Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM Congress News, October 27, 2003

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Congress): October 27, 2003 - Today Speaker Peter Christian called on the chairmen of each affected standing committee for a join discussion to consider a proposal to restructure the Executive Branch of the national government that was recently transmitted to Congress by President Urusemal. Senator Dohsis Halbert, chairman of the Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations will chair the discussion.

In his October 21, communication letter to the speaker, President Urusemal stated that the rationale for the request is to provide the resources and organizational structure to respond to the new demands and opportunities anticipated under the amended Compact and its related agreements. The communication further stated that some other adjustments are needed in order to improve executive branch performance, and listed three major areas of improvement: (1) the creation of an Office of Economic Management and Budget; (2) the transfer of certain existing national functions to this new office (including economic policy and planning, statistics, and budget) and the transfer of the office of the Registrar to the Department of Justice; and (3) the creation of a Department of Resources and Development by consolidating the remaining functions of the Department of Economic Affairs with those of the Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure.

Senator Isaac Figir, Chairman of the Committee on External Affairs expressed appreciation to Members of Congress for casting unanimous affirmative votes expressing agreement on the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons, including diplomatic agents. In his statement, Figir stated that the Convention recognized that crimes against diplomatic agents and other internationally protected persons present a serious threat to the maintenance of normal international relations. The Convention would not only protect and prevent crimes against officials and staff of the United Nations and diplomatic personnel, it would also protect FSM's own young men and women who are serving in the U.S. military, Figir stated.

Senator Dohsis Halbert, Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations voted for the Convention, but said he failed to see how the Convention could protect our people. He made reference to FSM citizens serving in the war in Irag, where one citizen, a resident of his State of Pohnpei, lost both legs and an arm while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Congress deferred action on three bills that were up for 2nd and Final Reading. One bill that would reallocate certain funds appropriated for the State of Yap, and two bills that would limit the terms of ambassador's in offices and to the immigration moratorium bill.

The bills were deferred to Thursday's plenary to allow for clarification of the language of proposed amendments.

Before the opening of today's plenary, which started as usual with a moment of silent prayer, Speaker Christian asked Members to pray for Senator Jack Fritz's father who passed away yesterday, October 26, in the State of Chuuk. Congress went into recess at 11:56 a.m. and will reconvene tomorrow, October 28, at 10:00 a.m.

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