This is the latest news from us.

 

Saladak students demonstrate skills learned in preservation of indigenous learning pilot program

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

 

March 26, 2021

IMG 0429Saladak, U, Pohnpei—This morning, students of Saladak Elementary School in U, Pohnpei held an event to display what they have learned through an innovative program in cooperation with PREL (Pacific Resources for Education and Learning).

The program for preservation of indigenous learning was made possible by a grant to PREL from the organization Nia Tero who used the funding to begin one pilot program in the FSM and one in the Marshall Islands.  The kickoff for the pilot program at Saladak Elementary school was held on November 10, 2020.  Since then 6th, 7th and 8th graders spent part of each school week receiving instruction on weaving techniques with coconut fronds, carving with machetes, use of some wooden tools that are used traditionally for husking coconuts, splitting and pounding breadfruit, and sakau cups.  Students in all grades participated in the program and the learning also included traditional dancing and even canoe carving.  Students planted a working garden using traditional techniques, learned all of the traditional names for the plants and maintained the garden.  Some student spent time learning the honorific language and traditional titles as well as all of the village names in the U municipality.IMG 0318

“This has been a dream project for me for a long time.  After 30 years of trying to get everyone ready for college it became abundantly clear that we also need an educational pathway for those students who just want to live on their Islands and be productive citizens,” wrote Paul Hadik, PREL CEO in an email last November.  “I did this years ago in Kosrae and now with the enthusiastic support of Governor Oliver and Director of Ed Etse we are piloting at Saladak Elementary School.  Two-Three days a week the local Elders come in and teach everything from weaving, songs and chants, farming and fishing, canoe and navigation, family lineages, IMG 0381story-telling, local medicine, etc.” he continued.

Hadik said that the program will last until May at which time PREL will conduct a one-week skills test for the community leaders.

“The goal is to come away soon with an alternative education system that does not eliminate College Prep, but adds another finish line so to speak, for those students and communities (especially on outer islands) who want an education system more relevant to Island life,” he wrote.

On Friday morning, the students gave impressive performances on the campus of Saladak Elementary School.  ECE students each told the gathered crowd which clan they each came from. Fourth grade students each gave a specific example of the importance of local foods. Fifth grade students gave the names of each traditional leader in U and their specific titles within the traditional leadership structure.  Sixth graders each demonstrated weaving of mwahrmwars, bowls, and baskets from scratch.  Seventh graders also demonstrated weaving from scratch using coconut fronds. In their demonstration, they weaved containers for carrying specific food items such as coconut, cooked fish, andIMG 0285 breadfruit.  The seventh graders also performed two traditional dances.  Eighth graders demonstrated their knowledge of the traditional names of the various parts of the traditional canoe, a surprising number of parts.  They also demonstrated coconut husking and grating.

The demonstration ended with seventh and eighth graders conducting ahmwadang, a traditional sakau ceremony.

PREL’s representative is Canita Rilometo who has worked with the students since the pilot program’s beginning.  Pohnpei Governor Reed Oliver and Department of Education Director Stanley Etse attended Friday’s demonstration.

Add a comment

Civil Action filed in Chuuk names two FSM Senators alleging abuse of public project funds to influence elections

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

 

March 25, 2021

Chuuk—This afternoon, Attorney Sabino Asor filed a civil action on behalf of six Plaintiffs at the Chuuk Trial Division of the FSM Supreme Court regarding alleged inappropriate actions regarding Chuuk election processes.

The Plaintiffs in the case (FSM CA 2021-1003) are Sabino Asor, Setiro Paul, Takamichy Mori, Johannes Berdon, Maimichy Masis, and Simay Casro Karen.  The named defendants are FSM Congress Speaker Wesley Simina in his official and personal capacities, FSM Senator Tiwiter Aritos in his official and personal capacities, Amando Marsolo as Mayor of Tol in his official and personal capacities, Alexander Narruhn, the FSM Department of Finance, the FSM Department of Justice, the Chuuk Statewide Development Authority, and the Faichuk Development Authority.

“This is a Civil Rights case brought: (1) to prevent the defendants from using the authorities and resources of the FSM National Government to commit voter oppression and violate voters’ and citizens’ civil rights for the purpose of influencing and controlling the outcome of political elections in Chuuk State, in ways contrary to law…(2) to seek specific performance in referring the allegations of election fraud and voters oppression to the defendant FSM Department of Justice to assign a special counsel to look into such allegations if there are criminal violations involved; and (3) to seek punitive damages against the named defendants for such alleged civil rights violations against opposing voters’ and opposing candidates’ during the March 2021 general election and other local state and municipal elections,” the civil action begins.

