Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia

Speaker Figir highlights rule of law at national debate

Weno, Chuuk (FSM Congress): July 13, 2009 - Speaker Isaac V. Figir of the 16th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia provided Keynote remarks for the 2009 Law Day Debate as hosted by the FSM Supreme Court in the State of Chuuk.

A flag raising ceremony by the Chuuk State Department of Public Safety officially launched the 2009 Law Day Debate with the National Anthem sung by Ms. Plisan M. Mori. Following the opening ceremonies outside of the Chuuk FSM Supreme Court Building, the ceremony moved inside where Director of Administration for the national Judiciary Branch, Kapilly Capelle presided as MC for the Law Day ceremonies. Father Basilio Dilipy offered the invocation and began the ceremonies inside the Court House.

Chief Justice of the Chuuk State Supreme Court, the Honorable Camillo Noket welcomed the teams and the audience to the state and to the main event of Law commemoration in the FSM.

His message underlined the importance of the rule of law in a democratic nation, "the rule of law is a privilege and obligation of citizenship, nothing distinguishes our country a free nation more than our belief in the rule of law."

Speaker Figir further highlighted the importance of the rule of law in his statement when he began his remarks referencing the importance of law to the FSM and how the Founding Fathers decided early on to set aside a day for the nation to celebrate the law. Today's law day debates echo in spirit the athletic competitions that, then, celebrated liberation and he noted that just as "liberation is essential to our history, so is law to our continued existence as a nation."

He also referenced the backbone of the nation's laws, the FSM Constitution and its two main function: 1. to regulate the internal functioning of the national government and its interactions of the governments within the federation; 2. to regulate the interaction between the government and the individual citizens.

Speaker noted that these functions involve the rule of law and individual choices and how at times the two might not be in agreement, however in order for a society to function, the rule of law cannot be optional, it must remain mandatory. While the law must be obeyed, the Speaker pointed out, that there are however mechanisms established in democratic societies like FSM to address those disagreements with the law, and they're called amendments to the law.

As a long-time legislator, Speaker Figir said he find "this year's topic extremely thought provoking" because simmering underneath the import of turkey tail and spam is the debate on "the role and the rule of law as it affects individual lives."

The 2009 Law Day debate proposition is on the following resolution:

"BE IT RESOLVED THAT, in the interest of improving the health of the citizens and residents of the Federated States of Micronesia, the importation of the following items into the FSM shall be prohibited by law:

  1. Turkey Tail;
  2. Canned Corn Beef;
  3. Spam;
  4. Instant Ramen Noodle; and
  5. Such other products as may be determined by statute or regulation to be unhealthful."

A high school team of two student debaters and one coach represent each of the four states; those high school and team members are:

Team Chuuk from Xavier High School: Kayviann Hallers and Libyan Finelab with Coach Robin Jordan;

Team Kosrae from Kosrae High School: Julie D. Anton and WandaJune S. Linus with Coach Lyna George;

Team Pohnpei from Nanpei Memorial High School: Judith Chunn and Travis Herman with Coach Cheryl Meyer; and

Team Yap from Yap High School: Vivian Miginigad and Zachary Tman with Coach Brian Ramngen.

Chuuk Associate Justice of the FSM Supreme Court, Ready E. Johnny, delivered the closing remarks and further underscored the importance for a society to recognize and respect the law, because it is the fundamental protector of individual citizen's right to life, peace and liberties.

Pastor Jody Colson of the Weno Baptist Church offered the benediction to close the formal portion of the ceremonies of the Law Day Debate 2009.

For further information on this release, please contact:

Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia
Public Information Office
P.O Box PS-3
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2324/2325
Fax.: (691) 320-5122