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    Tuesday, June 18, 2019-8:49:32A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Regional News

FSM delegation briefs Guam speaker

HAGÅTÑA (Office of the Legislative Speaker) — On Thursday June 6, 2019 the Joint Committee on Compact Review and Planning or JCRP of the Federated States of Micronesia paid a courtesy visit to Speaker Tina Rose Muna-Barnes. An invitation was extended to Minority Leader Wil Castro, as well as Sen. Clynton Ridgell.

The JCRP was empaneled trough legislation by the FSM Congress to examine the Compact of Free Association, focusing on the renegotiations, as well as the ending provisions of the current Compact which have yet to be implemented. The current Compact is set to terminate in 2023. Based on the recent visit of Compact states presidents with President Trump, it was reported that it is likely that the Compact will be extended.

The JCRP chairman, Asterio Takesy, shared during the courtesy visit that studies have shown that the FSM economy is not ready for self-sustainability, that there is a continued need for U.S. intervention, and ending the current Compact will result in the collapse of the FSM economy.

Along with the JCRP executive director, former FSM ambassador to the United States, Epel Ilon, as well as attorney Debrah Retuyan, staff counsel for the JCRP, the JCRP highlighted that it is important to take a regional approach to improving the economy in the FSM. It was pointed out that residents of the FSM do not want to leave their homes and families, but the state of the local economy in their home islands, have resulted with an influx of FSM citizens coming to Guam — the closest U.S. soil to the FSM.

The JCRP Secretariat expressed their gratitude for the hospitality toward FSM citizens on Guam, highlighting the spirit of Inafa Maolek that have been extended to FSM citizens. They also pointed out their embarrassment with regards to the recent machete incident and apologized for their citizens who misbehave and not follow local laws and norms.

Members of the FSM Joint Committee on Compact Review and Planning pose with Guam Speaker Tina Rose Muna-Barnes during a courtesy visit on June 6, 2019.  Office of the Guam Legislative Speaker photoMembers of the FSM Joint Committee on Compact Review and Planning pose with Guam Speaker Tina Rose Muna-Barnes during a courtesy visit on June 6, 2019. Office of the Guam Legislative Speaker photo

The JCRP also shared the successes of FSM communities around the country, specifically in Oregon, Washington, and Missouri. In Oregon, the FSM community was able to have legislation introduced to allow for in-state tuition for FSM residents in state-funded institutions. The JCRP further highlighted that Guam’s Maga’haga, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, “is the most qualified to understand regional economy and take the regional approach.” The JCRP mentioned that the current Compact Impact funds that are being afforded to Guam to offset the financial burden of the local government for services to migrants is arbitrary. They highlighted that Guam, an effected jurisdiction, can request additional Compact Impact funds provided adequate documentation is provided.

The JCRP held a town hall meeting for FSM citizens on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at the FSM Consulate’s Office. At the town hall, the JCRP mentioned to their citizens that “We as Micronesians, need to look out for each other. Those who are out of hand, it is on us to reign them in.”

The JCRP shared with its citizens that the economy of the FSM is flat, and that they are facing a $30 million to $40 million shortfall for the trust fund. The FSM government is the nation’s largest employer and is actively looking at measures to develop the private sector. In an effort to engage foreign investment, the FSM government is looking at ways to streamline the process to acquire land, as well as developing a skilled labor force. While Compact negotiations are set to commence with the United States, the FSM is also reaching out to other foreign nations.

Speaker Tina Rose Muna-Barnes stated at the town hall that “as a daughter of Guam, one with many Micronesian brothers and sisters, we need to come together, and work on a solution to the horrific stories we read about in the news.”

The speaker also shared that “in the last few days, ideas such as a Council of Elders from Sen. Clynt Ridgell, as well as proposals such as a sports league, and a family literacy center have been brought up to try and combat violence, but the successes of any of these programs depend on the local FSM community, so I am grateful to all of you who came today — wanting to make a difference in our community.”

A statement from the president of the FSM government condemning the machete attack was also shared with the speaker.