By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


March 25, 2020

20200325 DSC03142Palikir, Pohnpei, FSM—This morning representatives of the Pohnpei Japan Club presented a donation of $1000 from the Japanese community in Pohnpei to Dr. Livingstone Taulung, Secretary of Health and Social Affairs.  “Pohnpei Japan Club decided to collect the donations from among Japanese people living in Pohnpei to make their contribution to the FSM’s fight against COVID-19,” said Japanese Ambassador to the FSM, Sobahshima Hidenobu.

In addition to the Ambassador, Koji Akinaga, Pohnpei Japan Club Vice President represented the club and presented the check to FSM Vice President Yosiwo George.  They challenged other groups to do the same. Both the Vice President and Secretary Taulung thanked the members of the club for the gesture.

Ambassador Sobahsima told the Vice President that the Embassy of Japan received the request last month for assistance from the government of the Federated States of Micronesia and has conveyed that request to the government of Japan immediately.  He said that it may take some time before his government makes a decision on that request.  He said that in the meantime Japan decided to contribute 15.5 billion Yen (approximately $143.5 million) to relevant international organizations for their work against COVID-19, including 5.5 billion Yen, or 46 million US dollars to the World Health Organization.

“The amount may be smaller than you have expected,” the Ambassador said of the donation from the Pohnpei Japan Club. “But I hope you could appreciate the gesture of the Japanese community to express their solidarity to the FSM who kindly hosts them during this difficult time in the FSM.  I am proud of this gesture and I am proud of the people who have donated.  I hope that this donation, although not big, will be efficiently utilized for the FSM to fight COVID-19.”

Enginkehlap news

Office of the Governor, Pohnpei State

726452A swearing-in cermony was held on Monday, March 23, 2020 for the new Executive Director of Pohnpei State Housing Authority, Mr. Onlino Lawrence, at the Pohnpei State Housing Authority Office. The ceremony was attended by members of the 10th Pohnpei State Legislature, Kitti traditional leadership, housing authority staff and Public Affairs Office staff.

This was the first government ceremony since the Governor’s issuance of the Public Gathering Advisory and in full compliance, attendees maintained social distancing of 3 to 6 feet. Governor Oliver congratulated the new Executive Director and asked that he and his staff look at new ways to help the people of Pohnpei including asurvey to help determine the housing needs of Pohnpei.

$416,918 Infrastructure Maintenance Funding for Chuuk State

Office of the Assistant Secretary

Insular and International Affairs


WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Douglas W. Domenech announced the release of Compact of Free Association financial assistance to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). These emergency funds will help support and strengthen hospital and quarantine infrastructure in Chuuk State as the FSM works to contain the spread and impacts of the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

 “We have redirected $416,918 in prior-year Compact Infrastructure Maintenance Fund assistance to strengthen FSM’s efforts in preparing for this global pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “At the direction of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, we are moving quickly and decisively to support the FSM, which is critical in these difficult times,” continued Domenech.

“The U.S. and the FSM members of the Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) are in favor of this decision to direct Compact funds towards COVID-19 infrastructure maintenance,” said JEMCO Chairman and Office of Insular Affairs Director Nikolao Pula. “We applaud officials, health care workers, and all at the national and state levels as they work to protect lives in the FSM.”

“The United States and the FSM share a special and unique relationship,” said U.S. Ambassador to the FSM Carmen G. Cantor. “The United States government is committed to working with the FSM to advance their response capabilities to this global pandemic.”

Additional Compact funding requests are being prepared for review by the Office of Insular Affairs as the FSM finalizes its COVID-19 Preparation and Response Plan. The plan will then be submitted to the United States Government to ensure coordination of efforts.

For more information about the work of the Office of Insular Affairs, visit or follow on Twitter @ASIIADomenech.

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 American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin 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.

State of Yap

Department of Youth & Civic Affairs


Colonia, Yap-  Governor Henry Falan of the State of Yap expressed his deep gratitude to FSM President David Panuelo for “all the assistance and support that your Administration has extended to your State of Yap in the midst of this pandemic crisis.” Dated March 26, 2020, the letter followed a meeting via phone conferencing the prior day between the two leaders.

The purpose of the meeting was “to discuss issues concerning Yap State’s needs during this crisis and for us to agree on ways to mutually move forward as a nation inclusive of the other three states.”

The outcomes of the meeting included the agreement for Yap to join its sister states, Chuuk and Pohnpei, in prohibiting the disembarkation of aircraft passengers until further notice. In a press release issued by the president’s office after the meeting, it was also announced that, “while aircraft may continue to arrive in Yap State for the delivery of cargo—and such continued cargo services are encouraged and welcomed—no individual regardless of origin may disembark from aircraft into the FSM States of Yap (as well as Chuuk and Pohnpei).”

Further, it was confirmed by President Panuelo during the meeting that, “in an effort to ensure the continued supply of essential goods and services, the 14-day delay for cargo and tanker vessels prior to entering the Nation is now rescinded. In lieu of the 14-day delay requirement, shipping lines must comply with extra health precaution measures supervised by the FSM State Departments of Health and Port Authorities. Fishing vessels licensed in the FSM and arriving into the Nation’s borders are still subject to their requirements, including 14-day quarantines.”

Governor Falan commended the president for his steadfastness in holding the nation together “in this very difficult time of combating this novel pandemic, most especially for taking the time to communicate with the four governors of the states to ensure that we all are in this combat together and must pull our efforts and resources concertedly.”

During the meeting, President Panuelo offered additional help to Yap State and the other states in setting up their own teleconferencing capability for use during the covid-19 crisis. The governor recommended using his conference room so that the president and the governors can “videoconference regularly” while also allowing the Health Crisis Task Forces in all four states to use the equipment to coordinate their efforts while travel is temporarily on hold.

Following the meeting, Carlson D. Apis, FSM Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Communication & Infrastructure, communicated via email with Leo Falcam Jr., Chief of Staff to President Panuelo, and Francis Itimai, Chief of Staff to Governor Falan, to put the plan in place for the immediate setup of the teleconferencing equipment.

fgfghdfdsawerwrwrOn Wednesday March 26, 2020 Governor Oliver and Lieutenant Governor Perman met with representatives from Pohnpei's banking and lending institutions and the FSM Social Security Administration. Each representative shared their institution's current measures being implemented in response to COVID-19 including limited services, decreased hours and loan deferments. Measures being taken are also in accordance with Pohnpei State’s Public Gathering Advisory issued on March 16, 2020.

Bank of FSM indicated that they will likely be offering a loan deferment program soon. Bank of Guam is already offering loan deferments for up to 3 months, Mesenieng Credit Union is offering a 30 day loan deferment and FSM Development Bank will be offering deferments to businesses and other customers directly affected by the current COVID-19 crisis. The FSM Social Security Administration informed the Governor and representatives that approximately 300 people will be receiving their social security checks on Monday, March 30, 2020. SSA is taking measures to comply with the State’s Public Gathering Advisory including allowing only three people at at time in their office to receive checks, setting up a tent outside and encouraging the elderly to send their authorized representatives to pick up their check. Given that the elderly population and people with co-morbidities are most vulnerable to the virus, the public is asked to please assist in sharing this information as widely as possible to help safeguard our elderly population. Please note: If you are making loan payments by allotment, it is your responsibility to stop the allotment with your employer, not the bank.

fgfghdfdsawerwrwrOn Thursday, March 26, 2020, Mayor of Kolonia Town Government, TH Peterigo paid a visit to Governor Oliver. The purpose of the visit was to align Kolonia Town Government's actions with the state. Governor Oliver gave a brief overview of Pohnpei's COVID-19 response efforts with input from acting Director of Public Safety, Mr. Patrick Carl, Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Heinrick Stevenson and Local Government Liaison, Ms. Suannrita Ladore.

Mayor Jacob expressed his gratitude to the Governor and his staff and informed them that the Kolonia Town Government would be meeting the following day to prepare a contingency plan that is in alignment with the State's COVID-19 response efforts. Governor Oliver thanked the Mayor and Kolonia Town Government for their cooperation and support.

Office of the Assistant Secretary

Insular and International Affairs


WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Douglas W. Domenech announced $858,924 in Technical Assistance Program (TAP) emergency grant funding to the Pacific Island Health Officers Association (PIHOA) to procure GeneXpert testing kits and a machine for the U.S. Pacific territories and freely associated states so that they may now conduct on-island testing during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Funding will be used to purchase newly developed COVID-19 testing kits for American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as well as the freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Funds will also be used to purchase one GeneXpert back-up machine for the region.

“Secretary Bernhardt and I are pleased to support the purchase of testing materials and the machine in facilitating island health officials to conduct on-site testing for COVID-19 cases during this pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “Travel restrictions imposed to protect island communities from COVID-19 have delayed and restricted options for centralized lab testing services, but recent Emergency Use Authorization announcements made by President Trump and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have opened other opportunities for on-site testing. This is critical for island area health officials as they work to protect their communities,” concluded Domenech.

The PIHOA has confirmed that all health departments in the Pacific territories and the freely associated states currently have the testing equipment, lab infrastructure, skills, and practical knowledge base to set up and run localized COVID-19 testing using the GeneXpert platform as they currently run similar tests on the same platform for other diseases, such as tuberculosis. PIHOA is working with regional and local health authorities to assess needs and will conduct a regional bulk procurement of newly developed COVID-19 testing kits and a back-up GeneXpert machine for the island areas.

JICA Micronesia

JAA Activity 2020 2The Pohnpei Chapter of the JICA Alumnae Association hosted another Waste Survey for Educational Talent Search Program seniors on February 8, 2020 at the Pohnpei Campus grounds from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. The activity brought together approximately 80 participants (students, JICA Volunteers, JICA Representatives, JAA Officers, and TSP Representatives) to take part in a waste collection activity that started from Pohnpei Campus entrance to around the campus and on to Kolonia Elementary School grounds, Taini road, Small Business grounds, Pohnpei State Government grounds, and back to the Pohnpei Campus grounds.

Mr. Shinji Shibata, Resident Representative of the JICA Micronesia Office welcomed everyone and expressed his support to the JAA-Pohnpei Chapter and the students, and encouraged everyone to take heed of waste. Likewise, the Director of the Talent Search Program, Mrs. Rita Hadley thanked everyone for coming and for the opportunity to engage students in the work to keep Pohnpei beautiful. Furthermore, Mrs. Masako Johnny-Boy, President of the Pohnpei Chapter of the JICA ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION thanked everyone for coming and added that the activity was made possible to promote cleanliness and cooperation among participants. The participants were divided into several groups and were led by a guide who handed out protective gloves, trash bags and a t-shirt with a JAA logo on it. After the collection of the various types of wastes, participants placed their trash bags on the ground and were engaged in a segregation activity. Participants separated what they collected and counted each type before weighing them in kg.  A total of 60 trash bags were utilized, and out of that number 3 were analyzed for demonstration. JAA Officer Mr. Francisco Celestine conducted a presentation on the purpose of the survey in relation to segregation and proper disposal.

