Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Solar energy electricity generation system project up and running for FSM Government

Passing the key: President Mori accepts the key from Ambassador Suzuki and
gives it to Governor Ehsa who passes it on to Dr. Daisy of COM-FSM
 before it ends up with Mr. Perman, PUC General Manager
FMIS (January 29, 2013): A handover ceremony for the “Project for Introduction of Clean Energy by Solar Electricity Generation System was held on January 25, 2013 at the entrance of the President’s Office in Palikir.

The project was donated to the FSM Government by the Government of Japan.

In his remarks during the ceremony, H.E. Eiichi Suzuki stated, “this project has been implemented based on the Cool Earth Partnership which was declared by former Prime Minister Fukuda at the Davos Forum in January 2008. It was then strengthened and committed at the PALM 5 in May 2009 providing the financial and technical support of the Pacific Island Countries.”

Secretary Lorin S. Robert expressed FSM’s appreciation to the Government of Japan for the project. He stated that the location of the project on the roof of the President’s Office and at the College of Micronesia-FSM “shows strong commitment to GEM—Green Energy Micronesia”.

President Manny Mori, Ambassador Suzuki, Governor John Ehsa, Mr. Feliciano Perman, General Manager of Pohnpei Utilities Corporation and Dr. Joseph M. Daisy, President of COM-FSM participated in the turnover of the key and the breaking of the sake barrel – a Japanese ritual that ended the ceremony.
Breaking the sake barrel -- a ceremonial ritual

Attending the ceremony were the President’s cabinet members, staff from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Wakachiku Construction Company, consultants of the Yachiyo Company Limited, NBK, Crown Agents and other invited guests.
The sake: from left -- Ambassador Suzuki, Dr. Daisy and President Mori

Monday, January 28, 2013

Nauru hiring staff to be based in New York City to assist AOSIS Chair

The Republic of Nauru is hiring a sustainable development and energy adviser to support the Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). The position is based in New York City and will focus on preparations for the Third Global Conference for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and the sustainable energy initiatives relevant to SIDS, and the post-2015 development agenda.

The successful candidate will possess a thorough knowledge of economic development and energy issues, and their links to the climate change crisis. Demonstrable experience working with small island communities and United Nations organizations is strongly desired. Key responsibilities will include conducting research and analysis on relevant topics and closely collaborating with AOSIS members. Strong writing and communications skills are essential as the successful candidate will be responsible for drafting statements, briefing documents, position papers, submissions, presentations and representing the Chair at meetings and conferences. The role requires substantial international travel and an ability to perform under pressure in a deadline driven environment.

An advanced degree in a related field is required.
A competitive salary and benefits package is offered. Applications must be received by 31st January 2013. Please submit a cover letter, three references, and a cv to: AOSIS Recruitment by email at nauru@un.int.

[Note: This above message is part of an email message forwarded by Mrs. Jane Chigyal, FSM Permanent Representative to the United Nations. ]

