Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia

Yap holds State funeral for first Congress Floor Leader Tman

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Congress): July 30, 2009 - The national flag are at half-mast this week for four days to honor the passing of the Honorable Luke Masaharu Tman, the First Floor Leader of the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia.

The former Congressman was called to his eternal rest on Sunday, July 12 2009 in the State of Yap. He was 71.

A State Funeral has been scheduled for the morning of July 29th at the Yap State Legislature where the former Congressman will lie in state at the Legislative Chamber for the services and for public viewing. After the State Funeral services at the Yap State Legislature Chamber, the remains of the late Congressman will be transported by motorcade to his residence in Faraa village in Kanifay. At his residence the Yap State Leadership will accord the departed leader the traditional tributes.

According to the funeral program, the body of the late Tman will lie in residence at Faraa village until the burial services scheduled for the afternoon of July 31, 2009, at the family cemetery.

A Special Envoy of the FSM government headed by the First Speaker of the FSM Congress, the Honorable Bethwel Henry, will be at the State Funeral services to lay-to-rest yet another Founding Father of the nation.

Called one of the Founding Fathers, Tman was among those men who literally cleared the way for a new nation. They were men who understood that the winds of change were upon the islands and that independence and sovereignty is the path to weather the change.

The late Tman is often referred to by his colleagues as an analytical thinker; he was as sharp as he was witty. Tman's primary education was at St. Mary's in Yap with secondary education at the Pacific Islands Central School (PICS) in the then Truk District, while his tertiary education was undertaken at the College of Guam.

Tman's employment history is a testament to a true contemporary leader whose ideals and thoughts preceded his time. His first job after graduation was at the Yap Weather Station and then at the Yap Trading Company which were at the time the two main local employers. All the while he was attuned to the political pulse of the Micronesian region which resulted in his hiring by the TTPI's Micronesian Reporter as the paper's first Micronesian reporter in 1961. He started out as an editorial clerk, but his writing skills and analytical perspectives quickly moved him up to editorial assistant and finally to the position of Assistant Information Officer for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands Administration at the Headquarters in Saipan.

His work on Saipan was however not limited to journalism only, when Tman was on hiatus from the Micronesian parliament, he served as a special assistant to the High Commissioner for Public Relations and at another time held post of director for the government's political education programs. His final position in the Trust Territory Headquarters was his appointment as Chief of the Division of Civic Affairs in 1970. He maintained the post for the next two years. In June of 1972, Tman got his final appointment by the High Commissioner, this time to serve his home District of Yap as its Deputy District Administrator. His appointment to the Yap District was however short-lived because in November of the same year he was re-elected to the Sixth Congress of Micronesia and seated in 1973.

The late Tman was a firm believer in creating a synthesis between traditional systems and modern realities, between the old and new and therefore championed the concept of "greater Micronesian participation" in Micronesian affairs. He was a member of the Commission on the Future Political Status and Transition and he was also a Delegate in the historic crossroad of 1975, the Micronesian Constitutional Convention.

Tman's political history began on July 12, 1965 when he was seated as a representative of Yap District to the House of Representatives of the new Congress of Micronesia and maintained his post until 1968. In 1973, he was again seated to the Congress of Micronesia, this time as the Floor Leader of the House of Representative of the Sixth Congress. He maintained the role until the Congress of Micronesia transitioned to the Interim Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia in November 1978.

Then during the elections for the national congress of the newly formed Federated States of Micronesia, Tman was elected to be the new State of Yap's Congressional District 1 representative to the First FSM Congress. On May 10, 1979, Luke M. Tman was elected Floor Leader of the newly established national Congress. He served the nation in that capacity during the First and Second FSM Congress, from 1979 to 1983.

In addition to his first employments and appointment by the TTPI High Commissioner, Tman's experience in Yap remained around the political arena. From 1983 thru 1987, he served as a Special Consultant to the Department of Public Affairs. Thereafter, the remainder of his employment at the state level was concentrated in the field of law, at the Yap State Supreme Court from 1987 through the 2004. His services to the Yap Court of Law range from that of a Law Clerk to a Special Associate Justice.

Tman was a staunch believer in the judicial system and the rule of law and, ironically, he was called to his eternal rest on 12th of July 2009, FSM Law Day.

Tman is survived by his children and his grandchildren.

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