Plaintiffs point out that in 2003, the FSM Supreme Court ruled that it is a violation of the Separation of Powers of the FSM Constitution for members of the Congress to be directly or indirectly involved in the distribution and implementation of public projects funds appropriated by the Congress.  It says that the Chuuk Statewide Development Authority, and the Faichuk Development Authority were set up by Speaker Simina and Senator Aritos, respectively, in order to process and administer their public projects approved by the FSM Congress.

Plaintiffs allege that the two named Senators backed Marsolo, the incumbent Mayor of Tol by not only promising but by actually providing public project funds for boat motors and other things to voters who

Add a comment

FSM Government moves to dismiss complaint on the legality of FSM border closure

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

 

March 15, 2021

FSM—This evening, the FSM Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a motion at the FSM Supreme Court to dismiss the complaint of 13 Plaintiffs who had asked the Court for declaratory judgment that the FSM Government’s emergency declaration that sealed its borders after the world wide COVID-19 outbreak was unconstitutional.  The plaintiffs in the case each reside in one of the four FSM states and had traveled outside of the FSM’s borders before the President acted to seal the country’s border.  They were each directly affected by the action of the government and for the last year, they have been unable to return to their homes as is the case for many FSM citizens, residents, and even members of the diplomatic corps.

The DOJ motion’s first argument for grounds for dismissal of the case was for failure to name indispensable parties. It argues that each of the State governments also should have been named since each of the four States also issued their own emergency declarations.  The argument specifically names the Pohnpei State Government as one of the authorities in the nation that was adamant about its declarations that refused disembarkation of passengers at its port.  “Although the FSM state of emergency covers borders control measures, the FSM States remains adamant in the disembarkation of persons from international travels,” the motion says. The motion to dismiss says that failure to name indispensable parties in a civil action is sufficient grounds for dismissal. 

However, within the heading discussing that matter, the Assistant Attorney General that filed the motion then diverged from the main argument saying, “This is an extreme circumstance where members of the society is (are) divided in their views. While some plea for the FSM borders to open, some demand the closure to continue. It is understood that certain rights may be impaired at times like this. The society are (is)

Add a comment

Japan Government provides funding for Pohnpei Port security

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

 

March 19, 2021

IMG 0247Pohnpei—On Friday, March 19, Ambassador of Japan to the FSM Sobashima Hidenobu met with Governor Reed Oliver and members of the Pohnpei Port Authority administration and board to formally sign the paperwork for a grant to enhance security at the Pohnpei Port.  The grant amount is $64,472.

During his speech, Ambassador Sobashima described the project that the government of Japan had decided to fund.  He said that Pohnpei Port is the main gateway of the FSM and is an important venue for business activities with huge inflows and outflows of people and goods.  He said that because of that it is susceptible to various possible crimes including smuggling and human trafficking.

To address that problem, the Pohnpei Port Authority formulated a proposal to construct a traffic monitoring facility equipped with gates, exclusive lanes and sign boards as well as sets of security cameras on the causeway to the port.  The Port solicited a grant from the government of Japan to finance construction of the facility except for the gates which will be constructed by Pohnpei Port Authority with its own financial resources.  The government of Japan responded positively to the grant request.

“In conclusion, I hope that this project will proceed smoothly and will improve the security and safety of Pohnpei Port and Pohnpei State, benefitting its population of about 36,000 people, and thus will contribute to the AOI (a cooperation between Japan and Pacific Island Countries for a future that is Active, Opportunity-filled, and Innovative) future of the Federated States of Micronesia,” he said.

Add a comment

Ausen Lambert petitions Election Office for re-vote of special polling places and absentee ballots in ED1 Congress election

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

 

March 15, 2021

FSM—This evening, the FSM Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a motion at the FSM Supreme Court to dismiss the complaint of 13 Plaintiffs who had asked the Court for declaratory judgment that the FSM Government’s emergency declaration that sealed its borders after the world wide COVID-19 outbreak was unconstitutional.  The plaintiffs in the case each reside in one of the four FSM states and had traveled outside of the FSM’s borders before the President acted to seal the country’s border.  They were each directly affected by the action of the government and for the last year, they have been unable to return to their homes as is the case for many FSM citizens, residents, and even members of the diplomatic corps.