13123131213232132132On March 19, 2020, the signing ceremony for the Project for Construction of New Recycling Center, Pohnpei State was held at the Embassy of Japan to provide Environmental Protection Agency, Pohnpei State with the funds up to US$87,609 under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects by the Government of Japan.

This project will construct a new recycling center for efficient recycling activities, contributing to improved traffic and hygiene environment in Pohnpei State. The new recycling center will be able to collect and pressure 4 million additional cans compared to the current recycling center.

At the ceremony, the Hon. Feliciano Perman, Lieutenant Governor of Pohnpei State expressed his gratitude to Japan for its continues support for the people of Pohnpei.

Ambassador Sobashima Hidenobu stated that Japan decided to finance the construction of a new recycling center, as the current recycling center was not collecting a large number of cans properly, causing traffic and environmental problems and hoped that the new recycling center would improve the traffic and environmental problems and nurture the culture against littering.5 Group photo of the participants 2

Mr. Henry Susana, Executive Officer of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressed his appreciation for the cooperation from the Embassy of Japan and a JICA volunteer and looked forward to the completion of the project.

The ceremony was also attended by Mr. Stuart Penias, Secretary Board of Directors of EPA, Ms. Shirley Ligohr, Overseas Development Assistance, Mr. Patrick Pedrus, Public Information Officer, Mr. Brad Soram, Specialist, EPA, and Mr. Josep Victor, Specialist, EPA, ; all from Pohnpei State Government, as well as Mr. Okiguchi Ryota, JICA Volunteer and members of the Embassy of Japan in the FSM.

An opinion by Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


March 31, 2020

Capture2Pohnpei—Due to the insidious threat of COVID-19 that has engulfed the world, official Pohnpei and FSM Cultural Day events were canceled this year.  While it is vital that we all remain safe as the threat looms over the nation, one can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia at what was temporarily lost.

All too many people seem not to be taking the threat seriously and are stridently continuing to gather in large groups such as at church services, sakau markets, and in other places. With school canceled, many students are still assembling in large groups of their friends, roaming from place to place. People are still sharing betel nut and are still spitting in the streets. But it is vital to everyone that we ALL realize the seriousness of the threat and take directed precautions such as diligent hand washing. You may be young and healthy and you may think that you are invulnerable but not all of us are. To date 69,309 people have died from this terrible virus. Nearly 1.3 million people have been diagnosed with a certainty as having the disease but no one knows how many millions of people have either not yet showed symptoms who will eventually get the disease or who are carriers who will never display symptoms.

We just don’t know, and perhaps, the not knowing is the scariest part of all. I have seen written opinions saying that we are perfectly safe since the government has shut down the borders.  But we can’t know that and to assume that is true is to throw caution to the wind like so much confetti.

If you don’t care about yourself, please show care for the other people on your island by heeding what is for now only a strong recommendation from the government rather than a directive. Don’t count on someone else. Do it yourself. There may yet come a day when the government will be forced to lock down by directive.

There WILL come a day when we can once again gather together, and that will be a joyful day.  For now, we have our memories and anticipation of things that will one day come again.  Meanwhile, enjoy some photos of happier days and smile.Capture1

US$30.8 million project will provide access for FSM to world-class broadband and digital services

The World Bank


WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2020 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$30.8 million grant to improve the digital connectivity of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

The Digital Federated States of Micronesia project will support the rollout of terrestrial fiber infrastructure, connect outer islands to basic broadband services, establish the critical foundations for digital government services, and strengthen the legal and regulatory enabling environment for the digital economy to thrive in FSM.

One of the most remote and geographically-dispersed countries in the world, FSM is highly dependent on digital technologies to connect people across its 600 islands, which are scattered over 2.6 million square kilometers of ocean. To date, there has been no competition in the country’s telecommunications sector, and internet and mobile data prices remain high, services constrained and options available to users limited. The mobile penetration rate – of 21 percent – is the lowest in the Pacific region.  

However, FSM’s National Government has recognized that reliable and cost-effective digital connectivity services are essential to deliver public services and create new income-generating opportunities for the country’s 112,000 citizens. At least 41 percent of FSM’s population struggles to meet basic needs and 10 percent live below the food poverty line. Digital connectivity is especially important for people living on outer islands where reliable communications and remote access to essential services is a critical lifeline.

The Hon. Eugene Amor, Secretary of the FSM Department of Finance & Administration, reinforced the nation’s commitment to telecommunication sector reform. “The FSM is deeply excited about this opportunity and we look forward to inviting operators to be part of the movement that the FSM is doing, and that is to get our citizens connected to the rest of the world.”

“Reliable and secure digital services are vital for everyday life in FSM – particularly for extremely vulnerable communities on the outer islands before, during and after disasters,” said Michel Kerf, Country Director for the World Bank in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. “We know that typhoons are happening with increasing frequency and intensity due to the changing climate. We are seeing movements across the world restricted in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. These developments show just how critical digital connectivity is for FSM and the wider Pacific region.”

The Digital Federated States of Micronesia project builds on the existing World Bank FSM Connectivity Project that financed submarine fiber optic cable systems for FSM’s Yap State (mid-2018), Chuuk State (mid-2019) and the East Micronesia Cable system, which will connect Kosrae State, Kiribati and Nauru by mid-2021. The project will ensure fiber optic cabling is rolled out nationwide, delivering access to world-class broadband for the people of FSM. For the first time, remote outer islands communities will also be connected to basic broadband services using wireless technology.

“The true beneficiaries of this project will be the people of the FSM,” said the Hon. Carlson Apis, Secretary of the FSM Department of Transportation, Communication & Infrastructure. “As cheaper, faster, and more reliable internet will connect them to global resources that will significantly improve public services such as health and education.”

However, the project is not just about infrastructure. It also includes support for legal and regulatory reforms that will bolster the rollout of digital government services and help to build trust in the digital economy. New policies will also be developed to ensure women can better access, engage and benefit from digital connectivity opportunities, and that online safety – particularly for women and underage girls – is given priority. Other priority focus areas will include data protection, privacy, cybercrime, cybersecurity and the regulation of harmful digital communications.

The Digital Federated States of Micronesia project is funded through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the world’s most in-need countries. The World Bank works in partnership with 12 countries across the Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea, supporting 83 projects totaling US$1.8 billion in commitments in sectors including agriculture, aviation and transport, climate resilience and adaptation, economic policy, education and employment, energy, fisheries, health, rural development, telecommunications and tourism.

30Pohnpei Port Authority (PPA) congratulate four of its management staffs Mr. Zorro Donre, Human Resources Manager, Mr. Baron Mendiola, Seaport Manager Mr. Bronson Sam FM&ID Manager and Mr. Jayson Ringlen, Chief of Airport Operation for successfully completing the Safety Management System (SMS) training workshop under the auspices of the esteemed Airports Council International (ACI) Global Training Program.

After numerous conversations to bring critical training for aerodrome professionals closer to our region and to make travel to and from training venues less expensive for all our airports, Guam International Airport Authority or GIAA established the Micronesia Aerodrome Regional Training Center (MARTC) last October to serve as a training venue here in Micronesian region. GIAA committed to host four (4) ACI courses in safety management in 2020. The first training held January was for executive managers and the three (3) subsequent courses were slated for technical staff to participate.

The ACI Global Safety Network (GSN) Diploma Program is a six (6) certificate program designed to provide participants with a broad and detailed understanding of safety in all areas of airport operations to meet the needs of airside operators and safety managers in developing, implementing and operating effective Safety Management Systems (SMS) in line with standards from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

GIAA welcomed 6 staff from two off-island airports; four (4) from Pohnpei Port Authority and (2) from Palau International Airport awho joined 12 GIAA staff for the five-day intense training course.

Embassy of the United States of America Kolonia

jjkbnbkjIn response to the ongoing COVID-19 preparations in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the U.S. Navy is assisting in the construction of a quarantine facility in Pohnpei, which includes the installation of shower stalls, doors and windows. The facility will serve as a quarantine station, if needed for COVID-19 related cases.

In the state of Yap, The Seabees from the Naval Mobile Construction Five (NMCB5) are anticipating construction of 13 handwashing stations throughout the island. Lt. Bradford Garrigues described the enduring presence of the U.S. Seabees, who first arrived in 1969: “Over the last ten years, Seabees have only deployed for short visits and projects. But the people of Yap have a long memory and are quick to tell us stories of projects and community events that took place decades ago when they were children. Today, we are reestablishing a presence with our FSM partners in a way not seen since the 1990's. It is very exciting to play such a key role in establishing Detail Yap and continuing the Seabees-in-Yap story.”

Currently, NMCB5 is also building a library/computer lab at the Sokehs Pah Elementary School. This building will serve 140 students from kindergarten to eighth grade. "The best part has been working around and getting to know the students of Sokehs Pah Elementary School. Every day when we pull in, we're welcomed with smiles and friendly waves. The community has been extremely welcoming of us and everyone we interact with is happy to see what this once-old school building is becoming with our help," said Builder Second Class Petty Officer (BU2) Christian Carlson, NMCB5 Crew Leader.

In addition to the Sokehs Pah Elementary School library/computer lab, NMCB5 is also constructing handwashing stations throughout Pohnpei. This project is in partnership with UNICEF, International Organization for Migration IOM), Pohnpei Environmental Protection Agency, Pohnpei Department of Health, Pohnpei Department of Education, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). "Nothing that I have ever done in my life compares jhjkto this deployment in Pohnpei. My hometown near Chicago is thousands of miles away, and I've been away from home for a long time now. But the people and communities of U, Kitti, and Sokehs have made me feel like I'm back home working in my cousins' back yards.

It's been a wonderful experience to work supporting kids looking to grow up and become leaders in these same communities, as well as the rest of the world. It's also just great fun, and Pohnpei is a beautiful place to be” said Officer in Charge Lt. Brian Wood, NMCB5.

The U.S. Navy is deployed across the Indo-Pacific region, conducting high-quality construction projects, in order to bolster U.S. and FSM bilateral relations, deter foreign aggression, and enable expeditionary logistics and naval power projection.

165The Maritime Surveillance Adviser to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), LCDR David Perry RAN took time out from his visit schedule to the State of Yap to celebrate the Royal Australian Navy’s 119th birthday on 01 March. The crew of FSS Palikir, LCDR Paulino Yangitesmal, US Defence Attaché to FSM, LTCOL Erin Richter as well as members of the US Navy Seabee Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 were in attendance for the birthday celebration held at the National Police base wharf in Yap.

