Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM loses HESA Secretary Benjamin

Palikir, POHNPEI (FSM Information Services): July 6, 2004 - The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia officially announce the death of the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Social Affairs, Dr. Jefferson B. Benjamin, on July 6, 2004.

Secretary Benjamin had suffered a cardiac arrest in his office this morning. The Secretary was transported to the Pohnpei State Hospital where he was later pronounced dead at 9:55am. Secretary Benjamin was 50.

The National Government is consulting with Secretary Benjamin's family on the funeral arrangements.

President Joseph J. Urusemal has ordered the National flag at half-mast for four-days. He expressed that the passing of Secretary Benjamin is a "tremendous loss not only to the National Government, but the entire Nation, most especially in the areas of health, education and social affairs."

The President said Secretary Benjamin was avid in his pursuit for measurable improvements in health and education. He was unfaltering in his determination to preserve a healthy and prosperous future.

"He renewed in all of us, an optimistic view of tomorrow," the President said.

He continued that Secretary Benjamin's strong faith in God and his steadfast believe in the goodness of man will always be an inspiration to his Administration. President Urusemal said the passing of Secretary Benjamin would "not only be missed by his colleagues and staff in the Administration, but also by the many people affected by Jeff's kindness and humility. His absence will be sorely felt."

Secretary Benjamin has an extensive background in both the health and education sectors. He held numerous posts in both fields as an educator, a doctor and advisor. He joined the National Government in 1993 as the Administrator for the Division of Medical Care under the Department of Health and during the reorganization, became the Assistant Secretary of Health under the Department of HESA.

He was sworn into office in September 2003, to head the FSM Department of Health, Education and Social Affairs under the Administration of President Urusemal, where he had served his duties diligently until his untimely passing.

Secretary Benjamin is survived by his wife Kathleen and their five children.

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