Thursday, January 24, 2013

National consultations begin for Pacific Plan Review 2013

23rd January 2013
The team charged with carrying out the Pacific Plan Review 2013 begins extensive national consultations across the region this week.
Led by the Right Honourable Sir Mekere Morauta, KCMG, the team begins national consultations in Samoa, moving on to Tonga, Tuvalu, New Zealand, Australia, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands over the course of February.
Further country consultations are scheduled to take place across the Pacific in March, April and May. The review team’s consultation schedule is available on the Pacific Plan Review 2013 website, www.pacificplanreview.org.
“This first round of national consultations is particularly important in setting the foundation for this important review,” said Sir Mekere. “Seeking frank, constructive and insightful input from national stakeholders is essential for mapping out the future of regional cooperation and integration, and for my team’s recommendations to Pacific Islands Forum Leaders.”
Sir Mekere’s team members include Mrs Noumea Simi of Samoa, Mr. Redley Killion of the Federated States of Micronesia, and consultants Mr Nick Poletti and Mr Peter Bazeley. In addition, the Government of Papua New Guinea is supporting Mr Robert Igara as adviser to Sir Mekere.
The Pacific Plan Review 2013 aims to build regional consensus on the future direction of the Pacific Plan and provide a platform for prioritising regional cooperation and integration efforts over the next decade.
“National priorities are expected to be discussed at great length in relation to the Pacific Plan and whether it has been an effective platform for collective action on regional and global issues,” said Sir Mekere. “While the Pacific Plan has had its successes and provides a strong platform to guide regional cooperation and integration, challenges remain.”
The review team will present its preliminary findings at a special sitting of the Pacific Plan Action Committee (PPAC) mid-year. A second round of evidence-gathering and focused consultation is scheduled for June/July 2013, prior to the preparation of a final report to the annual meeting of Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in September 2013.
“I would like to remind all stakeholders that they are welcome to submit written submissions to the review team via our website, www.pacificplanreview.org,” said Sir Mekere.
“I encourage organisations, special interest groups and individuals from far and wide to participate in this important process. Make your views known and take part in shaping our region’s future, for the benefit of our proud nations and peoples.”
Submissions for the Pacific Plan Review close May 2013.
Please email PacificPlanMedia@forumsec.org.fj for further information and interview or photo opportunity requests.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Last Day of session for 17th FSM Congress?

The FSM Congress ended its 6th regular session today with 9 members present.

The body adopted two reports from the Committee on Resources and Development supporting FSM's membership in the International Renewable Energy Agency and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The reports were subsequently refered to the Committee on External Affairs.

After doing this, the question of whether a special session would be called after the March election was raised?

One member also raised general inquiry on what congress should do in the event that the President vetoed the recently passed supplemental 2013 budget that includes representation funds for members of Congress and the President and Vice President.

There was not much the gathering could do with only 9 members present.

The 6th regular session adjourned for good at around 11:00am, which was also potentially the last gathering for the 17th Congress.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Immunization and CD grants approved: worried employees assured of pay

FSMIS (January 22, 2013): Among a number of congressional actions today was favorable news for the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs (HSA).
Congress accorded favorable actions toward two financial assistances from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that will maintain the immunization and vaccination program and the FSM Communicable Disease Control Project implemented throughout the states.

HSA officials have been concerned about the two grants as employees of the said programs at the states would not be able to get paid in time if Congress deferred action.
The notice of grant award for the communicable disease control project in the amount of $528,818 was issued by CDC on December 8, 2012. The resolution for acceptance was introduced on January 18.

The notice of award of financial assistance for the immunization program in the amount of $1,188,345 was issued by CDC on the 21st of December, 2012. On January 18, the award resolution for this particular financial assistance was introduced.
Both grants were jointly reviewed by the Standing Committee on Health and Social Affairs and the Standing Committee on External Affairs.

For further information, write fsmpio@mail.fm.

Congress confirms three and rejects one board membership nominations

FSMIS (January 22, 2013): At its meeting this morning, Congress confirmed the following Presidential nominations:

1.      For Mr. Reed Bermin Oliver to serve as a member on the FSM Banking board;

2.      For Mr. William Hawley to serve as a member of the FSM Petroleum board of directors; Mr. Hawley is currently the Chairman of the board representing the National Government.

3.      For Mr. Churchill Edward to serve as a member of the College of Micronesia-FSM Board of Regents representing the State of Pohnpei. Mr. Edward is a sitting board member.

Congress disapproved the nomination of Mr. Alik K. Jackson to serve on the National Oceanic Resources Management Authority (NORMA) board of directors representing the State of Kosrae.
Mr. Jackson is a FSM Congress staff attorney.

Shortly after meeting started, Congress had to skip some agenda items on the “order of business” for the day and leapt to the pending nomination and grant resolutions as some Members wanted to beat United Airlines check-in closing around noon on what could have been the last day of the 16th regular session.