Crew from the United States Coast Guard Cutter Kiska were also planning to attend but the vessel was required to depart early to commence SAR activities for a local fisherman and his son reported missing off Chuuk. On completion of the birthday celebrations FSS Palikir also departed for SAR duties off Chuuk.

Whilst in Yap LCDR Perry met with the LT Governor, HON Jesse Salalu and the assembled Legislature to provide a brief on the Pacific Maritime Security Program as well as details of the two new Guardian class Patrol Boats that will be gifted to FSM in 2022. Briefs were also provided to the traditional Chiefs of Yap during meetings with the Council of Tamol (Yap Outer Island traditional Chiefs) and the Council of Pilung (Yap outer islands traditional Chiefs).

On completion of the formal meetings LCDR Perry joined the Governor, LT Governor, Traditional Chiefs and other dignitaries at the traditional Yap Day celebrations. This celebration is held annually on the 1st of March and is recognised as one of the worlds leading traditional cultural festivals.

FSM Information Services

Message from the President

My fellow Micronesians,

Mogethin, Ran annim, Len wo, and Kaselehlie.

As I near the end of my 14-day quarantine period and reflect upon today being the two-month anniversary of our original Public Health Emergency Declaration on January 31st, and as our Nation witnesses ever-changing daily norms at home and abroad, it strikes me as appropriate that we review where our canoe is today and where we imagine our canoe might be going in the near future over  the course of these challenging times during this COVID-19 coronavirus Pandemic.

Let us firstly review our accomplishments immediately followed by our intentions, for the former  are many and the latter are plentiful still. As of today, March 31st 2020, the Federated States of Micronesia remains COVID-19 free. Nor do we have any Persons Under Investigation at present. This is at least partly the result of dedicated stewardship across all levels of our society, from the Executive and Legislative Branches of the National Government to the respective State Governments and even at the municipal level. In particular, our Department of Health & Social Affairs and the FSM COVID-19 Task Force, along with the respective State Departments of Health

& State COVID-19 Task Forces, have shown exemplary professionalism and a patriotic sense of duty in carrying out their solemn mission to protect the health and wellbeing of our Nation’s citizens and residents.

Our collective Task Forces have been working in coordination and around the clock to ensure our Nation’s safety. In the coming weeks, I look forward to illuminating you all on what this looks like in terms of financial support from our friends, allies, and development partners. In the meantime, I have consented to our States’ requests to largely prohibit the disembarkation of aircraft passengers from international commercial carriers until additional quarantine facilities and isolation facilities are adequately developed.

Further, I am proud to tell you that I have very reliable information that in the coming weeks our Nation will acquire the capacity to test for COVID-19 within our Nation’s borders. I have demanded this, and we are committed to taking every action necessary to ensure its occurrence.

I recognize and appreciate that there are some who would seek to criticize the efforts of our travel restriction and quarantine processes. I would suggest to those critics to be mindful that every expert was once a beginner, and that if we measure success as the prevention of COVID-19 in reaching our shores, and the development of contingency plans for its arrival, that we have met, and continue to meet, these metrics. Pessimism, like misery, is fond of company—but it wins no friends just as it wins no battles. Our collective leadership across the Nation is committed to winning this battle against COVID-19 for you, your family, and your country. But we cannot do it alone: we need you to join us.

Your Government, far from being a single entity that is separate from you, is all around you—for  we are you, just as you are us. We are your brothers, your sisters, and your neighbors. So too, then, do we need you just as you need us. I call upon your continued participation in endeavors such as social distancing and superior hygiene practices to ensure our Nation’s long-term success against the COVID-19 Pandemic. Wash your hands; avoid large social gatherings; and, above all, maintain your Micronesian sense of empathy and compassion for your fellows. You are I as I am you. To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do.

by H.E. Huang Zheng, Chinese Ambassador to the FSM

The COVID-19 outbreak poses both a great threat to the life and health of the Chinese people and people around the world, as well as a formidable challenge to global public health security. In the face of this major test,with the personal commitment of Chinese President Xi Jinping and strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee,the Chinese people have put up a tenacious fight against the outbreak,which have resulted in a growing positive momentum in epidemic control across the country.

Together with the rest of the global community, the FSM Government and people and many overseas Chinese have made important contributions to the efforts in China in fighting the virus, to whom we’d like to extend our sincerest gratitude. Nowadays, there are no newly reported local cases in China, which vividly showcases the institutional strength of socialism with Chinese characteristics in pooling resources for major undertakings. Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO,noted that China is setting a new standard for global public health security response. However, global situation deteriorates rapidly,with outbreaks simultaneously spotted in various countries and cities. The pandemic is even approaching Pacific island countries including the FSM, which is indeed worrying. At the moment, the global community needs to hurry up in carrying out international cooperation and conforming a strong synergy in combating the pandemic.

China has always been upholding the vision of building a community with a shared future for humanity initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping. We attached high importance to international health cooperation from the very beginning and China’s efforts have bought precious time and earned important experience for the whole world. In responding to its domestic outbreak, China has provided timely updates on the epidemic in a spirit of openness, transparency and accountability. We shared the genetic sequencing of the virus, worked closely with the WHO, neighboring countries and other countries concerned, and invited international experts to join this fight. Now, the Knowledge Center for China's Experiences in response to COVID-19 (website: is officially online. All countries are welcome to share China’s experiences.

China will continue to expand cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels against the epidemic and keep up good communication with the WHO. We will explore transnational epidemic prevention and control by China and countries concerned by better coordinating competent departments responsible for health, quarantine, transportation and border control, promptly sharing epidemic updates, containment measures and research findings, and intensifying joint R&D of antiviral drugs and vaccines. China has donated 20 million US dollars to the WHO, in support of its global action in fighting the virus. China will also assist countries and regions undergoing a spread of infections as much as we can and live up to our role as a responsible major country.

The history of human civilization is a history of fighting diseases. COVID-19 is yet another sobering reminder that in this age of globalization, the future of countries are closely connected and building a community with a shared future for humanity is the right way to go. No country can spare itself from the global community in the face of major infectious diseases among other non-traditional security challenges. We must join hands in promoting global public health governance. China will put into practice its concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and respond to global public health challenges together with the international community collectively. Meanwhile, China firmly opposes any conduct of politicization or stigmatization of diseases. China supports the central role of the UN and WHO in responding to health emergencies and in improving the global public health governance system, where public health issues should be moved up on the international agenda, major international health projects be implemented, and a Silk Road of Health be taken forward.

Building a community with a shared future for humanity is the core of Xi Jinping Thoughts on Diplomacy, which has become a major guidance to China’s major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics,and been written into several UN resolutions. This vision is winning growing support from a large number of countries and is gradually becoming a global consensus shared by the international community. In response to this pandemic, the Chinese people have made important contributions to the world public health security with its own efforts and sacrifice, which depicts a vivid image of building a community with a shared future for humanity.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized, those communicating with hearts, their friendships last. In response to the ongoing global COVID-19 spread, China will neither flinch nor stand aside. Severe as the situation may be, confidence is most valuable; tough as the job may seem, hope lies ahead. The Chinese people will stand, unite, and communicate with hearts with the people of the FSM, on the basis of One China principle, mutual respect and common development. By standing together, we will surely seek greatness from difficulties, continue to deepen China-FSM Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and our Great Friendship and win the final success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic together.

1 April 2020

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today announced $1.53 million in grants from its Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund to help finance the response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Marshall Islands, Nauru, and Tuvalu.

The countries will receive the following grant amounts, which will enable them to kickstart their disaster response plans: $470,000 for FSM; $370,000 for the Marshall Islands; $320,000 for Nauru; and $370,000 for Tuvalu.

A state of emergency was declared in each of these countries—on 7 February in the Marshall Islands, on 14 March in FSM, on 16 March in Nauru, and on 20 March in Tuvalu. The scale of the emergency declared in each country is beyond the capacity of each government and health sector to meet the immediate expenses needed for adequate public health services.

“ADB will leverage off the good working relationships with the Ministries of Health and development partners in these countries to help address their immediate needs and coordinate the emergency response,” said ADB Health Specialist for the Pacific Ki Fung Kelvin Lam. “ADB will ensure these grants are swiftly disbursed to allow each country to respond as quickly as possible to their emergency situations.”

ADB’s support will help alleviate the immediate financial, logistical, and other constraints to meet each country’s immediate response needs and deliver appropriate medical services where required. Recognizing the unpredictable nature of the situation and complementing the donations of supplies by other partners, flexibility is required in the design of any support, along with close coordination with supporting partners, including the Government of Australia, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The $1.53 million in grants is separate from the $6.5 billion aid package for Asia and the Pacific that ADB announced on 18 March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. ADB is engaging in discussions with all its developing member countries, including those in the Pacific, on how best to utilize this funding. Visit ADB’s website to learn more about our ongoing response.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

On March 3, 2020, a handover ceremony was held at Rumuu Elementary School of the Grant Assistance for Grass-roots Human Security Projects, by the Government of Japan for the Project for Improving School Environment for Rumuu Elementary School in Yap State amounting to up to US$80,320.

The objectives of this project are to build security fences to protect the school’s safety from nighttime and weekend intruders and vandalism and to build a drainage system to provide clean sanitary conditions and help prevent the spread of infectious diseases, and thus to create a safe, secure and healthy education environment.

The ceremony attended by Ambassador Sobashima Hidenobu and Ms. Kobayashi Rikako, Grassroots Grant Coordinator from the Japanese side, was also attended by the Hon. Henry S. Falan, Governor and the Hon. Jesse J. Salalu, Lieutenant Governor of Yap State, Mr.Francis Itamai, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Arnold Yokbay Ken, Waab Area School Administrator, and Mr. Peter Deffmew, Infrastructure Coordinator, both from the Department of Education, Ms. Lydia Kadugyed, Head Teacher of Rumuu Elementary School, Ms.Nozaki Haruka, JICA volunteer and other teaching staff and students of Rumuu Elementary School.

At the ceremony, Governor Falan, expressed deep appreciation for the continuous support from the Government of Japan to Yap State in various fields, and told the students about the importance of having a pride and of keeping the school clean and free of graffiti and other damages.

Ambassador Sobashima stated that the completed security fences and the drainage facilities at Rumuu Elementary School improved the environment to provide a safe, secure and healthy education and hoped that the improved Rumuu Elementary School would develop to become a symbol of the friendship between Japan and the FSM.

Following the speeches, the students of Rumuu Elementary School sang a Japanese song in English,Japanese and Yapese. The ceremony was concluded by the ribbon cutting by Ambassador Sobashima, Governor Falan, and Lieutenant Governor Salalu.

5 Group photo of the participants 2On March 18, 2020, the signing ceremony for the Project for Procuring Woodchipper in the Awak Community, Pohnpei State was held at the Embassy of Japan to provide Micronesia Conservation Trust with the funds up to US$ 72,923 under the Grant Assistance for Grass roots Human Security Projects by the Government of Japan.

