FAICHUK FORGES FORWARD FOR FSM STATEHOOD

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By George Hauk

NEPUKOS, Weno, Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (July 25-August 7, 2002 – The Kaselehlie Press)---Amid a corner that is littered with such weightlifting devices as dumb bells and a bench press, the Faichuk Commission for Statehood presses on with measures for its quest for statehood within the Federated States of Micronesia.

The Atens & Associates building located on the Chuuk capital island of Weno, held this 13th regular session of the commission July 18th.

Chaired by former Chuuk Governor Erhart Aten, the commission is made up of FSM, Chuuk State, and Faichuk municipal government leaders. The commission now homes in on what measures to take to the FSM Congress when it convenes in October. It is crucial to the people of Faichuk for the FSM Congress to introduce their bill in this upcoming regular session. However, even if the bill is introduced on the floor, the commission is uncertain of its adoption. This is the heart of the commission’s concern, especially since the same law-making body declined to introduce the same bill in its previous session.

In addition to Chuuk Senate resolutions to the FSM Congress, "respectfully requesting support" to the Faichuk movement, other Faichuk Commission resolutions include those of Hawai‘i legislators in Washington Daniel Akaka, Daniel Inoue, Neil Abercrombie and Patsy Mink; U.S. President George Bush; and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The commission also adopted, among others, Faichuk Commission Resolution Nos.77 and 78.

FCR-77 conveys an invitation to the U.S. military to come to Faichuk, while FCR-78 conveys to the Chuuk Governor Faichuk’s wishes to become a State as evidenced by resolutions adopted by the Chuuk State Legislature.

An impression this reporter gets from the flamboyant commissioner and warrior-type traditional leader and farmer Aten, serious but fun-humorous interim Governor K.O. Paulus, and wrestling-fit champion and senior Faichuk Senator Setiro Paul, is that the commission is dead serious. It will not stop its forward move just in case the FSM Congress does not help the Faichuk people by passing their bill. According to the Commission, the possibility of asking the U.S. Government for a commonwealth status similar to that of the Northern Marianas is possible. Or, in the words of other delegates, "we go for independence."

According to the Faichuk Commission for Statehood, it is better for both Chuuk State and Faichuk for Faichuk to become a separate State. More opportunities will spring up in the Faichuk islands, ranging from farming and fishing industries, government-run services and the private sector development. The Faichuk human resource will leave Chuuk for Faichuk and open up opportunities for Chuukese who now are jobless because Faichukese fill their slots. When weighing the benefits under a new Faichuk State, both Faichuk and Chuuk will benefit, especially in the long run.

From a different angle, the Commission says it will sue the FSM national government on the ground that it does not consider the poor welfare of the Faichuk people, especially now as negotiations between the FSM and the U.S. for renewed funding of Compact of Free Association support are about to finish.

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