President Mori's State visit to Chuuk
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): July 4, 2008 - The President was able to make his last State Visit to his home state of Chuuk from June 9-14. Most of his cabinet and a few assistant secretaries and key staff were able to accompany him to Chuuk. The President and most of his party arrived in Chuuk on Friday, June 6, as the Saturday flight was completely sold out.
The plenary meeting with the Chuuk State leadership took place on Monday, June 9, at the Kurassa conference hall where more than 200 people were assembled to hear the speeches and follow the discussions on important issues for the Nation and Chuuk State in particular.
In a meeting over the weekend between the President and his delegation and Governor Simina and his key staff, the draft agenda was finalized after more than 2 hours of discussion at the High Tide hotel. The agreed upon issues for the plenary meeting include the financial reforms for Chuuk, energy crisis, food security, infrastructure, education & health, transportation & communications, and law enforcement & immigration.
In order not to waste time on speeches, it was agreed that only 3 officials will speak at the plenary: Weno Mayor Florentino Robert, Governor Simina and President Mori. The first two speakers made welcome remarks while President Mori spoke mostly of the reforms, the need for Chuuk State Government and the people to press on with the reforms, and the new challenges for the Nation and Chuuk State with respect to energy crisis and food security, two of the issues on the agenda that he consider to be urgent and needing immediate attention and action.
In his remark, the President emphasized the need for our people to become more self reliant and more local resource-dependent, and to consider going back to our traditional mode of transportation and way of feeding ourselves. With food security, the President pointed out the new reality where the price of rice had reached, if not exceed, $30 a bag, effectively taking rice out of the reach of many of our people. And, prospects are bleaker for the future. He urged the leaders and people to start planting more food crops now, as import substitution, that they can depend on as rice will become even more costly and no longer affordable as a daily staple. To hammer home his message and demonstrate the urgency he attaches to food security, the President planted breadfruit and banana seedlings at every stop he made in Southern Namoneas and Faichuk in addition to Weno. He had the planting materials air freighted all the way from Pohnpei to Chuuk.
Three positive things happened as a result of and during the state visit. First, the "soft landing" checks were issued to employees who were terminated from public service. This came about as a result of the President's insistence that the RIF list be finalized while he was in Chuuk. Second, a document was signed between the President and the Chuuk State leadership following their meeting on Weno, reflecting their agreements on the issues and necessary follow up actions. This is the first time ever that a document was signed on a State Visit. Third, a legal opinion from the Chuuk State Attorney General was issued with respect to easements for the Weno roads that could allow re-construction of the roads to commence after so much delay. Again, this resulted from the President's urging for the need to start on the roads to allow the infusion of much needed capital into Chuuk State's economy.
The President was also able to urge the Chuuk State leadership and people to continue on the reforms as the most credible way for Chuuk to emerge from the financial crisis that it has been in for too long. He was also successful in conveying his message for our people to start planting food crops as a hedge for the future given the escalating cost of rice and other food stuffs which are getting too expensive for the people. On the energy crisis, he urged the people to consider going back to some of our traditional mode of transportation given that a gallon of gas is now priced at nearly $6 and may soon be selling for much more as in some European countries. He also pointed out the urgent need for conservation measures on the part of everyone and for the use of alternative energy wherever and whenever possible as a way to lighten the increasing financial burden on our people resulting from the high cost of fuel.
During his visit and in spite of his hectic schedule, the President made a remark at the commencement exercise for the Weno High School and held a separate meeting with members of the Chuuk Chamber of Commerce which he considers an important entity in the State that has an important role to play in seeing Chuuk emerge from the financial crisis it's in.
Most observers in my view will agree the visit was a great success not only because of the accomplishments that are noted above but because the President's presence in Chuuk at this juncture gave a needed boost to the confidence and comfort of the people that their President is not abandoning them and that he is fully committed to Chuuk State and the reforms.
A supplemental release will be made covering his visits to the islands in southern Namoneas and Faichuk.
For further information on this release, please contact:
FSM Office of the President Public Information: Press, Radio, Video P.O Box 34 Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941 Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092 Fax.: (691) 320-4356 e-mail: email@example.com http://www.fsmpio.fm/