This project will provide a woodchipper and a small truck, and renovate the storage facility to ensure sufficient and consistent supply of woodchips to the farmers along the Awak River in U Municipality in order for them to operate their Dry Litter Piggery System appropriately, and to keep the Awak River and surrounding areas clean and safe and avoid the spread of infectious diseases which may be caused by excreta of pigs, contributing to the health of the people there.

The Dry Litter Piggery System is a method which can prevent contamination of drinking and washing water by excreta of pigs, and produce inexpensive manures by mixing excreta of pigs with woodchips sterilized in the mixing process.

 At the ceremony, Mr. William Kostka, Executive Director of Micronesia Conservation Trust expressed his gratitude for the assistance from the Government of Japan, and stated that this project would ensure a clean and safe environment for the Awak Community.

Ambassador Sobashima Hidenobu stated that this project would benefit about 900 people living along the Awak River, and about 50 farmers who would receive the woodchips, and their family members, as they would avoid hygine and health problems, and hoped that the project would proceed smoothly to contribute to the sustainable economic and social development of U Municipality, Pohnpei State, as well as the FSM.

The ceremony was attended by Mr. William Kostka, Executive Director of Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), Mr. Pakardy Ramirez, Vice President, and Mr. Loatis Seneres, Secretary and Treasurer, both from Awak Farmer’s Association (AFA), Mr. Santiago Joab, Jr., Livelihoods Program Manager of MCT, Ms. Shirley Ann Pelep, Ms. Jo Lynne Mori, Senior Grants Officer of MCT, Ms. Elino Ramirez, Member of AFA, as well as  members of the Embassy of Japan in the FSM.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


April 3, 2020

20141129 MG 5126Federated States of Micronesia—FSM President David Panuelo today decreed new actions aimed at lowering the risk of introduction of COVID-19 to the FSM by fishing activities conducted within the FSM’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).  The decree specifies new temporary rules for transshipment of fish by commercial fishing vessels.

The decree additionally bans the public from approaching any commercial fishing vessel. It prohibits both the public and commercial fishers from bartering for, trading, or locally selling fish caught on commercial fishing vessels.  The press release on the decree points out that any person who violates the decree, whether they are a commercial fisherman or a local resident is subject to the penalties of Title 11, Chapter 8, Section 803.  That section says, “Any person who, during a state of emergency, fails to comply with restrictions imposed by proclamation of the President under section 802 of this chapter (emergency declarations) commits a crime, and upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than five years.”

For a reason that is not explained in the decree, purse seine vessels will still be allowed to transship in Kosrae. Nothing precludes FSM flagged vessels from also transshipping in Kosrae but if they did so, they would also still have to return to their Pohnpei bases for supplies.  All other transshipment will be required under yet to be released regulations by NORMA (National Oceanic Resource Management Agency) to transship their fish for market at sea in a designated area in territorial waters beyond the three nautical miles from baselines.

Longline fishing vessels are still allowed to come to port for transshipment purposes subject to additional measures established by NORMA for the avoidance of COVID-19 and also only if they follow additional guidelines established in the decree.  Longline vessels that transship at port must have had no contact at any time prior to the transshipment.  They must have observed the 14 days quarantine at sea and no crewmembers will be allowed to disembark at port.  The 14 day quarantine is counted from the date of last contact with other humans.

The decree says that domestic fishing vessels are allowed to call port in the FSM States for repair, maintenance and provisioning purposes but all of that must be accomplished at anchorage areas and not at the docks.  Domestic fishing vessels are vessels that are flagged in the FSM or that have a base of operation anywhere in the FSM States.

For vessels that are required to transship at sea, Immigration and Customs clearance procedures will be conducted electronically.

Vessels are now required to give 72 hours advanced notice of transshipment to the FSM Department of Justice and to NORMA.  Information they must submit in advance must include the body temperatures of each crewmembers taken at 24 hour intervals prior to transshipment.

The crews of FSS Palikir and FSS Independence have completed their participation in the recent Forum Fisheries Agencies Operation RAI BALANG 20. The operation is unprecedented in achieving maritime surveillance across 14.1 million square kilometres, including 108 sighting and 24 boardings, during the heightened global response to coronavirus. 

The FFA coordinated air and surface surveillance assets from eight Pacific Island countries and four regional Defence partners for 12 days from 16-27 March, during which time international response to coronavirus was rapidly developing. 

“Fishing doesn’t stop, so neither will our surveillance,” said Commander Robert Lewis, at the FFA’s Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC) in Honiara.  “Fisheries surveillance in the Pacific is imperative to ensure compliance by the fishing fleets, and deter any illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities.  Fisheries have a direct benefit for Pacific island counties economies, and that makes surveillance even more important in these unprecedented times.”

The participants of Op Rai Balang were eight FFA member states: Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.  This was supported by Quadrilateral defence partners: Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States, and the Pacific Maritime Surveillance Programme aircraft.  Due to developing global travel restrictions and recalls of national surveillance assets, not all surveillance assets were utilised as planned.

Some of the aims of this Operation were:

  1. to detect, deter, report and/or apprehend potential illegal, unregulated or unreported (IUU) fishing activity;
  2. to enhance Pacific Island Countries involvement and participation in maritime fisheries surveillance and response operations; and
  3. to test the Niue Treaty Information System and processes supporting the enactment of specific provisions of the Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement through a planned series of table top exercises embedded within the Operation.

FSS Palikir departed Yap 02 March to conduct a Sea Air Rescue to locate a missing fisherman off Satawal Island, Chuuk State. Aircraft from the USCG in Guam as well as USCG Kiska and merchant vessels were also involved in the search. Unfortunately, the search was called off on 11 March with the missing fisherman unable to be located.

FSS Palikir departed Chuuk 15 March to commence OP RAI BALANG 20 and proceeded to conduct a patrol from Chuuk to Pohnpei, during the course of the patrol which lasted 156 hours the vessel covered 1560 nautical miles and investigated 19 merchant / fishing vessels.

FSS Independence departed Pohnpei 18 March to commence OP RAI BALANG 20 and conducted a patrol along the southern Exclusive Economic Zone towards Yap. Her patrol lasted 133 hours and covered 1337 nautical miles and investigated 4 merchant / fishing vessels.

The Commander of the Maritime Wing, Commander Steward Peter stated “I am very proud of the efforts of my crews to ensure the continued safety and economic viability of the FSM’s Exclusive Economic Zone particularly during the current COVID-19 crisis. We must ensure that foreign vessels understand that we will continue to patrol our waters and enforce our National laws”.

The crews of FSS Palikir and FSS Independence have completed their participation in the recent Forum Fisheries Agencies Operation RAI BALANG 20. The operation is unprecedented in achieving maritime surveillance across 14.1 million square kilometres, including 108 sighting and 24 boardings, during the heightened global response to coronavirus. 

The FFA coordinated air and surface surveillance assets from eight Pacific Island countries and four regional Defence partners for 12 days from 16-27 March, during which time international response to coronavirus was rapidly developing. 

“Fishing doesn’t stop, so neither will our surveillance,” said Commander Robert Lewis, at the FFA’s Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC) in Honiara.  “Fisheries surveillance in the Pacific is imperative to ensure compliance by the fishing fleets, and deter any illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities.  Fisheries have a direct benefit for Pacific island counties economies, and that makes surveillance even more important in these unprecedented times.”

The participants of Op Rai Balang were eight FFA member states: Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.  This was supported by Quadrilateral defence partners: Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States, and the Pacific Maritime Surveillance Programme aircraft.  Due to developing global travel restrictions and recalls of national surveillance assets, not all surveillance assets were utilised as planned.

Some of the aims of this Operation were:

  1. to detect, deter, report and/or apprehend potential illegal, unregulated or unreported (IUU) fishing activity;
  2. to enhance Pacific Island Countries involvement and participation in maritime fisheries surveillance and response operations; and
  3. to test the Niue Treaty Information System and processes supporting the enactment of specific provisions of the Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement through a planned series of table top exercises embedded within the Operation.

FSS Palikir departed Yap 02 March to conduct a Sea Air Rescue to locate a missing fisherman off Satawal Island, Chuuk State. Aircraft from the USCG in Guam as well as USCG Kiska and merchant vessels were also involved in the search. Unfortunately, the search was called off on 11 March with the missing fisherman unable to be located.

FSS Palikir departed Chuuk 15 March to commence OP RAI BALANG 20 and proceeded to conduct a patrol from Chuuk to Pohnpei, during the course of the patrol which lasted 156 hours the vessel covered 1560 nautical miles and investigated 19 merchant / fishing vessels.

FSS Independence departed Pohnpei 18 March to commence OP RAI BALANG 20 and conducted a patrol along the southern Exclusive Economic Zone towards Yap. Her patrol lasted 133 hours and covered 1337 nautical miles and investigated 4 merchant / fishing vessels.

The Commander of the Maritime Wing, Commander Steward Peter stated “I am very proud of the efforts of my crews to ensure the continued safety and economic viability of the FSM’s Exclusive Economic Zone particularly during the current COVID-19 crisis. We must ensure that foreign vessels understand that we will continue to patrol our waters and enforce our National laws”.

Embassy of the

United States of America Kolonia

The U.S. government and Embassy Kolonia continues to work closely with the government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Embassy Kolonia is closely coordinating with U.S. interagency partners including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), USAID, the Department of Interior and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). The U.S. response in the Pacific Island countries is currently prioritizing the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) —with whom we have a uniquely close relationship rooted in the Compacts of Free Association and longstanding public health programs.


Preparedness and Emergency Response:  For many years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has engaged with FSM to develop and continuously refine emergency response plans. Now the lead agency on U.S. COVID-19 response, CDC is in frequent communication with the FSM Department of Health to determine needs and provide guidance and assistance. CDC also leads a weekly call with health care professionals in the U.S. Pacific territories and the FSM. Currently, CDC is collaborating with WHO colleagues and others in the region to help the FSM adapt and apply their existing national response plans for the current COVID-19 threat. CDC is providing technical assistance and developing additional funding options to support established regional mechanisms for infectious disease response.  

Testing:  The United States through CDC is supporting COVID-19 testing for the FSM.  In addition to CDC’s laboratory in Atlanta, Hawaii’s state public health laboratory and the Guam Public Health Laboratory are now available to serve the COVID-19 testing needs of FSM. CDC is currently acting to supply additional test kits to support increased testing demands in Guam.     

Supplemental Funding:  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) received a share of the U.S. government’s recent $8.3 billion supplemental funding package for coronavirus-related research and assistance. The following amounts have been made available to the Pacific territories and FAS to support their response to COVID-19: American Samoa ($370,246.50), Guam ($479,431.80), Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands ($369,765.90), RMI ($367,754.40), FSM ($420,402.60), and Palau ($336,793.50).  