There were only thirteen Members present today. Senator Wesley Simina and Senator Roger Mori mentioned they were leaving for Chuuk to attend the Weno Municipality Inauguration Ceremony tomorrow. Senator Peter M. Christian also had travel arrangements – details not yet ascertained.
The remaining Members decided to also meet tomorrow.

For further information, write to fsmpio@mail.fm.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


From: Williams, Lisa [mailto:Lisa.Williams@mail.house.gov]
Sent: Saturday, January 19, 2013 8:46 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Faleomavaega elected as Ranking Member of Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific

Washington, D.C. --

Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that on Tuesday January 15, 2013 he was unanimously elected as Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. The Subcommittee now includes India and Pakistan and has oversight for U.S. foreign policy affecting more than 60% of the world’s population.

“I thank my colleagues for their support of my bid for Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific,” Faleomavaega said. “I look forward to working with my Republican counterpart, Chairman Steve Chabot, to address the complex issues facing this important region of the world, especially at a time when the Obama Administration has made clear that U.S. foreign, economic and security policy must ‘pivot’ toward Asia.”

“For years, I have called for greater U.S. engagement with Asia-Pacific countries, and I am hopeful that the U.S. is finally serious about advancing peace, stability and prosperity in this region of the world. I am especially pleased that South Asia has been moved back into the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific where it rightfully belongs, and I also intend to shine a light on the needs of those living in this area.”

“As we begin the work of the 113th Congress, I welcome the members of our Subcommittee. I know they, too, are committed to strengthening cooperation with our Asia-Pacific partners. From maritime security to growing energy needs to poverty, food security, HIV/AIDS, climate change, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, defense engagements and more, we have much work to do. But I have full confidence that we can make a difference and so I thank the people of American Samoa for their support in also working to bring about peaceful solutions for the Asia-Pacific region,” Faleomavaega concluded.

 [Congratulations to the honorable delegate for the people of American Samoa at the House of Representatives, United States Congress. We wish him success in all his endeavors, not just for his new esteem role as Ranking Member on the Subcommittee but also as a long-standing leader from the Pacific region. FSMPIO] 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Vice President Alik on medical referral to Honolulu

FSMIS (January 18, 2013): FSM Vice President Alik L. Alik is referred to a hospital in Honolulu today as complicated health condition persists.
“… Vice President has been referred to Hawaii as his medical condition has become more complicated. Please join me and my cabinet in praying and wishing him a speedy recovery”, President Manny Mori informed congress on January 18.
The Vice President has been under medical care at the Genesis Hospital in Pohnpei the past few days.
Since yesterday, the President tasked his Chief of Staff to expedite the process that would allow for his referral, requiring coordination among the Genesis Hospital, MiCare Insurance, the Office of the President, FSM Consulate Office in Honolulu and United Airlines.
The Vice President is accompanied by a medical doctor from the FSM Department of Health and Social Services.
For more information, write to  markapito@gmail.com.

FSM Secretary of Justice on the go for anti-trafficking outreach to the states

FSMIS (January 18, 2013): FSM Secretary of Justice April Dawn Skilling is currently in Yap State on a mission to assist the FSM states in drafting anti-trafficking legislations to further progress efforts in all aspects of human trafficking regulation and prevention.
The FSM public law 17-38 was enacted on March 16, 2012 modifying parts of Title 11 of the FSM Code and creating a new subchapter to put in place the human trafficking and smuggling statues at the national level. The states also need to enact complimentary legislations within their jurisdictions for enforcement, prosecution, prevention and perhaps rehabilitation purposes.
In forming the state governors of the secretary’s assistance, President Manny Mori wrote on January 15, “I am asking Secretary Skilling to reach out to the leadership of all four states in order to assist the states in addressing the need to develop an action plan to recognize, condemn and prosecute all acts of human trafficking”.
Together with the states, the FSM government needs to progress actions for human trafficking regulations to keep a “good standing” rating on the Watch List done every year by the U.S. Department of State.
Maintaining a bad rating, as in a Tier 3 rating, may eventually result in the loss of all US non-humanitarian aid to the FSM according to the same communication to the governors.
Secretary Skilling had worked in the Russian Federation where she assisted in the development of the country's anti-trafficking legislation.
Secretary Skilling left on January 15 for Yap State where the state legislature is currently in session.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Congress confirms NORMA board members

The FSM Congress continues its 6th regular session meetings, working on a number of measures and requests by the President that have been pending.

