Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

President Mori, Cabinet and Congress Members visit Mwoakilloa and Pingelap

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): October 20, 2010 - President Mori, cabinet and congress members left Pohnpei on board the FSM field trip ship MS Caroline Voyager on October 8, and arrived in Mwoakilloa on the morning of October 9, 2010. All residents of Mwoakilloa, from children to elders, were at the beach to give President Mori and his party, a jubilant island-style welcome under the auspices of the island Chief Magistrate, Onio Edmond, and one of the nation's founding fathers, Bethwel Henry.

The President was accompanied on this trip by First Lady Emma Nelson Mori, Vice Speaker Fredrico Primo, Lt. Governor Churchill Edward, Senator Peter Christian, State Senator Nihlis Ernest, Secretary Marion Henry, Deputy Secretary Jane Chigiyal, Post Master General Midion Neth, Dr. Mayleen Ekiek, Special Assistant to the President Marz Akapito, Marine Transportation Ships Operation Manager Paul James, Mrs. Oleen Poll Peter, Mr. and Mrs. Kiyoshi Phillip, Ms. Marlyter Silbanuz, Mr. Billy Edward, Mr. Keller Elliam, Mr. Hegileisa, Mr. Biza and Mr. Norman Jr.

In his welcoming address, Bethwel Henry underscored how appreciative the island was to President Mori for "bringing the executive branch, your office, to Mwoakilloa." Mori confirmed that the purpose of his trip was to bring the government closer to the people, to meet with the outer island residents and discuss important government issues.

After the official meeting, Mori and his delegation were given a tour of the island by State Senator Ishmael Lebehn, before being treated to a feast at the local elementary school.

On Sunday morning, Mori and his delegation attended the church on Mwoakilloa and then left for Pingelap, arriving in the early morning of October 11. The delegation was warmly received by the traditional leaders of Pingelap, government officials, Church leaders and the local residents. An official meeting was held at the Pingelap Municipal office, followed by a lunch and a tour of the island.

On both Mwoakilloa and Pingelap, the government and outer island residents gathered for briefings and "question-and-answer" sessions covering numerous topics of concern, including: food security, copra production, tidal erosion, maintenance of existing "projects" such as the solar power systems, climate change, and alternative power generation options. The Mayor of Pingelap, Makir Keller, in particular, also raised the pressing issue of the limited sea and air transportation options for the island residents, causing negative impacts on their livelihood.

President Mori explained that the high cost of airfares with Caroline Island Air was due to the small size of the plane, which can only accommodate a maximum of five passengers at a time; and the high cost of the type of fuel needed for the particular airplane used by CIA, a different fuel from the standard one used by regular airlines.

Regarding the lengthy time periods between the FSS Caroline Voyager's stops at the outer islands, Mori stressed that there was only one ship currently available for routing to the outer islands of Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap. Mori, however, drew attention to the fact, that this issue will hopefully be resolved within 2011, as the existing ships for the Chuuk outer islands and for the Yap outer islands should have both undergone all their necessary reparations in the near future.

Concerning food security, Mori and members of his delegation, repeatedly urged the islanders to continue to plant local crops and minimize their reliance on foreign imports.

The President returned to Pohnpei with the CIA plane in the afternoon of October 11, along with Senator Christian, Secretary Henry, Director Yatilman, Post Master General Neth, and State Senator Ernest. Mori precipitated his return in order to receive British Ambassador Stephen Lillie's letters of credence.

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