Personal Protective Equipment:  The FSM is eligible to receive allocations of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the strategic national stockpile managed by HHS/Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). 

Donor Coordination: U.S. Embassy Kolonia and U.S. interagency partners are coordinating with like-minded partners including [Australia, New Zealand and Japan], Pacific Islands Health Officers Association (PIHOA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) to address requests for personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, testing, and technical assistance. The U.S. government has provided longstanding public health assistance to the people and government of FSM.  

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Australia.

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic represents a significant challenge for governments and communities across the Pacific. It is a challenge the Australian Government is committed to tackling with our Pacific partners, in the long-term interest of the stability, prosperity and resilience of our region.

                Prime Minister Morrison told G20 leaders on 26 March that the Pacific needed to be a focus of international support. As the world’s economies, large and small, grapple with a pandemic that does not recognise national borders, co-operation will be critical.

                Australia’s response will build on our existing Pacific Step-up, which has strengthened our co-operation in helping to grow economies, build resilience, and enhance regional stability through our defence, policing and border security cooperation. We have never faced a challenge of the scale of COVID-19, but we will combat it together as a Pacific family.

                The top priority for our governments right now is to keep infection rates as low as possible. As have many Pacific nations, Australia has closed its borders to non-citizens and non-residents, and we have banned Australians from travelling overseas. Pacific islanders transiting Australia to return home are exempt from our travel ban. We have also put in place enhanced health screening for passengers flying to the Pacific.

                As a region, we need to enable the movement of a small number of international experts, as well as essential supplies, medicines and food, across the Pacific.  Australia is already taking steps, as a transit country to much of the region, to facilitate a humanitarian and essential services corridor to the Pacific, and Timor-Leste.

                Australia’s high commissions and embassies across the Pacific remain open. We have also worked quickly to ensure essential Australian advisers – in health and frontline services – have been able to stay and continue their work with Pacific governments.

                We have also been strongly engaged with Pacific partners to prepare for, and prevent, the spread of COVID-19, and to manage the broader health and economic impacts. Australia is assisting Pacific Island governments with laboratories, medical equipment, health expertise, public information campaigns and support for national preparedness plans and the World Health Organisation’s regional plan.  Our regional institutions are critical to this response, and we are working closely with the Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific Community.

                In this unprecedented situation, we have moved quickly to reorient our development partnerships to bring forward funding for critical health services and to mitigate the economic shock.

                No country should be alone in this crisis. Nowhere is this more true than in the Pacific. Australia faces its own immediate challenges, but our support for, and partnership with, our Pacific family is essential for our regional health security and our long-term interests.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


March 18, 2020

Pohnpei—On March 13, 2020, the FSM Department of Justice filed criminal charges against three correctional officers of the Pohnpei State Correctional Facility.  M.C. Ioanis, Robert Celestine, and Isabella Sipwoli Primo each face charges of Deprivation of Rights, Official Repression, and Assault against a female inmate at the prison.

On March 13, the FSM Supreme Court in Chuuk sentenced Anreta Fred and her husband Jayson Jappan of Fananu, Chuuk to eight months of probation and 92 months in prison after having been convicted of Human Trafficking, Trafficking in Children, Aggravated Human Trafficking and Conspiracy.  Jappan is serving his prison term in the Kosrae Correctional Facility.  Fred is serving her sentence in Pohnpei.

The charges say that in approximately July 2019, Correctional Officer Ioanis told inmate Fred to give him a massage and that while Fred was massaging him he told Fred to have sex with him. Allegedly Fred initially resisted but eventually complied with Ioanis’ demand for sex.

Officer Celestine is accused of entering Fred’s cell sometime in January while Fred was sleeping and performing oral sex on her.

The charges accuse Primo of repeatedly verbally abusing and threatening Fred, and on at least one occasion assaulting her.  The charges accuse her of removing the sheets, mattress and pillow from Fred, forcing her to sleep on the concrete floor, and refusing to allow Fred to leave her cell on several occasions.

The accused correctional officers have had their initial appearance at the FSM Supreme Court on March 13 and were remanded to the custody of National Police until March 16 at which time the court released them on their own recognizance.  The defendants are not allowed to go “anywhere near the Pohnpei State Jail.  Additionally, if any of the defendants, “at some point, seek to perform a traditional apology ceremony toward the alleged victim, that defendant must first seek, by motion, the court’s permission.”

The parties will have until May 21, 2020 to file pretrial motions and opposing parties will then have until May 31 to respond to a pretrial motion.

The pretrial release said that since it is expected that Chief Justice Dennis K. Yamase will preside of the the case for all matters beyond the initial appearance, hearing dates will be set by later court order.

Associate Justice Larry Wentworth presided over the preliminary hearings.

The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless they are proven to be otherwise after a fair hearing.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


March 19, 2020

FSM—The Fourth Constitution Convention of the FSM (Con Con) has filed a complaint (CA 2020-004) at the FSM Supreme Court against Eugene Amor in his official capacity as the Secretary of Finance and Administration.  The ConCon asks the court to require Amor to authorize payment for daily allowances for two delegates he has so far refused to pay.

The complaint says that according to FSM law, delegates who are not getting paid by the national government or a state government during the session for the Constitutional Convention are entitled to a daily allowance of $200 per day of attendance.  On February 20, Secretary Kapilly Capelle submitted a request to the Secretary of Finance for all eligible delegates of the Con Con to be paid and included Roll Call Attendance sheets as documentation. On February 25 Secretary Amor let Capelle know he would not authorize payment for Chuuk Representatives Kind K. Kanto and Tendy Liwy because they are employees of the College of Micronesia FSM and as such were employees of the National Government.

After Con Con President Redley Killion wrote a letter to FSM President David Panuelo requesting that he instruct his Secretary of Finance to make the payment since FSM law explicitly states that COM-FSM employees are not National Government employees, he received a letter from an FSM Assistant Attorney General saying that COM-FSM employees are in fact employees of the national government.

Both COM-FSM legal counsel and Chief legal counsel to the Con Con sent letters quoting the law to the Assistant Attorney General specifically stating that COM-FSM employees are not FSM National Government employees.

The Con Con is asking the Court make a ruling on the matter declaring that the delegates should be paid.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


March 16, 2020

Palikir, Pohnpei—In a 29 page ruling, the FSM Supreme Court has dismissed the claims of Janet Semes Panuelo against the FSM Government, the FSM Public Information Office, the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs, the FSM Congress, President David Panuelo, and Patricia Edwin.

On December 3, 2019 Semes Panuelo filed a civil action containing several claims related to the use of the term “First Lady” as applied to Patricia Edwin and for the government’s treatment of Edwin as such.  She claimed to be still legally married to President Panuelo, a legal matter that is currently before the Pohnpei Supreme Court.

The court dismissed the claims against all of the government actors including the FSM Congress “with prejudice” which means that those same claims cannot be brought against them again in any court. It generally dismissed the claims against President Panuelo and Patricia Edwin “without prejudice” which means that Semes Panuelo’s claims against them are dismissed at the FSM Supreme Court but the same claims or others can be brought against them in another court.

The court thoroughly explained its ruling based on legal precedence and interpretation of existing law.  It concluded:

“Accordingly, the court dismisses the intentional infliction of emotional distress claims against every defendant because Janet Semes Panuelo’s factual allegations are insufficient for a court to grant any relief thereon. The court dismisses Janet Semes Panuelo’s claims against Congress with prejudice because they present a non-justiciable political question. The court dismisses all causes of action against the government defendants because they do not present claims for which the court can grant relief.  And the court dismisses the tortious interference with a marriage contract [alienation of affections, enticement (causing spouse to separate from other spouse), or criminal conversation], slander claims (and civil conspiracy, if it has survived with slander as the underlying tort) against Patricia Edwin (and David Panuelo) without prejudice to any future state court proceedings thereon.”

So ruling Associate Justice Larry Wentworth ruled the case to be closed.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


March 13, 2020

Pohnpei—On March 13, 2020, the attorney for Ricky Carl notified Speaker Ausen T. Lambert of his intent to file claims for violation of civil and due process rights by the Credentials Committee and the Tenth Pohnpei Legislature.  It says that Pohnpei State will also be considered an additional defendant.

Under Pohnpei State Law, government entities must be given notice of 50 days of any intent to file a claim against them.

The notice says that the claims arose from the Legislature’s refusal to seat him as a member of the 10th Legislature despite a Pohnpei State Supreme court ruling stating that Carl was eligible to run for office, an election that he won.

The notice of claim says that the Credential Committee report misstated facts, failed to mention the civil action that allowed Carl to run and be elected, and contained flawed legal reasoning.  It theorizes that the report would put out without any input or review from legislative counsel, “which may explain the serious constitutional deficiencies in the report.”

“Even though the Legislature is the sole judge of its members, it cannot base decisions on false and inaccurate statements and irresponsible legal analysis,” the letter said.  “To do so is a violation of due process and civil rights.”

“Further, my client asked you directly about these issues. Initially you informed Mr. Carl he would be seated on February 5, 2020. He was not, and you apparently took no steps to assure that he was seated. You additionally ignored letters sent by my client requesting the status of his seating and his request for reconsideration of the Credentials Committee finding,” it says.

The letter says that the matter could still be corrected at this time but that Carl has already incurred substantial damages.  It itemized the damages as:

Loss of wages as a Senator of $25,000 per year.

Campaign expenditures for participating in the special election of $30,000.

Damages for humiliation, slander and libel of $100,000

Damages for violations of civil rights of $50,000

Legal fees for the future civil action and for contesting the original action of $20,000

The letter provides 50 days for response.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


March 19, 2020

Patrick Gorong showing the algae lab and his work to Roseo Marquez of MCT Hawaii—For the last two years, Patrick Gorong of Yap, FSM has worked as a Hatchery Technician as part of the Aquatic Invasive Species – Sea Urchin Hatchery project.  The project which is under the Division of Aquatic Resources of the Department of Land and Natural Resources focuses on the removal of invasive algae that was introduced into Kaneohe Bay.

Gorong said that the project is tackled in two parts.  One is mechanical removal where a field team surveys and removes invasive algae from the reef.  The other is the introduction of sea urchins that are produced in an aquaculture facility and planted in the bay as a biological control.

“At the hatchery our main goal is to produce healthy sea urchins, specifically the Tripneustes gratilla, for out planting into Kaneohe Bay,” he said. “As of about a year ago I became our main algae technician where I focus on culturing phytoplankton for use as feed for the urchins during their planktonic larval phase which usually only takes up the first half of a regular workday for me. The rest of the day I help with regular hatchery routines such as feeding settled urchins, cleaning tanks, and harvesting sea urchins ready for out planting as well as assisting with daily tasks that come with running an aquaculture facility.”  He said he also performs other tasks such as repair, maintenance, and plumbing of tanks, water pipes, air lines, and other tasks.

