ELECTIONS UNDER WAY IN CHUUK, FSM

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More than 100 citizens came to hear three candidates

By Bill Jaynes

POHNPEI, Federated States of Micronesia (Kaselehlie Press, Mar. 2, 2009) - Weno, Chuuk – On February 16 at the Weno campus of the College of Micronesia, more than a hundred people gathered to hear the views of the three candidates for Chuuk State Governor on issues that will effect the lives of every man, woman, and child in the state for the next four years.

[PIR editor’s note: Weno is an island within the island group of Chuuk. All are part of the Federated States of Micronesia FSM. ]

Winds periodically blasted through the venue where the 2009 Solutions Forum took place, whipping dust from the "road" into the eyes and lungs of the spectators, a not too subtle reminder of some of the problems that the winner of the election on March 3 will have to face.

The event was broadcast live on the Chuuk state radio station for listeners on Weno and on the lagoon and outer islands. The audio content was also streamed on the Internet. It began just before 10:00 that Monday morning and lasted until after 12:30. The 2009 Solutions Forum was organized by a committee from the College of Micronesia chaired by Joakim Peter. The committee solicited questions for the candidates from multiple sources in Chuuk and then met to determine which questions would be asked and how they would be worded.

Gillian Doone, Redley Killion, and incumbent Governor Wesley Simina were provided a list of the possible questions in advance of the event. There was a slate of 29 questions. 21 were asked of the candidates. Joakim Peter was the moderator and time limits were strictly observed and enforced. The candidates were each given two minutes to respond to the questions and five minutes each for a summation. Candidates answered questions on governance issues, issues of the economy, health, education and environment. Candidates had been asked to answer the questions in the language of the COM campus, the English language but the candidates answered in a blend of English and Chuukese.

Incumbent, Governor Simina spoke entirely in Chuukese. The Kaselehlie Press relied on the English translation skills of Joakim Peter and Roger Arnold of the Chuuk Campus of the College of Micronesia in order to cover the event. Representations of candidates’ answers are based on those translations. Transparency is a major component of democratic governance.

The Kaselehlie Press © 2008 The Kaselehlie Press

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