Thursday, December 5, 2013

The 19th Micronesian Chief Executives’ Summit opening day in Saipan

left to right: President Manny Mori -- FSM; President Christopher Loeak -- RMI; Governor Eddie Baza Calvo -- Guam; Governor Eloy Inos -- CNMI; Governor Sebastian Anefal -- Yap; Lt. Governor Carson Sigra -- Kosrae; President Tommy Remenasau Jr. -- Palau; Governor John Ehsa -- Pohnpei; and Mr. Sabino Asor, representing Governor Johnson Elimo of Chuuk

FSMIS (December 5, 2013): The Governors of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Territory of Guam and the FSM States of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae, along with the Presidents of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands began their Nineteenth Summit on December 4th at the Fiesta Resort in Saipan.

The Micronesian Chief Executives’ Summit is an annual gathering for the six Governors and the three Presidents to examine issues of common concern, agree on ways to collectively address shared challenges, and collaborate on strengthening opportunities in ways that benefit the Micronesian Region.
The Summit opened with the recognition of each of the Leaders along with the blowing of the conch shell – a tradition that is common among island cultures. The Summit’s theme is “With The Sea, We Are One” – stressing the centrality and uniting power of the ocean in the lives and affairs of the people of Micronesia.
Before each Leader gave his opening remark, Governor Eloy S. Inos of CNMI formally assumed and accepted the chairmanship of the Summit from President Christopher Loeak of the Marshall Islands who hosted last year’s meeting.

Governor Inos welcomed his counterparts and colleagues to Saipan and spoke of his Government’s support for the hosting and convening of this year’s meeting, which is his first as Governor. However, he has been to the process as he represented CNMI at the Summit last year in Majuro in his capacity then as the Lieutenant Governor.

In his opening remark, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) President Manny Mori, currently the longest sitting Member of the Summit, commented on the success of the organization in terms of the initiatives it lends support to. However, he noted the current status where the Summit seems to concern itself with a vast array of items at one time making it difficult to properly execute decisions. He strongly recommended to his colleagues that they revisit their agenda and agree to focus on three priority initiatives and undertakings within set timeframe to ensure the sufficient use of manpower, logistical and other resources. He specifically stressed the FSM’s interest in maintaining focus on the Micronesian Challenge, Tourism Development and the strengthening of the Micronesian Center for Sustainable Development within the Summit’s processes with the understanding that other entities might have slightly different agenda emphasis.   

Other Leaders spoke of the need to strengthen the effectiveness in implementing the decisions of the Summit. In that regard, the Leaders stated their agreement with the recommendation made by President Mori on rightsizing the Summit’s agenda of priority initiatives to pursue and sustain commitment.

The Leaders went into plenary session and took time to view a number of items starting with a presentation on current works by the Micronesian Chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in the area of tourism development.

The first day of the meeting ended with a presentation on the status of the joint FSM-Palau submarine fiber optic cable project to improve the telecommunication industry in their jurisdictions with significant assistance from the World Bank. 

Besides President Mori, the FSM Executives at the meeting include Governor Sebastian Anefal of Yap State, Governor John Ehsa of Pohnpei State and Lt. Governor Carson Sigra of Kosrae State. Governor Johnson Elimo from Chuuk State is represented by his Attorney General, Mr. Sabino Asor.

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  1. Hopefully our Micronesian leaders start checking with United Airlines about the high cost of airfare between Micronesia and the outside world. The airfare alone is not helpful to our tourism industry. We could have a united front in negotiations and researching with United Airlines on how to lower the airfare without bankrupting the company. I have confidence in our leaderships and the United Airline executives that a solution could be achieved. Some figures that could help us in understanding where I come from. Examples: Airfare from LA., Calif. to PNI, FSM O/W on United is $1656 Distance of 5579 miles. Airfare from LA, Calif. to Manila,PI O/W on Philippines Airlines is $499 distance of 7292 miles. Airfare from Honolulu to PNI FSM O/W on United is $1431 distance is 3092 miles. Airfare from LA, Calif to Honolulu O/W on United is $431 Distance of 2558 miles. Airfare from Honolulu to Majuro O/W on United is $1085 distance of 2309 miles. These are some figures on an average basis. I understand there are a lot of factors that contributed to the differences in the cost of airfare. But I think something can be done about it.

  2. The situation with high air transportation cost is a region-wide issue that is mostly acute where there is monopoly in this sector. Leaders have spoken and acted together in trying to address this. However, it is clear this is a business situation. And so long as our air transportation is at the mercy of one carrier, the cost will remain rather high in contrast with other destinations or countries.

  3. am trying to get in touch with Sabino Asor, here my email so who ever reads this can you please get him to write to me.. my email is thank you!! and God Bless!