FSM Budget: What's the Story?

edited September 2006 in General
Anybody know if OCM and FSM National managed to get a budget submitted to the US JEMCO? If they didn't vote on approving the budget at the meeting in August, are we going to be getting any money next month? I hope there are some people in Palikir worrying about this because I've heard there are a lot of problems and that some divisions are going to lose funding this year.

If anyone has information on this please share!
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Comments

  • edited November 2006
    Boxer, ask your congressman Mr. Sitan! He should know.
  • As of this morning FSM Congress has not deliberated on the budget and information has it that they might act on it tomorrow, which may also be their last day of session. Talk to your congressional representatives for update.

    As far as FY07 funding we will enter the new Fiscal Year without approved avaialbe funding because the same budget will be forwarded to JEMCO in Honolulu for their review and final approval before the release of the funds can be made. The question is how are we going to provide the necessary services to the public without the available resources?
  • The question is why didn't JEMCO pass the budget in August, when it met in Honolulu? Sorry that I don't have access to my Congressman, but what went wrong? Also I don't really understand how Congress can vote on a budget that JEMCO hasn't passed. Won't there be changes made to the budget before it's passed, or does Congress just hope it gets passed without changes?
  • Ooooooooooooooooo....This just in! NEWS FLASH: Cohen will review all budgets of the country, WITHOUT Yap' State's FY07 budget. Apparently, someone misinformed the Yap State leadership that their submitted budget was incompliance with JEMCO requirements. It was not. But there are good news. The rest of the FSM will no longer be oppressed by the delay and will be paid soon. Hip-hip-hooooray!
  • Well here is latest news.

    Most all the compact money has been allocated. Its interesting to note that Environmental Sector Grant only got 1.4 million for the entire FSM. Given the importance of the environment, both to tourism, fishing industry, and local livelyhood, its nice that JEMCO has allowed so much money to be given to this sector.
  • Mr. Boxer,

    Isn't that the proper procedure that the FSM Congress has to pass it before JEMCO can finalize it? Passing a budget bill in the FSM Congress does necessarily constitue the approval of such bill. There are actions that can be taken afterward. I am not really sure.
  • How about passing a resolution, prior to JEMCO review? Enacting such public laws will make JEMCO members outlaws in the FSM, if they don't approve accordingly with public laws, and merely introducing a bill without enactment may be inadequately unofficial.

    The last option may be most politically incorrect but logically sound: We bypass all legislative procedures when it comes to compact funds at congress and state legislatures. I think JEMCO and OIA will appreciate the timeliness of this option, but they may miss our senators' undivided attention. Mr. Deputy Secretary of OIA may oppose less audience from local legislative bodies, during his belittling speeches. Just one opinion among many.
  • The budget for 2007 is done for most of the Departments, Offcies,a nd Agencies, in teh National Government, and teh 4 States. Except that some divisions or programs under C&I, or R&D, Agriculture, Marine Resources,a nd Environmental Agencies must redo their budget, and submit to JEMCO with in 30 days.
  • where do you get that from?
  • I thought the president submit his fiscal year budget plan to the congress for approval and then forwarded to JEMCO for final consideration. I don't know how the budget plan dance steps in FSM. Please feat the fire on this Friendo.
  • The meeting was last week in Hawaii. It was a TELECONFERENCE Meeting, I am funded from the Private Sector funds, and need to redo my budget otherwise, I may not be funded at all. Chuuk has about $1.5million funding under the PRIVATE SECTOR COMPACT FUND, that money may be given to other sector. It is now a fact of life, many people working in all the 4 States have no compact budget at this time, if JEMCO does not approved their next budget submission, then they would have to be funded by the local revenue, or be taken out from their jobs.
  • Ah interesting to see what everyone is talking about here.

    Presently Chuuk has 3 departments that are having problems. This involves Marine Resources, Agriculture, and C&I. There are two reasons why these departments are having problems. First is when they had originaly turned in there budgets, state had some virus or something which caused the budget files not to be sent. This was the first problem. Second problem is all these Departments have are over 70 percent personnel cost in their budgets. I know that C&I and Agriculture were above 79%. Marine Resources according to JEMCO was 73%(Jemco presented this percentage as overall and not division/project specific), reality though is Marine Resources overall personnel cost was actualy 67%.

    Know some interesting news. I learned for example Chuuk Historic Preservation Office under C&I, originaly had met the max of 70% personnel cost, but when State cut budgets for project all they had was personnel cost, thus being penalized by JEMCO. Do you realize that these departments had to submit 4 different budget formats. In other words they had to redo not only their budgets 4 times, but also layout and formating of each budget. Know, State of Chuuk has given them a 5 new budget format, that is actually inproper format. Each project has to have strategic mission and goal. Normaly thats done at Division or Departmental Level. Its once you get the the Objective level were you get to the projects. But enough of that, any case another totaly new format for these departments to do.

    No offense, but if these departments are having so much trouble, why arent people giving them more help. This is clear sign that they have problems doing budgets and need help. Also, is OIA or JEMCO people giving them any help or not.
  • MJ,

    Your BIG HEART for the Chuukese Government employees has clouded your analysis of the Budget Submittal problem!

    First, you make it sound like those departments and the whole State Government had trouble with their budget submission because JEMCO penalizes them for exceeding their personnell cost levels in some cases. Or using up their entire operations budget ceiling soley on their personnel costs. IS THAT A JEMCO problem, or a CHUUK STATE problem?

