FSM President Manny Mori met with members of the Chuukese community in Guam on January 14, 2015, to discuss the proposed separation of Chuuk State from the Federation. The meeting was held at the Agueda Johnston Middle School cafeteria in Ordot-Chalan Pago with close to three hundred (300) Chuukese in attendance.
In his opening remarks, President Mori expressed the need to correct some of the misinformation surrounding the separation movement of Chuuk State from the FSM. The Chuuk State Political Status Commission recently submitted in mid-December its formal recommendation to the Chuuk State Legislature seeking support for secession and for the creation of a Republic of Chuuk without adequate public education and awareness programs and activities on the pros and cons of the secession. With the Chuuk Legislature’s approval, the question of secession will now be put to Chuukese voters in the upcoming March 3, 2015, general election.
The President, as the FSM head of state, underscored his solemn obligation to uphold the provisions of the FSM Constitution and to advance the principles of unity upon which the FSM Constitution is founded. Given the critical importance and implication of the secession, President Mori informed the meeting participants that he took this time to meet with the Chuukese community in Guam to ensure that the Chuukese people will make an informed decision on March 3, 2015.
The President shared his view that perhaps underlying this rush to address secession is a distraction from the real issues of economic development challenges facing the Nation, especially Chuuk State. The current pre-occupation of the Nation is the approaching expiration of Sector Grants under the Amended Compact in 2023. In anticipation to the Sector Grants expiration, a Committee on 2023 was established to address the 2023 changes with the President and all governors as members and with SBOC as the Secretariat. Thus far, an Action Plan is in the making and it will be submitted to the upcoming SNLC scheduled for January 29-30, 2015, for its endorsement.
During the meeting, the audience was given the opportunity to ask questions and to express their views on the issue of the Chuuk secession. It was quite clear from the questions asked that there is not enough information shared with the Chuukese community in Guam. Great concern was expressed that come March 3, 2015, Chuukese voters will be asked to consider secession and the creation of a new Republic of Chuuk without knowing or the implications, not only for the present generation but most importantly for future generations of Chuukese.
President Mori expressed appreciation for frank and open exchanges with the audience and urged all Chuukese voters to seriously “vote no” on March 3, 2015, for the sake of unity of the Nation and for the present and future generations of Chuukese. President Mori would welcome a joint public discussion in Guam between the President and his staff and the Chuuk Political Status Commission in order to provide the public with a complete awareness of all the issues surrounding this separation movement in advance of the early March election and referendum regarding secession.
Accompanying the President at the meeting were the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Secretary of Justice, Director of SBOC, Director of NORMA, FSM Registrar of Corporations, and staff from the FSM Consulate General in Guam.