Open letter to Chuukese from former FSM President

By John R. Haglelgam

Dear Chuukese:

I write this letter because of the vagueness and woefully inadequate response from Sabino Asor, the principal strategist of the Chuuk secession movement, to former Speaker Jack Fritz’s statement. Mr. Asor claimed that the establishment of the Chuuk State Political Status Commission is not unconstitutional because it was established by the Chuuk state legislature like any state institutions in Chuuk such as the Board of Education. He was wrong to compare the establishment of the political status to the creation of the Board of Education. First, the establishment of the political status commission violated Section 3 of Article XIII of the FSM constitution. The FSM constitution is the supreme law in this country, and that an act of the Government in conflict with this (FSM) Constitution is invalid to the extent of conflict (Section, Article II, FSM Constitution). The establishment of the Chuuk political status commission by the Chuuk state legislature is an act of a government in the FSM that contradicted Section 3 of Article XIII of the FSM constitution, and therefore, the creation of the CSPSC is unconstitutionally ab initio.

Second, in establishing the Board of Education the Chuuk State Legislature acted within the legal parameters of its constitutional power granted to the states by the FSM national constitution. (See Sections 1 and 2 of Article VIII of the FSM Constitution and Edward v. Pohnpei, 3 FSM Intrm 350, 357, Pohnpei: 1988). In comparing the unconstitutionality of establishment of CSPSC to the unquestionably constitutionally created state Board of Education is tantamount to comparing oranges to breadfruits. In other words, this comparison is bizarre.

In his most recent posting on Facebook, Mr. Asor sets out the proposed timeline for Chuuk separation from the plebiscite to withdrawal of Chuuk from the FSM to complete independence. On his proposed timeline of events, Sabino Asor allotted a segment of that timeline to negotiation with the United States and FSM regarding the division of the Compact Trust Fund. What is there for Chuuk State Political Status Commission to negotiate? In the first place, and unlike the other three states, Chuuk failed to pay its contribution to the initial capitalization of the FSM Trust Fund. Second, the US Ambassador Riley, the highest US government representative in the FSM and personal representative of the US president, has said that if Chuuk secedes then it would not be eligible to receive any fund from the FSM Trust Fund. Mr. Asor has contradicted Ambassador Riley’s statement. Who should we believe, Ambassador Riley, the highest ranking US diplomat in the FSM who represent the US president with full authority to speak for the US government or Sabino Asor a member of the Chuuk State Political Status Commission? I do not need to tell you who you should believe and trust, but I can warn to watch out of a false political prophet with tons of arrogance of power.

Mr. Asor also included a segment on his timeline of events for negotiation with the FSM for boundary. I presume Mr. Asor wants to negotiate Chuuk boundaries with Yap state in the west and Pohnpei state in the east. The current boundary among the states in the FSM is set by laws that apply the principle of equidistance (See FSM Constitution, section 2, Article I). I wonder what Mr. Asor had in mind. Does he want to expand Chuuk boundary westward into the outer islands of Yap and eastward into Pohnpei.

Thank you very much and I remain

Sincerely yours,

John R. Haglelgam

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The Proposed Compact of ‘Dis-Association’ and ‘Re-Association’ for the ‘Republic’ of Chuuk

Zag Puas (PhD) Chuuk Unity Group

In 2014 the Chuuk State Legislature enacted a law which created the Chuuk Future Status Commission the purpose of which is “to review and recommend possible political status suitable for long term financial survival of Chuuk State after the economic assistance provided under the amended compact between the FSM and US expires in 2023, and for other purposes.” To fulfil this long-term financial survival, the Commission imported economic and legal theorists to undertake a study for the purpose of recommending a pathway to ‘solve’ Chuuk’s financial shortfalls post 2023. However, they argued that in order to do so Chuuk must disengage itself from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

Consequently, a Report was produced by the Consultants hired by the Commission, however the whole Report has not been released to the public. The reasons for that is unknown.

The Commission is taking a strong pro secessionist movement by littering the political landscape with distorted language that is driving a system of self-perpetuating disinformation. Its objective is to convince the people of Chuuk to march falsely towards a brave new world just looming over the horizon. In the Commission’s mind the Chuukese people have been economically oppressed by the wrath of FSM’s own internal colonialism, and thereby seeks to progress secession, which they assert should emancipate the people from this notional oppression.

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Guest Perspective: Domestic Violence Act passes after nine years

After a prolonged review and deliberation period, the Ninth Pohnpei State Legislature, in a unanimous vote (20-0) voted in favor of the Domestic Violence Act of 2017. This new law basically established family violence offenses as a separate chapter under the criminal code, provides for emergency protective orders for the victims, and incorporates rehabilitation opportunities for the perpetrators.
Over the years while the Bill sat in Legislature, the Pohnpei Women Council organized lobbying activities and appeared before the Legislature more than once to lend support to the passage of the Bill. In an effort to preempt passage of the Bill, the council took one step further and renovated an old government building to use for response and intervention services to victims of family violence. Now that the law is finally in place, it’s time to operationalize the delivery of that service.
Former Senator Magdalena Walter worked tirelessly to get her colleagues to come on board, so special acknowledgment of that work is proper and timely. The Pohnpeian students who came down from University of Guam to testify before the Committee did an excellent job of sharing their stories and a huge “Kalahngan” is extended to every one of them. The Association of Pacific Island Legislatures (APIL), back in 2011, passed a resolution urging passage of the Bill by the PSL. The foreign missions based in FSM, especially the Australian Mission, have consistently urged individual senators to support the Bill. At one point or another, during the past nine years, people in various capacities have expressed strong support for the Bill. Thank you all very much.
In 2013, when Kosrae State Legislature passed their Family Protection law, there was much confidence that the momentum would spill across the ocean to the PSL to follow suit, but unfortunately, there were still outstanding concerns regarding certain provisions in the Bill. According to the coconut wireless, the perceived conflict this law would have on Pohnpeian custom was a dominant factor in the delay of its’ passage.
Then right after Kosrae State passed its law, the UNFPA came into FSM and carried out a Family Health and Safety Study which revealed what was already known by many that violence against women exists in FSM (32.8%). In the final Standing Committee Report, it was the definition of the Discipline of Children that remained a concern so that was changed to align with the Constitution and Pohnpeian traditions. It should be noted here that Art. 5, s. 2 of the Pohnpeian Constitution clearly provides that where a statute is in conflict with Pohnpeian customs, the Legislature shall enact a new law to uphold that particular custom. The protection of Pohnpeian custom is therefore still paramount in this regard.
November 7, 2017 will go down in the history of Pohnpei as a particularly important day because of the passage of this new law establishing family violence as a criminal offense. At the end of the day, it is you, the Senators of the Ninth Pohnpei Legislature that made it all possible because you cast your affirmative vote on that day. Kaping lap oh mwuledek pwehki doadoahk eh pweidahr.
Now, onto enforcement!!!
Marstella E. Jack

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