick Joseph, Helen Paul, Michael Reyes, and Jackson Smith.    

In Photo

Front row: Daniel Rescue Jr. (General Counsel of the FSM Supreme Court), Emeliana Musrasrik-Carl (Director of Court Administration), Delihna Ehmes (Professor for the Social Sciences Division), Beauleen Carl-Worswick (Associate Justice of the FSM Supreme Court), Karen Simion (Vice President of Instructional Affairs), and Joseph Habuchmai (Vice President of Administration).

Back row: Semenster Hadley, Tamara Tara-Booth, Floriano Bonapart, Mayleen David, Hellen Paul, Hiteharu Augustine, Jackson Smith, Stevick Joseph, and Joseph Felix Jr. (Instructional Coordinator for the National Campus). Missing, Michael Reyes.

OurYAP Helping Hands Donation JMcClure 2By Joyce McClure

Colonia, Yap- During the 2018 Micro Games, among the hundreds of volunteers who pitched in and provided support was a group from Mormon Helping Hands, the community service organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition to a group from the church’s two local Yap branches located in Colonia and Thol that helped clear out desks, chairs and other furniture from the schoolrooms at Yap High School before it was turned into the athletes village, a team of media and technical experts arrived from Japan, Korea, Guam and Pohnpei to make sure fans from around the region and the world could cheer on their favorite athletes from afar.

The all-volunteer group brought equipment along with their expertise and worked with local volunteers to set up live streaming of the Games. They also took photos of the competitions that were posted online and shot videos that are now being edited and will be uploaded to YouTube. Then, when the two-week-long quadrennial event came to a close, they left three new laptops with an offer to donate them to a worthy organization in Yap.

OurYAP (Our Youth are Promising), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting “the well-being and development of Yaps’ Youth for the benefit of all people of the state,” was the recipient. Supported by the Yap State Department of Youth Services, OurYAP encourages Youth Networking and the dissemination of “ideas among youth clubs, develop[s] youth plans, ideas and coordinate[s] youth programs and activities within their respective communities.”

LDS District President, Jim Hachigeiresh, presented the laptops to OurYAP representatives Michelle Chugen and Joshua Libyan in the presence of John G. Mangefel, Yap State Department of Youth Services.

“OurYAP did a great job during the Micro Games as volunteers,” said Hachigeiresh. “We know that OurYAP will put the laptops to good use. Helping Hands is always willing to help in any way we can,” he added. “We are always available for anyone in need no matter what the need is.”

With this donation, the young members of OurYAP can now realize their own mission of service, as well.

In Photo:

John G. Mangefel, Yap State Department of Youth Services; Joshua Libyan and Michelle Chugen, Our YAP; Jim Hachigeiresh, District President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

PHOTO CREDIT: Joyce McClure  

Untitled 2FSM Supreme Court

The National Supreme Court of FSM and the Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative hosted the Activity Preparation and Refresher Training-of-Trainers Workshop from 31 July-2 August, 2018, at the Kurassa Hotel Conference Room, Chuuk.

The workshop was attended by 16 participants, from the FSM Supreme Court, Chuuk State Supreme Court, Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Chuuk Women’s Council, Chuuk Youth Council, Pacific Youth Council, Department of Public Safety, Chuuk State Chamber of Commerce, and Pacific Resources for Education and Learning. The faculty included trainers from FSM and Australia.

Participants of the workshop received training to develop their confidence in leading, designing, delivering, monitoring and evaluating ongoing judicial and court development activities. The practical and interactive workshop also focussed on developing adult learning skills to help the FSM Supreme Court to implement its newly developed Access to Justice Plan and associated training in each State. Participants also took the opportunity to showcase traditional and cultural practices and the paying of respect in engagement activities.

Mr. Xavier Maras, Administrative Officer from Department of Public Safety, noted that: “I learned to be a champion for access to justice through the Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative training.”

The workshop is one of the many workshops held by the Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative within the Pacific. The Initiative is funded by New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade which has supported promoting the rule of law across the Pacific over recent years. Ms. Gina Nowell, Secretary Court Reporter FSM Supreme Court, Chuuk, added that: “We have learned ways to identify and help others in need to better access justice in Chuuk.”

In Photo:

Front Row left to right: Ms. Jayleen Irons - Intern, FSM Supreme Court; Ms. Richella Dois - Intern, FSM Supreme Court; Ms. Joanne Nakamura - Assistant Chief Clerk of Court, Chuuk State Supreme Court; Ms. Achipen Martinez - Legal Assistant, Department of Justice; Ms. Lucille Sain - Pacific Youth Board Member & PREL; Ms. Atrina Mori Soichy - Secretary to Justice, FSM Supreme Court; Ms. Emeliena J. Musrasrik- Carl - Director of Court Administration, FSM Supreme Court; Ms. Gina Nowell - Secretary Court Reporter - FSM Supreme Court; Mr. Lorenz Metzner - Team Leader, PJSI

Back Row left to right: Mr. Daniel Rescue Jr - General Counsel, FSM Supreme Court; Mr. J.K. Kaminaga - Prosecutor, Office of the Attorney General-Chuuk State; Ms. Masiko Ann Sipenuk - Chief Clerk of Court, Chuuk State Supreme Court; Mr. Samuel Bisalen - Chief of Operation - Department of Public Safety, Chuuk; Mr. Isauo Kuena - Director of Court Administration - Chuuk State Supreme Court; Mr. Xavier Maras - Administrative Officer, Department of Public Safety, Chuuk; Mr. Christopher Estaquio - Executive Director, Chuuk Chamber of Commerce

Not shown: Ms. Sherry-Jane Edmond - Prosecutor, Office of the Attorney General, Chuuk State; and Mr. Mori-M Mori - President, Chuuk Youth Council  

Fahrenheit Tugboat Joyce Mclure photo creditYapStateGov

News Release

On Monday, July 30, 2018, a tugboat entered the harbor off Colonia; it was identified as the “Mtug OCEAN SUPPORT”, a vessel owned by Fahrenheit Co. Ltd. that was intended to tug along the MV Forever Lucky and cargo meant for the 2018 Micronesian Games. Upon arrival, the vessel was denied by immigration and quarantine authorities, citing lack of an entry permit.

