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Survey: FSM citizens on Guam oppose end of Compact, want Micronesia to be US territory

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — A survey of citizens and the descendants of those from the Federated States of Micronesia residing in Guam indicated that most respondents were opposed to a resolution that seeks to end the decades-old treaty between the United States and the FSM. Moreover, the results reflected that many believed the FSM should become a U.S. territory.

The survey was released on Feb. 21, after the FSM Congress wrapped up its third and latest session on Feb. 14. The FSM Congress took no action on Resolution C.R. 19-155 which was introduced by three of its members in November 2015. The resolution calls on FSM President Peter Christian to end the Compact of Free Association by 2018.

Richard Bossy, an island educator who organized a forum to discuss events in the FSM earlier this month at the University of Guam, said that he conceptualized the forum and survey as a concerned member of the FSM population residing in Guam. “I wanted to know if I shared the same concerns with the rest of the FSM population who are residents of Guam,” Bossy said.

Bossy’s team asked respondents if they agreed that the “FSM should terminate its treaty with the United States by 2018.”

Some 180 of 182 who were surveyed responded to the question. Overwhelmingly they responded “No” as less than 12 agreed and a couple of respondents weren’t sure. At least 148 respondents “strongly suggested” that the FSM should become a territory of the United States, with 28 respondents opposed.

A majority of those polled indicated that they were aware of Resolution 19-155, but acknowledged they did not know enough about it and wanted to learn more. A majority of respondents said additional public discourse would be beneficial to FSM citizens.

Bossy said he felt the survey represented the voice of FSM families residing in Guam which indicated that “Resolution C.R. 19-155 is not in their best interest,” said Bossy. “Most importantly, the survey shows how strongly the FSM citizens on Guam perhaps want to keep the treaty between the FSM and the United States.”

Bossy said he will share his survey results with the leaders of the FSM and individual states. “It will show the FSM national government as well as the other individual states as to where the FSM citizens who are residents of Guam stand,” Bossy said.

He said he hoped the survey helped to raise awareness with FSM citizens and encouraged them to stay connected with events in the FSM.

Micronesians residing on Guam attend a public event in this file photo.  The Guam Daily Post photoMicronesians residing on Guam attend a public event in this file photo. The Guam Daily Post photo

“I had hoped with the survey process it was a tool or means to inform and encourage every FSM citizen to take a stand or ownership of the current status of the FSM government as far as resolutions, laws and movements,” Bossy said. “The bottom line is to have all FSM citizens be more involved and aware of their FSM political and social status.”

Bossy said he asked UOG Professor Ron McNinch to “scrub” the survey questions to eliminate bias and personal influence before asking persons from the four FSM states — Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap — about their views on ending the Compact. A tabulation team that comprised UOG students tallied the results of the survey.

The survey demographics included responses from 182 individuals who ranged in age from 17 years old to 89 years old, with the age bracket of 19 to 21 having the most respondents - 33.

The collective brackets of individuals aged 17 to 29 consisted of 73 respondents, the number of individuals aged 30 to 59 was 79. And there were three respondents, ages 60 to 89 years old, with one respondent for every decade.

Among the 182 respondents, 67 identified themselves as students, 93 as employed in mostly service industries and 21 said they were unemployed.

The gender of respondents was almost split with 51 percent male and 49 percent female. Kosraeans had the most respondents with 70, persons of Chuukese descent accounted for 62 respondents and Pohnpeans and Yapese had 22 each. Of the remaining respondents, 3 identified as mixed with Chuukese blood, the remaining were non-responsive to the question of origin.

Resolution 19-155 was introduced by FSM Sens. Isaac Figir of Yap, and Bonsiano Nethon and Robson Romolow of Chuuk.

The resolution asks the president to terminate the amended Compact of Free Association as allowed in Section 441 of the amended compact which states the compact can be terminated by mutual agreement of the FSM and U.S. governments.

“I encourage every FSM citizens to realize the power they are entitled to under the FSM Constitution which specifically entitles everyone their freedom of speech rights,” Bossy said. “Let us all take a proactive effort in shaping and building our FSM. Let us all rise and not be spectators but be part of a change for the betterment of our livelihoods.”