Pohnpei State leadership sworn into office

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By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
January 11, 2016
Pohnpei, FSM—Today’s joint inaugural events started with the seating and swearing in of Pohnpei State Legislators in their chambers.
The chamber was standing room only both inside and outside as the credentials committee verified that all of the Senators were legally qualified to serve. The caucus that ended in the selection of the Legislature’s top three leaders took quite a bit longer. Meanwhile the announced time for the beginning of the inauguration at the Pohnpei State Government complex came and went.

When the caucus was completed, Fernando Scaliem was returned to his position as Speaker of the Legislature. Nixon B. Soram was chosen as the Vice-Speaker, and McGarry Miguel was selected as the Floor Leader.
Senators vowed to their oaths of office in the Legislative chambers before making their way to the joint inaugural ceremony where hundreds of people had gathered in whatever shelter from the short rain, and shade from the nearly noon day sun they could find in order to witness the event.
pohnpei 01Traditional leaders, dignitaries, and new government leaders were announced and seated followed by a traditional sakau ceremony.
A Pohnpei State Police color guard raised the flags while Judy Penias sang a moving rendition of the Pohnpei anthem set to a spine tingling accompaniment track.
Lt. Governor Joseph Saimon gave welcoming remarks after which Lt. Governor Elect Reed Oliver and Governor Elect Marcelo Peterson were sworn in to their new positions.
Former Lt. Governor Saimon passed the ceremonial paddle to the new Executive Branch leaders.
Saimon has taken a position at the Pohnpei State Government as the Chief of Staff.
Governor Marcelo Peterson gave his inauguration address in Pohnpeian. State radio, V6AH has played his speech many times on the air.
Iso Nahnken of Nett, Salvador Iriarte gave the closing speech at the inauguration ceremony.
During the ceremony, the United Church of Christ Pohnpei, Kepinle Choir at the Temwen Choir sang special musical numbers.
After the formal proceedings of the inaugural ceremony had ended, three dance teams entertained the crowd. Though the sun threatened to melt the performers into puddles, the entertainment was truly special, well done, and enthusiastically received.
On Sunday, January 10, the newly elected leaders gathered at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Kolonia for an interdenominational service during which the FSM’s first Congress Speaker, now a Reverend at the United Church of Christ Pohnpei gave the homily. The Senipehn and Meitik Choirs both performed special musical numbers.
The Inaugural reception was held at Mangrove Bay Bar.

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Lt. Governor Oliver spoke as did Speaker Fernando Scaliem.
Dancers also performed for the large audience including Serena Peterson, Governor Peterson’s daughter.
The Pohnpei State Legislature has formed its standing committees.
The committee on Education and Cultural Affairs will be chaired by Senator Sendilina Lekka. Senator Stanley S. Etse will serve as Vice Chair.
The Committee on Finance will be chaired by Senator Alipino Kerman with Senator Daniel S. Isaac serving as Vice Chair.
The Committee on Health and Social Services will be chaired by Senator Shelten Neth. First time Senator Brian Etscheit will serve as the vice-chair.
Senator Peter Lohn will chair the committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations. Senator Lino Amor.
Senator Marvin Yamaguchi will chair the Committee on Land and Senator Adelino Edmun will serve as Vice Chair.
The Committee on Public Works, Transportation and Communications will be chaired by Senator Stevick Edwin. Vice Chair will be Senator Maskie Jim.
Senator Aurelio Joab will chair the Committee on Resources and Development. Senator Rensper Liwy will serve as Vice Chair of that committee.

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