He said that what he most enjoys about his job is learning about aquaculture from the day to day work that he does at the hatchery from his coworkers and from his boss, David Cohen who has been in the industry for long time.Patrick Gorong with some of his sea urchines

He said that he majored in Marine science in college and so has limited aquaculture understanding but that he is grateful for the experience gained from being part of the project.  While in college he worked with the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center (PACRC) in Hilo, Hawaii as a student technician. There he learned the basics of aquaculture work and gained a general understanding of how an aquaculture facility is operated. He said that he learned concepts such as the importance of air, water quality, and cleanliness as well as gaining experience with PVC plumbing and basic fabrication but he has learned much more since then.

IMG 4880Pohnpei Women Council, Social Affairs Division and many others in Pohnpei celebrated International Women’s Day from March 3 to 14, 2020 bringing together many leaders, men, women and children in participation to such events at different locations and dates, raising more awareness on the issues at hand and critical to our society.  This year’s global theme is “I am Generation Equality; Realizing Women’s Rights.”

Pohnpei Women Council is the umbrella organization to 30 different women’s group in Pohnpei, inclusive of the outer islands with more than 2,000 members of these various women’s groups. 

On March 3rd and 4th, Pohnpei Women Council partnering with different Government Departments and NGO partners held a three day open workshop at the Governor’s Conference Room ending on March 5th at the Pohnpei Hospital Conference Room.  On the first day, March 3rd The Honorable Reed B Oliver, Governor of Pohnpei State, welcomed and congratulated all women in attendance and went on to say that perhaps, such event, workshop to educate the women should be done or held more often than just once a year.  He went on to say that he was happy to see women taking part in the development of Pohnpei state coinciding with his Administrations theme, Enginkehlap. IMG 5093

Pohnpei Women Interest Coordinator lead another session immediately after the Governors’ address and presented on progress of women in Pohnpei and updates from each women’s groups.  On Wednesday, presentations were from various government offices and the FSM National Judiciary on Incorporation and chartering of NGO’s, Access to Justice & Enabling Rights for Unrepresented Litigants, Customs & Revenue Tax and Natural Resources Office.  On the last day, March 5th all the women who participated in the workshop wore black, to commemorate Black Thursday.  Black Thursday is a campaign, first created by the World Council of Churches to stand up to Gender Based Violence.  Black being the color of resilience, it also represents the stand for Peace and Unity.  The Department of Health, Primary Health Care spend the first part of day presenting on Non-Communicable Diseases, Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases/HIV and more on other health matters/issues.  The IStop program and impact of climate change were introduced by the Conservation Society of Pohnpei.  To end the workshop, the participants were fortunate to have members from the Pohnpei delegation on the 4th FSM Constitutional Convention share updates from the ConCon. 

FSM Information Services


1313221313132213121321321321321321123PALIKIR, Pohnpei—Per the National Declaration Placing the Entire Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) under a State of National Public Health Emergency in Connection with the COVID-19 Pandemic, now that both the U.S. State of Hawaii and the U.S. Territory of Guam have confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, visibly healthy travelers originating from Guam and Hawaii with no symptoms may travel into the FSM. All travelers will be subject to mandatory quarantine upon their arrival into the Nation regardless of the FSM State they are arriving to, except for Chuuk State where disembarking is not allowed until March 29th, 2020. Quarantine is mandatory; there are to be no exceptions to this policy in any circumstance.

The 14-day delay in a COVID-19 free jurisdiction no longer applies on the premise that there are no COVID-19 free jurisdictions for FSM citizens to delay in. FSM citizens are discouraged from traveling back home unless absolutely necessary; non-FSM citizens are strongly encouraged to remain abroad until after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.

In the event a conflict emerges between the FSM National and FSM State Declarations and Emergency Orders, the Declaration by His Excellency David W. Panuelo takes precedence. All components of FSM State Declarations and Emergency Orders that do not conflict with the President’s Declaration are to be respected and adhered to in full, such as the FSM State of Pohnpei requiring a medical certificate from a licensed medical professional stating that the traveler is symptom-free.

On his way back to Pohnpei, His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the FSM, called the Honorable Johnson S. Elimo, Governor of the FSM State of Chuuk, regarding Chuuk State’s declaration banning all arrivals until March 29th, 2020. Although the President’s declaration legally supersedes the Governor’s, President Panuelo and Governor Elimo—agreeing that the safety and security of the people of Chuuk is paramount, and that the finalization on the establishment of quarantine facilities is necessary—agreed that no passengers will be allowed to deplane in Chuuk given the lack of sufficient quarantine facilities. After March 29th, 2020, any traveler to Chuuk will require a 14-day stay in a designated quarantine facility.

Travel to the FSM State of Pohnpei, per a March 19th amendment to Pohnpei’s Constitutional Emergency Order 20-01, is only allowed for “Pohnpei residents”, which “include noncitizens who are employed by the Pohnpei State Government, the FSM National Government, diplomatic corps, businesses, international agencies and nonprofit organizations” as well as “medical and technical personnel to assist with COVID-19, at the request of Pohnpei State.” This also includes any medical or technical personnel requests by the FSM National Government.

President Panuelo, in a phone call with the Honorable Reed B. Oliver, Governor of Pohnpei State, advised that the FSM National Government is willing to look past jurisdictional issues and adapt to a

rapidly evolving scenario to work with the Nation’s States as the FSM endeavors to protect its citizens and residents.

Non-FSM citizens remain discouraged from traveling to the FSM at this time. Travel to the FSM State of Chuuk is banned. Travel to the FSM State of Pohnpei, per a March 19th amendment to Pohnpei’s Constitutional Emergency Order 20-01, is only allowed for Pohnpei State residents, with exceptions for medical capacity-building and technical personnel the state or Nation requests. Every traveler to the FSM at this time is subject to mandatory quarantine.

IMG 2754On March 7, 2020, the College of Micronesia-FSM traditional canoe was launched for the very first time to help promote the upcoming Traditional Navigation Program scheduled to start on June 1, 2020 at FSM-FMI in Yap in collaboration with Okeanos Foundation.   The canoe sailed from the causeway leading to the airport to Nihco Marine Park where the Yapese Community of Pohnpei celebrated Yap Day and sailed around for all to see. The wind was very good for sailing that day so it took the canoe about two hours to get to Nihco Beach. The next day, the students sailed the canoe back to the causeway and transported the canoe back to the National Campus Weriyeng Canoe House. This was a historic event for the people of Pohnpei to watch a canoe of that size sailing around its coast.

The college is promoting alternative sustainable water transportation for the future of the people of FSM. We hope canoe builders from Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Chuuk can come forward to build canoes to revive our traditional knowledge, not only traditional navigation but also canoe building or craftsmanship. 

The college in collaboration with Okeanos Foundation is recruiting ten students for the upcoming Traditional Navigation Program “Traditional Navigation and applied Seamanship on offshore sailing canoes”. This program will be held on the FSM-FMI campus in Yap and students will finish the first level in one year. Interested students must be citizens of FSM, high school graduates, and healthy individuals. The program will be taught by Grand Master Navigator Ali Haleyalur of the Weriyeng School of Navigation, one of the last two schools of traditional navigation. Weriyeng means “Seen/see winds”, indicating that the canoe can catch all winds or can catch wind from all directions.  The applied Seamanship part of the program will be taught by Okeanos Grand Master Navigator Peia Patai.

Anyone interested in joining the traditional navigation program should contact one of the following:

Tioti B. Teburea at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Karen Simion at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

V con1 2On March 10, 2020, China and Pacific island countries held a video conference to share experience and information on fighting COVID-19, bringing together officials from Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Health Commission, Chinese health and epidemiological experts, and officials and health experts from all 10 Pacific island countries that have diplomatic relations with China, namely, the Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Cook Islands and Niue. Among the 100 plus participants of the conference, the FSM delegation was led by Mr. Moses E. Pretrick, Acting Secretary of Health and Social Affairs, and composed of Ms. Lisa Barrow, Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Disease Coordinator, Mr. Patrick Carl, Chief of Fire of Pohnpei State Department of Public Safety, and representatives of the national and Pohnpei State coronavirus task forces. H.E. Huang Zheng, Chinese Ambassador to the FSM, also attended the conference with the FSM delegates at the Chinese Embassy in Palikir.

The Chinese side briefed on the latest developments in relation to China’s fight against COVID-19, saying that President Xi Jinping personally commands and deploys the epidemic prevention and control efforts and the situation is increasingly trending in a positive direction, with production and normal life gradually resumed in China. President Xi is now in Wuhan, Hubei Province, the epicenter of the epidemic for an inspection on the prevention and control work. China has full confidence, capability and determination to win the battle against the epidemic. Meanwhile, China is working hard to achieve this year's socio-economic development goals. Upholding the concept of a community with a shared future for humanity, China has been actively engaged in international cooperation in an open, transparent and highly responsible manner. China and Pacific island countries are both developing countries. China relates to the special difficulties Pacific island countries are facing in their response to COVID-19 and has promptly briefed relevant countries on related information, and taken strong measures to safeguard the health and safety of foreign nationals and international students in China from Pacific island countries. China wishes to join hands with Pacific island countries to step up information sharing, deepen cooperation on epidemic prevention, work in the spirit of solidarity and mutual assistance to break through the current difficulties, and protect regional and global public health security. China stands ready to provide necessary support and assistance within its means to Pacific island countries in their epidemic prevention and control efforts as the situation evolves.

Professor Wu Zunyou, Chief Epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Professor Wang Guiqiang, Chairman of the Department of Infectious Diseases of Peking University First Hospital briefed on the etiology, routes of transmission, epidemiological developments, China’s response and clinical treatment and answered dozens of questions regarding the viral information, protective measures for medical staff, targeted prevention and control, port of entry screening and quarantine, therapeutic solutions and vaccine development.

Acting Secretary Pretrick, along with the other officials and experts from Pacific island countries, praised China’s outstanding achievements in fighting COVID-19 and major contributions to the global public health security, saying that China’s experience has set a high standard and a good model for Pacific island countries, including the FSM, in their response to the epidemic. By personally going to Wuhan, President Xi Jinping effectively boosted the morale and confidence of the Chinese people to overcome the disease and sent a positive signal to the international community that the epidemic will surely be contained. They expressed deep appreciation for China’s initiative to hold the video conference and share China’s experience, which they believe has provided timely and helpful information for the work in their respective countries. They added that virus respects no borders and friendship withstands the test of time. As China’s good brothers and good partners, the FSM and the other Pacific islands countries look forward to enhancing cooperation with China in epidemic prevention and control and triumphing over COVID-19 together, as part of our concerted efforts to build a community with a shared future for humanity.

Findings from the research will contribute vital information to climate adaptation efforts in Pohnpei and other tropical Pacific island nations, allowing them to better manage their coastal waters, improve water quality, and reduce damage to coral reefs in the face of climate change.


