Delegates of the FSM’s Fourth Constitutional Convention seated and organized

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


January 7, 2020

IMG 1193FSM—The 24 elected members of the Fourth Constitutional Convention were seated this morning in the chambers of the FSM Congress in Palikir, Pohnpei.

Over the next 30-45 days, the members of the Constitutional Convention will meet to discuss issues of import to the Nation’s citizens, with the overarching goal of proposing—where deemed necessary—amendments to the Constitution. Amendments proposed by the Convention will be put to a public plebiscite vote requiring the assent of 75 percent of the voters in 75 percent of the FSM States before passage.

This morning, President David Panuelo served as the Temporary President of the Constitutional Convention until after FSM Supreme Court Chief Justice Dennis K. Yamase issued the delegates’ oaths of office and the sworn members elected their own President, former FSM Vice President Redley Killion of Chuuk.

“An important opportunity,” President Panuelo said, “inscribed into our highest law of the Nation, so as to ensure preservation and maintenance of the rights of the people, is the right of our citizens to be able to once again ask this fundamental question: how can we make things better for our country? This question is amplified at this very moment for delegates to ponder on and think about. This question, among others, must guide every action we take.”

“Our Constitution was drafted by our Founding Fathers in such a manner that makes it very difficult for any change to happen,” President Panuelo said. “The threshold of 75% approval by the voting population in three of our four states [for proposed amendments] is a very tall order. I ask and implore upon you that we be practical…because if we are overambitious…it can be lost in the translation and public awareness process.”

After his election as President of the 4th Constitutional Convention, President of the Convention Killion also gave some brief remarks highlighting the importance of cooperation and reaffirming the notion that the

Nation’s Founding Fathers employed the relatively frequent usage of Constitutional Conventions as a way to strengthen the Nation’s capacity to chart its own destiny.

“This Constitutional Convention is a reaffirmation of who we are, that we are Micronesians, proud of our heritage and committed to protect the promise of the future—including mutual enjoyment, and equitable sharing of the resources of our land, natural, cultural, and other forms of resources,” President of the Convention Killion said. “I am confident that the different ideas that each of us will be discussing will be…of value in the improvement of our Constitution to further strengthen unity and prosperity and for our Nation.”

The delegates elected Iso Nahnken of Nett Salvador Iriarte of Pohnpei to be the Vice President of the Convention.  They selected Andrew R. Yatilman of Yap to be the Floor Leader of the Convention and Johnson S. Asher of Kosrae to be the Chair of the Committee of the Whole.

After a brief caucus, President of the Convention Killion appointed Mason Albert of Pohnpei to be the Chair of the Civil Liberties and Traditions Committee.  Camillo Noket of Chuuk was later chosen as the Vice Chair for the committee.

Killion appointed Victor Nabeyan of Yap as the Chair of the Government Structure and Functions Committee.  Akillino Susaia of Pohnpei was later selected as the Vice Chair for the committee.

The President of Convention appointed Peter Sitan of Chuuk as the Chair of the Committee on Public Finance and Revenue.  Tendy Liwy of Pohnpei was later selected as Vice Chair for that committee.

He appointed Yoslynn Sigrah of Kosrae to be the Chair of the Committee on General Provisions. The Vice Chair for that committee is Andy Choor of Yap.

He appointed Salomon Saimon of Pohnpei to be the Chair of the Committee on Style and Arrangement with James Naich of Chuuk serving as the Vice Chair of the Committee.

During the opening session, which continued much longer than anticipated, President of the Convention Killion also appointed a Special Committee to Wait on the FSM President and the Speaker of Congress comprising Akillino Susaia of Pohnpei as Chair and members Andy P. Choor  of Yap, Cindy S. Mori of Chuuk, and Yoslyn G. Sigrah of Kosrae.

The proceedings this morning were to have been live streamed

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