The DOJ motion’s first argument for grounds for dismissal of the case was for failure to name indispensable parties. It argues that each of the State governments also should have been named since each of the four States also issued their own emergency declarations.  The argument specifically names the Pohnpei State Government as one of the authorities in the nation that was adamant about its declarations that refused disembarkation of passengers at its port.  “Although the FSM state of emergency covers borders control measures, the FSM States remains adamant in the disembarkation of persons from international travels,” the motion says. The motion to dismiss says that failure to name indispensable parties in a civil action is sufficient grounds for dismissal. 

However, within the heading discussing that matter, the Assistant Attorney General that filed the motion then diverged from the main argument saying, “This is an extreme circumstance where members of the

Add a comment

Government of Japan hands over a $177k grant for garbage trucks for Kolonia Town

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

March 18, 2021

IMG 0354Pohnpei—On Thursday, March 18, officials from the Kolonia Town government met with Ambassador of Japan to the FSM Sobashima Hidenobu to formally sign paperwork and receive the commitment of a grant for two new garbage trucks for Kolonia Town.  The grant amount is $177,088 which will cover the cost of procurement, shipping, and wharfage.

Ambassador Sobashima described the scope of the project during his speech. He said that in 2011, the Government of Japan donated two garbage trucks to Kolonia Town which then served its residents for nearly a decade.  However, both of the trucks have recently broken down and are no longer usable for waste collection.

To cover the service shortfall, the Kolonia Town government has been renting a flat bed truck with a self-contained crane to collect waste but it is not sufficient to the task. Kolonia Town approached the Government of Japan asking if they would be willing to supply two more trucks and the government responded positively.

Ambassador Sobashima said that with the provision of the two new garbage trucks, the frequency of waste collection in Kolonia Town will be able to increase from once every two weeks to once a week which will benefit the 6,000 people living in Kolonia.

“This is in conformity with the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision which aims to

reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050 through a comprehensive life-cycle approach announced in the G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration in June 2019,” he said.

Add a comment

Pohnpei celebrates World Forest Day

By Conservation Society of Pohnpei

 

March 22, 2021

20210322 105209Pohnpei—Every time we drink a class of water, write in a notebook, take medicine for a fever or shelter in the safety of our homes, we sometimes miss the connection we have living harmoniously and comfortably with the forests. Forest sustainable management and their use of resources are key to combating climate change and to contributing to the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations. Forests also play a crucial role in poverty alleviation and in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). However, despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, deforestation continues at an alarming rate in most countries including Pohnpei.

On March 22, 2021, Pohnpei joined the world in celebrating International Day of Forests. The theme for this year’s event is “Forest Restoration: a path to recovery and well-being”. The event was hosted by the Department of Resources and Development (R&D), in partnership with Invasive Species Taskforce of Pohnpei (iSTOP), Island Food Community of Pohnpei (IFCP) and Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT).

The program started with a small ceremony that included a presentation from iSTOP. Pohnpei has been known as the garden island of Micronesia. Unfortunately, we have lost most of our native forest due to destructive farming practices over the years. As a result, we are seeing an increase in invasive weeds and plants that may cause ecological and economic nightmares if not managed or controlled. iSTOP presented a list of invasive weeds and plants that exist in Pohnpei, along with their plans to control and eradicate them. iSTOP continues to seek community involvement in controlling the invasive species that disrupt the balance to Pohnpei’s forest ecosystem.

Following the iSTOP presentation was the keynote address delivered by the Executive Director of MCT, Mr. William Kostka. In his address, Mr. Kostka highlighted the need to strengthen management capacity to Pohnpei’s farmers. Pohnpei’s traditional farming practice, also known as agroforestry, is now being recommended globally to address deforestation.

Following the short ceremony, all participants proceeded to the farm to plant a few coconuts to commemorate the event. After planting, everyone then reconvened at the station to collect plant seedlings. A total of 119 seedlings were provided by the Division of Natural Resource Management including soursop, papaya, avocado, tamarine, lime, cinnamon/madeu, coffee, mountain apple, banana and coconuts and were distributed to all participants to take back and grow in their respective lands.

We look forward to the next international day of forests and hope to see more farmers joining this important event.

Add a comment