By Leah Sherwood


February 25, 2020

156023A graduate student at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo has been collecting data to assess nearshore water quality and its effect on coral reefs in the island state of Pohnpei, the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia. FSM is an island nation in the Western Pacific situated south of Guam and east of the Philippines.

Bryan Tonga, in 2017 as an undergraduate, weighs out samples for analysis on the Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer, UH Hilo Analytical Lab.

Bryan Tonga, who is from Pohnpei and a graduate student in the UH Hilo tropical conservation biology and environmental science program, says he and his colleagues are evaluating sewage pollution using a multi-indicator approach.

“We are measuring salinity, turbidity, nutrients, nitrates, and fecal indicator bacteria levels in the water,” he explains. “We also sampled macroalgae for stable nitrogen isotopes and nitrogen content.”

Tonga has spent the past two summers in Micronesia collecting water and macroalgae samples from 31 stations around Pohnpei’s coastline, including both populated and pristine remote areas, which are difficult to reach due to the mangrove forests covering most of the island’s coast. His work is the first comprehensive documentation of the water quality conditions on Pohnpei’s coastline.

He says the macroalgae get their nutrients from the water column.

“In order to figure out if the macroalgae are getting nutrients from sewage pollution in the water, we’re taking readings of Nitrogen-15, which has very specific values for human sewage,” he explains. Tonga notes that development along coastal areas in Pohnpei is increasing, causing more water pollution.

Managing the effects of climate change:

Findings from Tonga’s research will contribute vital information to climate adaptation efforts in Pohnpei and other tropical Pacific island nations, allowing them to better manage their coastal waters, improve water quality, and reduce damage to coral reefs in the face of climate change in the region.

“We need to establish baseline water quality conditions because with climate change the water quality could shift dramatically,” says Tracy Wiegner, a water quality expert and professor of marine science who is on Tonga’s thesis committee. “In Pohnpei, like here on the island of Hawai‘i, a lot of houses use cesspools. With rising sea levels, they can become inundated with sea water and sewage can flow out to the nearshore reefs. Also, climate change could bring increased precipitation, which would mean increased land runoff to the shores and potential flooding of cesspools.”

Wiegner is the director of the Analytical Laboratory at UH Hilo, where Tonga is analyzing his collected samples. “Bryan has collected the first nutrient samples from Micronesia ever,” notes Wiegner.

 Bryan Tonga, at right, with fellow student Sione Lam Yuen, in 2017 when Tonga was a marine science undergraduate and worked as a laboratory assistant at the UH Hilo Analytical Lab. Here, the students prepare samples for analysis on the Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer. Courtesy photo.

Along with Wiegner, Tonga’s thesis work is being supervised by UH Hilo marine science professors Karla McDermid and Steven Colbert. McDermid, an expert in phycology, will help Tonga identify the macroalgal tissue samples since distinct species may take up nutrients from the ocean differently.

Tonga plans to share his data with stakeholder agencies in Pohnpei such as the Pohnpei Environmental Protection Agency (PEPA), the National Food Safety Laboratory in Pohnpei, the Conservation Society of Pohnpei, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. He says the agencies recognize the significance of his research and have responded by contributing institutional resources to support his efforts in creating baseline data for nutrients in the water.

“PEPA let me use their lab to do my readings and bacteria culturing, but they cannot process the nutrient content, so that is being done in the UH Hilo Analytical Lab,” says Tonga. “PEPA hosted me and provided me with transportation and a lab technician. They think it is really important for Pohnpei to have me doing this kind of project because the research capacity is low, and they are currently only able to do limited amounts of water quality testing.”

While in Pohnpei, Tonga also mentored Wayneheart Celestine, an undergraduate from the College of Micronesia, on water quality sampling and laboratory analyses. Celestine’s internship was supported by the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program at UH Hilo.

Tonga’s project is supported by the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center and Hawai‘i Sea Grant. His travel in 2018 was funded by an L-SAMP grant from the National Science Foundation.

Story by Leah Sherwood, a graduate student in the tropical conservation biology and environmental science program at UH Hilo. She received her bachelor of science in biology and bachelor of arts in English from Boise State University.

March 9, 2020

456156Chuuk State, FSM- Chuuk State First Lady, The Honorable Lady Bersita Elimo officially launched the Chuuk Women’s Council “Tongen Inepwinew Counseling Center,” which translated means “Love of the Family Counseling Center”. 

The Tongen Inepwinew Counseling Center is the first crisis support center for survivors of violence against women in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).  The Center provides free, confidential and non-judgmental counseling through trained “safe counselors” who provide counseling and support to survivors of domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment and child sexual abuse.

To develop its crisis counseling project, Chuuk Women’s Council (CWC) has received funding and extensive on-going technical support from the Australian Government through Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women).

In his opening remarks, the Hon. Lt. Governor Mark Mailo said it is unfortunate that FSM has high rates of violence against women where it is estimated that one out of every three women in FSM have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner.  “Chuuk State has the highest rate of violence against women compared to the other FSM States.  This plague of violence in families is against our culture and our human rights values”.   

The Chuuk Women’s Council project has taken ten years to complete and includes the renovation of the Center’s building to meet the required standards for a counseling service facility along with ongoing professional development and training of its counselors’ ready for full service.

Christina Stinnett (better known as “Kiki”) is the President of the Chuuk Women’s Council, which is an umbrella organization of more than 60 women’s organizations in Chuuk State and more than 1000 women members.

In her remarks, Ms. Kiki Stinnett said, “I believe that all women should live a life free from all forms of violence and discrimination.  But it is essential that all women in Chuuk are made aware that there is a service available for survivors of violence against women. During CWC monthly Market Day on Feb. 28, 2020, the Tongen Inepwinew Counseling Team did community awareness to inform and educate the public about the new counseling center and the service they are providing. In an interview with a woman participant at the Market Day said and I quote, “Why now? You should have provided this service long time ago. It is good that we have this in Chuuk now as we are in-need of this center.” I agree with this woman, if we don’t do it now, then when and who will do it?” The Tongen Inepwinew Counseling Center envisions a Chuuk State that is free from all forms of violence and discrimination against women.  All its activities are survivor or women centered which means we do not blame the women for the domestic violence, rape and sexual harassment that she has experienced or is experiencing.  It is never the woman’s fault.  The perpetrator is responsible for his violent behavior!  The more we give excuses for his violent behavior, the more we are allowing the perpetrator to continue with his criminal act”. image011

“With a 10-year commitment, Pacific Women enables support to diverse women’s and civil society organizations and other partners to strengthen their own capacities to assist communities and empower women. Providing technical, convening and knowledge sharing support to the portfolio of initiatives and partners is Pacific Women’s Support Unit, working alongside partners to improve the political, economical and social opportunities of Pacific women and to end violence against women and girls. It is this support that is proving invaluable to partners such as the Chuuk Women’s Council. To have a dream to open a counseling service is one thing, but to be able to access international and local expertise to make that happen, in addition to funding resources, is what makes the Australian Government’s Pacific Women program support so unique” -  Ms. Dionisia Bernard Asher, Senior Program Manager, Australian Embassy, FSM

“I would like to acknowledge the kindness of the Japan Government through their Japan Embassy in Pohnpei, FSM for their generosity by funding this beautiful Shinobu M.Poll Memorial Center.  Our sincere "Kinisou Chapur", and thank you, to the Australian Government and its Pacific Women team who have tirelessly supported us to make this dream a reality in funding the Federated States of Micronesia’s first Counseling Center for survivors of violence against women here in Chuuk State”, Ms. Kiki Stinnett, President Chuuk Women’s Council.

For more information please contact the President of the Chuuk Women’s Council,

Christina “Kiki” Stinnett, Phone Number: (691) 330- 5263/ 8397/ 4232

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


March 20, 2020

Pohnpei—After the new law on sea cucumber harvests passed which established a five year moratorium on Sea Cucumber harvests and set up a Sea Cucumber Commission, Marstella Jack, attorney for eight young plaintiffs filed a motion to dismiss the case asking the court to put a permanent stop to the contract between Pohnpei State and Young Sun International Trading Company to do a sea cucumber harvest.  However, on March 6 she filed another motion on behalf of her clients asking the court to hold in abeyance her previous motion to dismiss.  The new motion came after Pohnpei Governor Reed Oliver wrote a letter to Speaker Ausen T. Lambert that, though he unreservedly associates himself with the new sea cucumber harvest law, a legal question had arisen regarding the contract with Young Sun.  He quoted Section 5 of Article 4 of Pohnpei’s Constitution which says “No law may impair an existing contractual obligation, except for protection of an essential public interest.”

                The reason that Jack had initially filed a motion to dismiss was because the new law would have made the claims of the case moot. However, since it appears that the Legislature is considering changing the law so that it does not apply retroactively to Young Sun, the claims may once again be applicable.

                Young Sun opposed the dismissal of the case because they want to be able to sue the young defendants for damages.

                The Governor’s letter to the Speaker of the Legislature seems to have been motivated by a notice of intent to collect $3 million in damages if the State cancels its contract with Young Sun dated January 31.  Salomon Saimon, attorney for Young Sun wrote that it is his client’s position that no essential public interest needs to be protected as the Constitution allows because earlier studies had already showed that the planned sea cucumber harvest is sustainable.  Saimon wrote that the amount of damages is “because of thrashing my client’s reputation and destruction of my client’s business in the market.”

                On March 3, Pohnpei Acting Attorney General responded to the notice of intent to sue saying that the Governor had submitted an amendment to the law in question that if passed would allow for the contract to be honored as planned.

                On February 3, Saimon increased the amount of damages that Young Sun intends to claim from the State to $9 million.  He said that the reason for the increase was that in training in preparation for a harvest, Young Sun’s expert revealed trade secrets to employees of the State.

                The Governor’s proposed amendment to the law has been assigned to the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Resources and Development.

By Lt. Brad Garrigues, CEC, USN Det Yap Officer in Charge

624x413 q95U.S. Navy Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 arrived in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) on Jan. 6 to reestablish a permanent presence within the community that began over 50 years ago by the “Better than Best” Bees of ‘69.

The new construction detail in Yap will execute engineering civic assistance projects, conduct skills exchanges with the host nation, and perform community service events to enhance shared capabilities and maintain vital relationships in the region. The addition of another construction detail in FSM will also allow Seabees deployed to either Yap or Pohnpei to conduct short term construction projects in Chuuk and Kosrae through “fly-away” teams, which are able to move back and forth between the islands quickly easily when called upon.

“Adding a construction detail in Yap expands the Seabees capability and strengthens our ties to the community, enhancing the relationship between the Navy and Micronesia,” said Capt. Steve Stasick, Commodore 30th Naval Construction Regiment.