Today, three needed replacements for members of the National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA) were approved. Mr. Jackson Soram, representing the National Government, was the first of the pact. The other two nominations for Mr. Peter Gramfel, representing Yap State, and Mr. Michael Liemen, Pohnpei State, were pulled from committee, placed on today's calendar of action, and subsequently confirmed.

Passing the three nominations would allow the NORMA Board of Directors to transact business for commercialization and conservation undertakings within the FSM's exclussive economic zone.


Congress also adopted a report from the Committee on Resources and Development recommending the passage of an authorization for the President to execute soverign guarantee to secure an Asian Development Bank loan for a Yap State renewable energy development project.

The proposed bill requesting this guarantee was transmitted to Congress on September 21, 2012 and jointly assigned to the Committee on Resources and Development and the Committee on Ways and Means.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Go, go my words -- come, come my words

I admit my title for this reflection is very weird. I am thinking in terms of a traditional Chuukese saying that goes, "kene no ko fos, niwinto ko fos", whose literal translation is something close to the title.

Chuukese believe in the sacredness of "words". What you utter is a projection of what is deep in you. Hence the advice is to be very very careful with your words because they carry always the potential not only to destroy others, but also yourself. Go go my words is too easy to do -- to engage the mouth in speaking. Come come my words is impossible to do -- that is no one can ever eradicate the impacts of spoken words. The power of words.

I am reminded of this saying today after I attended the session of congress this morning. Let me leave it at that.

On another note, it has been said several times that the FSM needs real commitment to economic develop projects and investment to move ahead and break the trend of dependency inherited from the Trust Territory era. I haven't come across any objection to this statement.

But, unless common folks, citizens in general, become serious in holding the leaders responsible -- in making the leaders not only "stick to their words" but also appreciate "the power of  words", they choose to use, even during "off the record" moments, development efforts will remain elusive.

Words reveal intentions and impact actions. We need to pay attention to "their words" and do our parts as citizens in moving forward.

I am sure some people are doing this -- that is, they are tracking what our leaders do. Many times, we stop when we find out what they do or don't do.

Just some cheap words at these walls as reflect on today's events.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Yap trip rescheduled: United Airlines overflew on January 12

Bad weather conditions in Pohnpei on January 12 interrupted scheduled United Airlines flight barring President Manny Mori's trip to Yap to take place on that day.

The President't Yap trip for consultative meetings with various leadership levels, including church, business community, traditional and government leaders, has been rescheduled for January 19.

For details, write to fsmpio@mail.fm.

Friday, January 11, 2013

President Mori heads to Yap for ETG consultations

President Manny Mori will head to Yap State on January 12 to hold personal meetings with the state's political, traditional and business leaders regarding the proposed ETG investment in Yap.

"The primary purpose of my visit is to learn more about the ETG investment through personal meetings and consultations with political, traditional, and business leaders in Yap State", the President expressed in a January 10 letter to various leaders, including Chief Bruno Tharngan and Chief Ignathio Hapthey for the Council of Pilung and the Council of Tamol.

According to his schedule of events as arranged by his chief of staff and Yapese officials, the President will hold meetings with Church leadership on January 13. On January 14, separate meetings will be held with  the Speaker and Members of the Yap State Legislature during the opening of their session; the Council of Pilung; and the council of Tamol, in that order.

Some other meetings will be on January 15, including with Governor Sebastian Anefal and later with the business community before he departs Yap way early morning of January 16.

For further reading on ETG and its investment interest in Yap State, you may click on the link below http://naturesway.fm/archives/etg/timeline/ETGFlyer.pdf.

