CHUUK GOVERNOR MEETS GUAM EXPATRIATES

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By Katie Worth

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Aug. 2) - More than 100 people gathered at the Astumbo Community Center on Guam yesterday to hear the governor of Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia speak about their home islands' condition.

Chuuk Gov. Ansito Walter and several of his Cabinet members were on island as part of a trip to Guam and Saipan to meet with Chuukese communities.

"We want to show them the current state of the Chuuk government," said Walter before the meeting. "They need to know the facts, not the rumors. That's why we're here."

Walter estimated about 5,000 Chuukese live on Guam and said the last population count found 51,000 residents in the islands of Chuuk.

"This community here on Guam is very important," he said. "It's very important to us because many of them are our future leaders because they're here getting the best education they can.

Hagatna resident Gina Quitugua, 54, said she grew up in Chuuk but moved to Guam more than 30 years ago. She said she still votes in the Chuukese elections, and attended the meeting yesterday to hear what's going on in Chuuk's government.

"I try to keep up with what's going on there because I have a lot of family still there, and from what I hear from people who come here, it's really in a state of needing repair," she said.

Quitugua said she has great concerns about the government, which she said for years has been riddled in mismanagement.

"I don't think it's money because you see, there's a lot of federal money going there. So I think it needs better management of the funds, a better accounting system ... They need a lot of people who are able to do what needs to be done - not just anybody who's related or whatever, but people who are educated and experienced and non-biased," she said.

"I think it will take a very, very special administration with a lot of educated people working for it to bring the government even to half of what the people of Chuuk deserve," she said. "They really have their job cut out for them."

Dededo resident Isabel Gawel, 53, said she moved away from Chuuk about 30 years ago and has been on Guam for the last 11 years, but she returns to Chuuk when family matters come up. She said she was attending the meeting to learn more about the governor and what he's doing for Chuuk.

"I think he's trying his best, but there is a lot to be done," she said. "But the most important, I think, is education and health.

" ... We should concentrate on our young generations because they should be the future of the island, our main resources."

Walter is nearing the end of his second - and final - term as governor of Chuuk State, with the next election for governor scheduled for March of next year.

He said there are three contenders vying for the position of governor, but hedged questions on whether he is endorsing any of them.

"All of them are brilliant, handsome and very capable," he said. "They are all my people."

August 2, 2004

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

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