Yap is one of four states that make up FSM, situated across the Caroline Island chain. From West to East, they are the States of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. While Yap encompasses over 200 miles of coral islands, the seat of government is situated in Colonia, on the largest main island.

It is from Colonia that the Spanish (1668-1899), German (1899-1919), and Japanese (1919-1945) ruled, bringing trade, missionaries, and weapons of war. Over the years, the Yapese maintained a cohesive cultural identity, even as one foreign nation after another imparted Yap with new and diverse ways of life. World War II historical markers dot Yap where American Hellcats, B17s, and Japanese Zeros fell over the Japanese held island. Fortuitously bypassed by America in the island-hopping campaign, Yap was finally liberated from Japan in 1945. In 1947, the United Nations turned official control of Yap over to the U.S. as a Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI). This designation allowed the fledgling island nations of Marshall Islands, Palau, and the future FSM access to many governmental functions as they modernized.

In the late 1960s, an agreement between the Department of Interior, Defense, and the Micronesian people allowed for the deployment of Seabee Civic Action Teams (CAT Teams or Seabee Teams) throughout the TTPI on missions of good will. The CAT Teams, typically 13 Seabees strong, arrived with the express goals of improving economic, educational, and health care development. They achieved this by providing critical road, utility, and government facility construction. Their secondary goal was to provide locals with technical skills training and develop enduring relationships within the community.

FSM Information Services


1652132PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On March 5th, 2020, the Board of Trustees of the FSM Trust Fund met in the State of Pohnpei with Ms. Maggie Ralbovsky, the investment advisor and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) from Wilshire Associates who has been providing innovative investment solutions and objective, independent investment advice to the Nation. Ms. Ralbovsky demonstrated that, as of January 31st, 2020, the FSM Trust Fund had a total balance of $284,200,000 (284.2 million dollars), compared to a balance of $266,900,000 (266.9 million dollars) reported at the end of fiscal year 2019 (i.e. September 30th, 2019.) This represents a fiscal-year-to-date return of 5%.

Since 2011, the FSM Trust Fund’s investment gains has reached approximately $82,000,000 (82 million dollars). The rapid increase in the value of the FSM Trust Fund reflects the strong commitments from the Executive and Legislative Branches to ensure the long-term financial prosperity of the Nation.

"While we are pleased with the investment results, we are mindful of the challenges and risks we are facing from multiple fronts, including the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 virus, and long-term disruptions from climate change induced events,” said Iso Ihlen Joseph, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

The Secretary of Finance and Administration, the Honorable Eugene Amor, added that "It is important for us fiduciaries of this FSM sovereign wealth fund to keep a long-term perspective without being distracted by near term market volatilities. Long term sustainable investment principles require us to continuously evaluate sound diversification alternatives and promote responsible investment strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability of our Trust Fund. “

The Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Fabian Nimea, further added that “The FSM Trust Fund can [be a] leader among the Pacific Islands in impacting future investment initiatives of the companies we invest in. We can engage with all companies that we provide capital to in the collective effort to ensure continued progress in curbing climate change and promoting sustainable ocean economy.”

With these remarks, the Board set its future initiatives in studying and promoting more sustainable investment strategies while managing near term market risks.

The FSM Trust Fund is a sovereign wealth fund that was created by the FSM Congress through the FSM Code Title 55, Chapter 12 (as amended by subsequent Public Laws). The Investment Advisor, Wilshire Associates, is based in California and is one of the world’s major investment advisory and management firms for large institutions.

DAP Cheque Presentation Pohnpei Swimming ClubThe Australian Embassy recently provided Pohnpei Swimming Cub with $20,000 grant to assist with the re-painting of the swimming pool and other related improvements.  Pohnpei swimming club has been responsible for the management pool for past few years, however, there was demand for some improvements and repairs. As a result, they were able to secure funding support from the Australian Embassy to facilitate swimming pool renovation plans.  With the grant provided, it is envisaged that the new look pool will further enhance and  promote community learn to swim programs for men and women in Pohnpei, and foster increased participation in swimming activities to improve healthy lifestyles and wellbeing.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


March 1, 2020

DSC03118 copyPohnpei—This morning, Patterson Shed, USAID Ready’s Regional Coordinator and Karen Simion, acting President of the College of Micronesia FSM signed a letter of agreement previously agreed to and signed by a representative of the University of the South Pacific regarding Climate Ready training courses.

Climate Ready is a five-year regional project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by DT-Global, a United States based institutional contractor with worldwide experience implementing environment programs.

Climate Ready works in 11 Pacific Island Countries (PICs): Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.  Climate Ready works with Pacific Island Country governments and other stakeholders to prioritize areas of support that align with their climate and disaster resilience plans and goals to:

1) draft and implement policies that achieve national adaptation goals; (2) access and utilizeinternational sources of climate financing; and (3) improve systems and expertise to better manage and monitor adaption projects.  As part of its capacity building program Climate Ready contracts the services of local and regional providers to provide training programs, qualified trainers and venues.

Climate Ready seeks to support the delivery of accredited training courses through its partnership with USP, in a range of topics to government and private sector/NGO staff in FSM in a cost-effective way using blended modes and online modes of delivery. The courses, including project management, resilience and procurement and supply will be provided at appropriate venues provided by the College of Micronesia-FSM.

COM-FSM has agreed to provide the necessary logistics for the delivery of the courses including the provision of appropriate venues for the delivery of face-to-face components of courses and trainings. It will also provide additional logistical support as required, including but not limited to internet services and printing.

Climate Ready has agreed to work with country partners to identify suitably qualified and motivated men and women to participate in the agreed training programs; provide COM-FSM and USP with sufficient time to be able to schedule and resource the courses; ensure that there are equal opportunities for both women and men to participate in the courses; and to work with local partners to ensure active participation and on-going monitoring of course participants.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


March 6, 2020

Weno, Chuuk—The Chuuk Office of the Public Auditor has released the results of its recent concluded audit on the Chuuk State Debt Relief Fund.  It found that the records of debts or payables under the fund were not properly maintained. It also found that there is no clear plan on how to the retire $13 million in liabilities for claims and judgments and other payables that have been accumulating.  Further, it said, that amount was not transparent to the public because it was not reported and reflected in the Financial Statement.

It said that in 2007, the Debt Relief Task Force started to manage the existing debt of $46 million that existed at that time.  Because of the lack of records, auditors were unable to analyze historical balances and how the original amount has decreased through the years.

“During our audit, the Reconciliation Officer provided an outstanding payable amounting to $13 million. However, the accuracy of this payable amount is very much doubtful. The Reconciliation Officer was unable to vouch its accuracy because she said she did not keep complete records of supporting documents per claim. Additionally, she did not reconcile the system records with bank reports,” the audit said.

“Since the accuracy of details of $13 million payable were subject to question, we have decided to omit its details from publicly available reports because of the unnecessary conflict it might create for any differences. We have provided, though, such details to the members of the Debt Relief Task Force and to the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) for their reconciliation and so that an accurate amount of payable for each creditor could be established, recorded in the books and reflected in the Financial Statement; and, to the Governor and Legislature for their reference.”

Auditors recommended that the Task Force should work towards implementing and reconstructing the account records liabilities to establish firm Accounts Payables for recording and payment purposes. “Additionally, and most importantly, the Task Force should work towards implementing the defined activities in the Memorandum of Understanding between the Chuuk State Government and the Federated States of Micronesia National Government that would generate additional revenue for the Debt Relief Fund. The system management’s achievements will strongly impact the improvement in the collection of revenues, therefore, the debt relief fund,” executive summary on the audit said.

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


March 4, 2020

IMG 4454 copyPohnpei—Power outages earlier this week were caused by problems with cable connections inside Pohnpei Utilities Corporation’s power plant in Nanpohnmal.  The cables carry the electronic information necessary for the generators to work together when they are put on line.  The generators were not properly synchronizing, causing island wide power outages for customers beginning at 4:45 in the afternoon on March 2 and lasting anywhere from four to seven hours as PUC mechanics and engineers fought to solve the problem.

Though power was restored late that night, the problem had not been completely solved. On the next day, PUC announced a schedule of planned outages on a region by region basis. It only had to implement that “load shedding” plan once and even then for not as long as PUC had thought would be needed.  PUC employees were able to complete necessary repairs during that one power outage that lasted from 10:00 until about 10:40 that morning.  Since that time, power has been restored to Pohnpei.

PUC General Manager Nixon Anson said that power plant operators noticed a problem with synchronization several weeks ago.  PUC notified Hawthorne Power Systems in San Diego whose technicians set up the system several years ago.  “We have good working relationships with Hawthorne,” Anson said.  The company sent a representative at its own cost. The technician arrived on February 11 to correct the problems with synchronization among the generators.

Three weeks later, the problems appeared again, this time with more detrimental results to the Pohnpei populace.  Anson said that he charged his employees with checking each end ofIMG 4457 copy the many communications cables on each generator that connect to the switching system.  Generators had to be shut down while employees painstakingly pulled each cable end and checked for proper connections.  They found that some of the cables had loosened, possibly due to the vibration of the operating generators, an odd situation considering that Hawthorne representatives had been working to resolve the same problem.

The Nanpohnmal power plant itself has a power generation capacity of 9.2 megawatts.   During daylight hours and during rainy times, PUC can draw on approximately 2 megawatts of additional power from solar and hydro sources.  Anson said that at peak demand, Pohnpei’s power customers draw down approximately 6 megawatts.  Peak hours generally occur between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM on weekdays.  There is a much smaller peak beginning as the sun starts to go down as consumers get home.  That small peak starts to dissipate beginning at about 10:00 at night as they wind down and head to bed.

The generators and the renewable power sources are more than enough to supply power during the high peak hours. Employees monitor a switching system to ensure that no one generator is overtasked.  Even with employee monitoring, generators still need to talk to each other in order to synchronize.  When they couldn’t on March 2, power generation capacity was reduced to below demand. In order for workers to perform diagnostics, generators had to be shut down while employees worked, resulting in the power outages on March 2 and 3.

PUC recommends that customers get the grounds in their homes checked.  Anson said that all too often ground wires are not connected at every outlet or fixture in homes.  He said that electricity will seek ground wherever it can be found.  If the ground wires are properly connected, excess power will go through the home’s ground rod.  If it can’t go there it will take the path of least resistance, possibly through an expensive appliance plugged into the wall.

Anson said that surge suppressors are also effective though he admits that he personally doesn’t use them.  To protect against brown outs, low voltage situations, which are more damaging to expensive appliances than power surges especially if a surge suppressor is in place, an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) is effective to raise the voltage if it drops. He said that PUC has a 1.2 megawatt reserve unit at the power plant that raises output frequency and voltage to the proper levels if they drop below standard. If frequency and voltage are over standard, the excess charges the reserve unit.  He said that power that PUC delivers is at standard but voltage drops can occur for a variety of reasons including trees on lines.