Mr. Kandhi A. Elieisar takes oath of office as FSM Consul General in Hawaii

The swear-in ceremony for Mr. Kandhi A. Elieisar, the newly appointed Consul General for the FSM Consulate Office in Hawaii, took place on January 8, 2013 at the President’s Conference Room. Presiding over the ceremony was President Manny Mori with Chief of Staff, Mr. Churchill Edward, and various cabinet and staff members in attendance. Mrs. Matirina Elieisar, the Consul General’s wife, KM Elieisar, son, and other family members were also present.   

In his remarks, President Mori indicated that aside from the Consul General’s regular duties and responsibilities, working closely with FSM citizens in Hawaii to explore and expand FSM’s business opportunities in the State is necessary.  President Mori also assured his new Consul General of his office’s support to the Consulate Office in its work to represent the nation in the State of Hawaii.

In his responding remarks, Mr. Elieisar thanked the President and leadership for their confidence in him as the next Consul General in Hawaii. Mr. Elieisar also stressed the pending issues facing FSM citizens in Hawaii that are vital and in need of attention such as job opportunities, among others. With the new challenging task, Mr. Elieisar assured that he will continue to seek the assistance from the current administration, particularly from the home office and other relevant entities, as he will endeavor to seek opportunities beneficial for the FSM.
The ceremony officially ended the long absence of a full-fledge Consul General for the FSM in Hawaii as Congress opted not to confirm two previous nominees for the post since July, 2011.
Congress confirmed  the nomination of Mr. Elieisar on November 26, 2012.
The new Consul General left Pohnpei for Hawaii on the 9th of January.
Mr. Elieisar is a career foreign service officer, having worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs for over 20 years. During his tenure with the Department, he has served in various capacities which included Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information and Research, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pacific Affairs, Assistant Secretary for the Division of Asia, Pacific, Africa and Multilateral Affairs.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

President and Congress talk frankly at start of the Sixth Regular Session

FSM Information Services (January 8, 2013): The 17th FSM Congress has begun its 6th Regular Session starting on January 7 at the Congress Chamber – its last regular session before the March mid-term election.
After the opening meeting, a special committee, chaired by Senator Yosiwo P. George, met with President Manny Mori to inform him and gather other relevant matters that may require action by Congress. With Chairmen George were Senator Joseph J. Urusemal, Senator Roger S. Mori and Senator David W. Panuelo, as committee members.
The President met with the Committee over lunch at one of the local establishment in Kolonia.
After exchanges of cordial greetings, President Mori officially indicated to the Committee that the Executive Branch was ready for the session. Then, more informal discussions followed.
The President and committee Members talked frankly, freely and constructively on a range of topics, focusing more on finalizing arrangements for the proposed 2023 committee. The Committee concurred to the urgency in creating the 2023 committee to recommend actions for boosting economic growth and achieving financial sustainability beyond 2023 – the termination year for the financial assistance under the Amended Compact with the United States. The Leaders generally agreed to move ahead in support of having the committee with State Governments and National Government representations. It was recalled that during the development partners meeting in November, many development partners had expressed interest to assist in the task of such committee.
Among the first topics, the Committee shared information on the funding allocated during the November session for various outstanding FEMA payments. Some complications were stressed involving denial of payment obligations by the States, requiring more consultations among parties. The President said whatever the situations, the possibility of making a partial payment should be considered to show commitment.
President Mori also alluded to on-going plans for an upcoming bankers and investors conference in the FSM in May, spurring comments on the benefits of such conference within bigger efforts for building growth.
In discussing the likelihood of revenue increase, the President asked for support of a Pacific-United States multilateral fishing treaty, which may increase annual revenue by nearly 10 million, he affirmed.
 FSM revenues under fisheries activities may be impacted positively by the treaty as the FSM is one of four major fishing grounds in the Pacific.  
When looking at some challenges, concerns were raised regarding the FSM’s poor rankings in certain international ratings, the most recent being the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom by the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation as carried in the December 24 issue of the Kaselehlie Press. The Leaders hinted at the need to seriously look at the report and its citations.
The Committee also expressed interest in the FSM Peer Review conducted by a group of Pacific Island experts with management support by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
For more information, please contact the FSM Public Information Office at 320-2548 or email fsmpio@mail.fm.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year greetings from Mr. James T. Stoval, III at the FSM Embassy in D.C. to FSM President

