FAICHUK STATEHOOD MOVEMENT TO MEET

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By George Hauk

NEPUKOS, Chuuk (October 17-30, 2002 - The Kaselehlie Press)---Faichuk Commission for Statehood, the forum that is responsible for the Faichuk statehood movement, will hold its 15th regular session at its usual conference chamber, the upstairs second floor of Aten’s & Associate.

Mayors, speakers, and traditional leaders of the eight municipalities of Faichuk are here to reinforce desires for separation. Faichuk population is at least 25,000 more than Yap and Kosrae states combined.

Faichuk Interim Gov. K.O. Paulus said "this is not a political tactic but rather the only way to develop the islands of Faichuk and its people economically."

Faichuk has been a part of Chuuk, formerly Truk, which has been receiving millions of dollars through the Compact with the United States. But its economic well-being is a nightmare.

Under the present distribution of Compact funding, Faichuk receives much less compared to what it would receive as a state, and even more as an independent nation. More benefits would pour in from foreign aid donors like Japan and Australia, the commission assured.

According to the Faichuk Declaration of Self-Governance: "We, the Pacific people of the islands of Faichuk, herewith state our intention to become an autonomous country within the great family of nations. Self-determination is the will of all peoples. A century of economic and social deprivation for the people of Faichuk must come to an abrupt end. The long train of political and social abuses makes it our duty to throw off existing governmental relations and establish a more responsive independent national government. We appeal to the United Nations, the United States, other nations and international agencies to recognize our plight and to extend social, political and material support to our insistent claim to just self-government.

"Our infrastructure is weakened by decades of neglect and underdevelopment. Our roads, power generation, water and sewage treatment, docks and airports are sadly lacking or in disrepair. Our educational and health facilities are dilapidated or nonexistent. Not even one local medical clinic serves our people. Fundamental public health and environmental protection processes are not occurring...Like other island peoples, our survival as a viable culture requires a modernization of infrastructure, one so far denied us. Like national independence movements before us, we too demand communication and transportation services, commercial, postal, banking and tourism enterprises, a hospital and higher education facilities," the declaration continues.

Paulus assured the commission that under a separate Faichuk, all islands will replant coconut trees and other crops. Faichuk people will be busy with copra making, a commodity of high demand, as well as other money-generating crops.

The FSM Congress will hold a regular session near the end of October and it is expected to introduce the Faichuk bill. According to Karsom Enlet, "FSM Congress is not that serious. If they need someone to go there and testify, we have been ready."

Since the 1970s, each move towards a Faichuk statehood was blocked either by presidential veto or legislative inaction.

According to the commission, the FSM Congress has the ability to pass the bill for Faichuk. Whether it will do that or not, the formal signing of the declaration goes into effect on Nov. 28, after FSM Congress has already been adjourned.

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