Governor Peterson outlines administration’s fisheries, infrastructure and tourism priorities for PSL session

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

January 31, 2019

Pohnpei—On January 17, the Pohnpei Legislature’s Special Committee to Wait on the Governor issued its report on that January 14 meeting.  Governor Peterson briefed the committee of some of the issues related to fisheries, infrastructure, and tourism developments he hoped the Legislature would make a priority for consideration during their regular session.

The first issue he discussed with the committee regarded the Luen Thai Fishing Venture (LTFV) lease agreement.  He told them that the lease with Pohnpei State had been signed in August of 2018, LTFV payment of the lease in the amount of $120,000.  He told them that LTFV is also asking to lease the Cold Storage Facility.  He said they have committed to financing the renovation of the facility and that if they can get it, it would be an additional lease to the property they have already leased at Pohnpei’s Port.  He said that if it happens, lease revenues would double what they are currently getting for the plant, and said that the company that is currently leasing the space has not expressed any official interest to the Administration regarding renewing their lease.  He said that LTFV is currently in the business of fish and has hired local employees for that activity.  He said that by February, LTFV plans to start its fish loining business which will mean additional employment opportunities.  He told the committee that he had sent a bill proposal relative to those issues to the Legislature.

Governor Peterson told the committee that the Government of the People’s Republic of China had provided foreign aid for road infrastructure projects in Madolenihmw and a complete upgrade of the Kahmar Bridge in Nett.  He told them that the China Railway Group had been chosen for the execution of the projects.  $13.6 million was awarded for the Madolenihmw road, and $3 million for the Kahmar Bridge. He said that he expected the groundbreaking for those projects to be in the middle of February.

On tourism he told the Committee that the FSM Congress had appropriated a total of $1.9 million to the FSM States for tourism development projects divided among the states.  He said that under those appropriations Pohnpei submitted projects including the upgrade of Liduduhniap Waterfall that has been completed and the Kepirohi Waterfall site which is soon to be completed.  He said that Congress had made additional appropriations in the amount of $750,000 and $500,000.  The Office of Transportation and Infrastructure is in the process of putting together cost estimates for some priority tourism projects which will be divided in all of the municipalities with tourist attraction sites.

Continuing on the theme of tourism the Governor told the Committee that his Administration has met with representatives of the Air Nauru company to discuss how it can help the Pohnpei tourism industry by serving tourists from Asian regions.  He asked Air Nauru to come and do a presentation to the state leadership regarding their proposal.

“Also in line with the issue of tourism, Governor Peterson ask(ed) the Committee to convey to the Legislative Committees which have been assigned the review of the 200 room hotel project proposal that we move forth with the issue,” the report said. “He stated that there are prospective investors already identified and verbalize(d) his worry that our delays will cause us to lose these potential investors.”

He said that his office has been working on the 2020 budget for presentation to the Legislature.   He said that due to the US Government shutdown they had not been able to have a budget consultation with the US Office of Insular Affairs and so he would have to communicate with Speaker Scaliem to ask for extension of time for submission of the budget.

He said that specific reporting of each of the items discussed during the Committee to Wait on the Governor would be made in his State of the State message when the details for that address are set.

The Committee to wait on the Governor consisted of Senator Shelten G. Neth as Chairman, Senators Lino M. Amor and Adelino Edmund as members.