James T. Stovall, III
1725 N Street NW
Washington, DC  20036

January 1, 2013


His Excellency Manny Mori, President
Federated States of Micronesia
Palikir, Pohnpei, FM 96941

Subject:   New Year’s Letter

Dear Mr. President:

I write this on the occasion of the New Year, in celebration of the astonishing progress of the FSM during the more than forty years I have been so privileged to serve your people.  We all struggle over the current issues on a daily basis, but I think it is right that occasionally we pause to recognize how far the Nation has come in the relatively short period since 1965 when your visionary leaders of that time first conceived the idea of a new Pacific Nation.

This could be considered an open letter to the people of FSM, but I leave it to you, Mr. President, to determine its distribution, if at all.  It is written strictly from my personal viewpoint as a huge fan of FSM, with no pretentions of special insight but more than a little fond nostalgia.

My earliest work for Micronesia was done in Washington through several of the early Compact negotiations, and I did not actually come out there until 1975.  The Pohnpei runway was still unpaved then, and the terminal was a beautiful thatch structure (which I still miss).  Street paving consisted of bumpy remnants from the Japanese time, and the main downtown was out of an American wild West movie.  But the island was the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen, the people were wonderful, the excitement of nation-building was palpable and I was hooked!

Later, on a bus ride at negotiations in Molokai, Andon Amaraich said to me, “Why don’t you leave that fancy law firm and come work for us?”  Eventually I did, and I still consider it the best decision I ever made (except, of course, marrying Lou Ann, my wife of fifty years!).

I celebrated my 75th birthday this year, and I have no illusions about how much longer I can stay in the game.  Don’t get me wrong, my health is almost unnaturally good for my age and I want to continue my involvement as long as you will have me.  But I am as anxious as you are (as we have been discussing) to find and support the best way to pass along the body of knowledge I possess, especially to best position the Nation for 2023 and beyond.  This is obviously open for a discussion I’d like to have, but first I’d like to mention just a few great things about FSM today that I find remarkable.

It is not said often enough that FSM’s Constitution and its governmental structure is the envy of the Pacific and beyond.  Who would have thought it possible for four distinct cultures over such a vast region to come together in unity and self-determination that has now lasted for 35 years and keeps getting stronger?  And who would have predicted in 1979 that a sovereign FSM would quickly grow a set of both bilateral and multilateral relationships capped by full UN Membership? 

Not only that, but when this all got started there was a relatively small core of people to run the new governments at the State and National levels, and it depended too much on expatriates.  I am thankful that God has allowed me to live long enough to see a virtual explosion of educated and increasingly experienced Micronesians in place and capable of meeting the challenges of an increasingly complex government AND to see more and more smart and capable women taking up roles at the highest levels both administrative and diplomatic.

Of course, your greatest challenges are and will remain on the domestic front as you gradually and necessarily transition toward a private sector-driven economy.  There are no quick fixes here, and easy living within the accustomed envelope is not a plan.  Among other things, this outsider is very impressed by the highly collaborative process of regular summits that you convene to address common issues in the uniquely Micronesian way.  It does not solve all problems, but it goes a long way and has evolved steadily as the Nation has progressed.

There is a great deal more to be said, but I don’t want to prolong this.  In short, I just hope that in the midst of problems and politics of the moment you the leaders of FSM never lose sight of the priceless thing with which you are entrusted.  I am confident in holding a strong sense of pride in the FSM, and also for all of you whose combined effort has created the most important island nation in the Pacific.

During 2013 let us all pray for God’s continued blessing and support for the leaders of the FSM, and for the Nation.