The tugboat has been quarantined at the eastern end of the port, with its 16 Philippine nationals charged with immigration violations. The FSM National Police has signed an affidavit in support of the injunction served to the vessel’s captain and Fahrenheit’s representatives. It appeared that the National Police officer who signed the affidavit was not familiar with the content of the affidavit.

On Wednesday, August 1, the Governor communicated to the FSM President of the issue, requesting assistance in providing clearance for the vessel. The letter also thanked the FSM National Government for contributing to the successful hosting of the 2018 MicroGames in Yap.

In the letter, Governor shared that while an entry permit was issued for the Forever Lucky on June 9, one was never issued for her tugboat. The Forever Lucky was eventually released by the Philippine authorities, but was too late to arrive in Yap for the Games. As for the tugboat, state authorities did submit the necessary documents requesting for an entry permit from FSM Immigration & Labor on July 9, with a follow-up communication on July 23. But an entry permit was never issued, or any denial of an entry permit communicated. These communications were forwarded to the Secretary of Justice on August 2, 2018 in response to the Secretary’s e-mail that there was no communication to his Immigration staff regarding the tugboat. In response to this e-mail, the Secretary stated that he would verify this with his staff and respond as soon as possible; but to date, the State has not received any further response. The tugboat left the Philippines late and arrived late on July 30 due to inclement weather, bringing freezer container cargo and other donated goods meant for the MicroGames.

According to the Yap State Department of Resources & Development, Fahrenheit was issued a Foreign Investment Permit in May of this year; allegations of illegal business were false. It was also shared that while the Forever Lucky was detained in the Philippines on allegations of human trafficking, human smuggling and illegal documentation, ultimately there were no formal or informal warrant or complaint against Fahrenheit and the Forever Lucky by Philippine authorities, as falsely reported by some members of the press.

Currently, the tugboat’s crew are not permitted by FSM Immigration to disembark the vessel. Additionally, the shipping agent and state officials are not allowed to board the vessel. The Governor in his letter urged the President to assist in the matter for “humanitarian reasons as well as our future urge for foreign investment”.

“We request that the owner and crew of the vessels must not be penalized for going out of their way to assist with the Micro Games despite the given extenuating circumstances,” read the letter. “We know that it is not their intention to violate any national or state laws but perhaps due to miscommunication between the State and National Government relevant offices.”

The letter further stated that the State will continue to collaborate with the FSM National Government on the clearance of the vessel and its cargo in accordance with FSM laws and regulations, “as we did before the games”.

The Yap State Government has not been part of any media releases being published lately in various media platforms, as it continues to identify with the National Government certain oversights that may have directly or indirectly contributed to the overall misunderstanding. The State Government is in the process of affording appropriate actions toward the release of unverified information and claims that are promoting falsified and compromising information to the general public.

Further information and clarifications may be requested from the Governor’s key staff on the matter: Director of Resources & Development James G. Lukan and Director of Youth & Civic Affairs Francis Itimai, at email addresses itimaifrancis@yahoo. com and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., respectively. R&D and DY&CA may also be contacted at +(691)350- 2182 or +(691)350-2168.

Habele Students Yap Catholic Graduation May 2018 2Habele

Colonia, Yap- Eighteen students from across Micronesia will enroll in respected private schools this fall with the help of Habele tuition scholarships. Attendance at these schools dramatically increases the likelihood that these children - residents of some of the most remote communities on earth - will complete a K-12 education.

Since 2006, Habele has partnered directly with families, schools, and local stakeholders to ensure that bright, hardworking students have access to the best education possible. These tuition scholarships are funded entirely by individuals with a deep commitment to children in underserved Micronesian communities.

The students, whose families come from isolated islands and atolls throughout Yap and Chuuk States, have been awarded tuition assistance covering 75 percent of the cost of their 2018-19 enrollment. They will be attending top-ranked, independent K-12 schools on the islands of Yap, Chuuk and Pohnpei. Most will live with relatives or sponsors for the length of the school year.

The far-flung islands of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) are renowned for their natural beauty, as well as their strategic location in the crossroads of the Pacific. Extreme isolation and limited natural resources remain a struggle for the nation, despite decades of direct financial aid from the United States government. These huge sums have failed to translate into broad educational access or measurable education success for most Micronesian students. In this void, Habele continues to demonstrate the real impact that comes through targeted investment with local buy-in.

“Habele invests directly in students,” says Matt Coleman, Executive Director of Habele. “We take a lot of pride in watching them thrive academically, then graduate equipped to pursue higher education and give back to their communities.”

In addition to the funding tuition scholarships, Habele provisions public school libraries across the FSM, supports traditional skills instructional programs, and facilitates the only high-school robotics league in the Western and Central Pacific.

Established by former Peace Corps volunteers, Habele is a US-based nonprofit, advancing educational access and accomplishment in Micronesian communities.