    Doesn't Chuuk State consider streamlining its personnel costs so that it can accommodate both personnel and programs/service within each department's operations budget ceiling? Of course JEMCO expects a department to budget for both services and personnel. What is the use of paying personnel salary that does no work?

    If Chuuk State cannot bring itself to face reality and reduce the size of its payroll, (i.e. lay off marginal employees, i.e. political hires), then there is no point paying employees with no work to do. Might as well just give out money to everybody inside and outside the government on Christmas day!

    On the problem with the different (five?) budget format and writing program justification and objective.

    How difficult is it to write a budget in one format and then into a different format? They are essentially the same numbers, figures, words, spellings, sentences grouped together in one way or another. Aren't they? Or filling a different shape of box or layout or chart or graph! Does it require rewriting sentences or recomputing figures and numbers form one format to another? I'm sure we have educated and experienced financial technocrats in our Chuuk State government to oversee every department's budget compilation work. And there has been numerous workshops between the states and the national government and JEMCO on those budget formatting work. It cannot be like reinventing the wheel every time you switch from Format One to Format Two and Three.

    The whole thing simply sounds like all it requires is a new level of work ethics and discipline that our technical people find it hard to get used to. But we can be sure that whoever our current Historic Preservation Officer in Chuuk can easily write a sentence setting out the objective of the Historic Program and justifying its budget requests. Nobody gets appointed into those offices without the basic writing and thinking skills. Uh, huu!
  • To Taxi-Womw

    Trust me I dont have a big heart for Government Employees. I realize that the right thing is to reduce employees on the payroll. This is something that I know personaly Chuuk State would rather not do. Thats something I cant force, actualy making any mention of reducing employees almost seems to be a bad word here in Chuuk. What I am trying to do is work with the situtation and make it as efficent as possible. Trust me this isnt easy.

    Also, you think that people can easly write up things, that is so American, face the facts. Facts are most people who work arent even qualified for the jobs they fill. There are a few who might qualify given that they have a good amount of local knowledge. Though as whole, they are not qualified. You be surprized what kind of questions I gotten in the past, like for example, whats difference between activity and output. Not only that, but I been asked a lot of questions just involving excel.

    Problem here is people assume that people in positions are qualified and have same basic skills as Americans do. Sadly this is not always the case. With this there are two ways of dealing with it. First is to help people who dont know, understand. In otherwords teach them. Jemco with all their money could easly have made little how too guide with examples, and suggestions. The other solution is to simply remove people who arent qualified, or who cant justify their position. Knowing how things are in Chuuk, this wont happen anytime soon, even though its the right thing to do. Result is you have to work with the first way of dealing with the problem. Helping people better understand, try to work with the system to improve it. Its amazing how inefficent things are in government. Without doing drastic changes in things you can streamline things, and make improvements.

    One last thing, this is how information gets sent down. Jemco/OIA sends an email to Governor. There is then a staff meeting with all the department heads. Letter or whatever is then passed down to department heads who in turn tell their individual department. Generally there is lack of constructive critisism, or suggestions on how to improve. Additude is either you comply or not. Problem here is if people dont understand things in first place, how are they going to learn. In the end, a lot of money is being wasted. If people dont understand, either train them, or remove them from payroll. We all know removing people from payroll is unthinkable.
  • Please forgive me but let me add one additional comment. Following was written "I'm sure we have educated and experienced financial technocrats in our Chuuk State government to oversee every department's budget compilation work. And there has been numerous workshops between the states and the national government and JEMCO on those budget formatting work. It cannot be like reinventing the wheel every time you switch from Format One to Format Two and Three. "

    There are some problems with that statement. Chuuk really doesnt have educated and experienced financial technocrats, and if there are, they are not helping oversee varous departments budgets. Secondly you mentioned how there been numerous workshops between state, FSM and Jemco. I have some news to you, not everyone who needed to go to them attended. Secondly there werent enough of them. Third problem is often they were more or less restrictive on who went. Fourth, employees to change, so person who was originaly sent might have changed jobs. Its amazing to know how much shifting of employees there are in varous departments.

    So Miss, wake up and smell the coffee. Fact something was done, or happened such as workshop, doesnt mean that it was enough. Whole purpose of Compact II was to help people learn how to be more accountable.
  • K-Press has a story coming out in the next issue on this topic which I hope will be helpful. Unfortunately it will be coming out on the day that Pohnpei State will not be able to legally pay the employees of several departments including FIB...
  • It is true that the personnal cost may be too high, but the real reason that JEMCO would like to cut the budget for the three Departments are clear, what have they done to the money they speant last year? Hoe much in term of dollare the three Departments have generated in terms of generating jobs, businesses, or increase to the taxes in the State? What are the economic impacts? This is a performance budgeting. Can they justify, why they should be funded? Thnk about it first. The entire FSM has been warned before, but nothing is done to preapere the FSm for the consequenses. It is not just CHuuk State, but it si the entire FSM.
  • It is interesting to see how some of you are indeed concerned about the FSM FY07 budget, which at this moment is still hanging in space, awaiting some constructive adjustments by some key people in the governments, both state and national. They've been given conditions to adjust the budget ASAP and forward it back to Jemco, no later than the 30th October. However, some key staff who were suppose to facilitate and expedite the process of this budget adjustments and submission had left FSM and went to a conference in China. Rumor has it that some congress members also went to China, while the middle managers are pondering over what to do with the budget. Bottom line is...one gets the feeling that the negotiations over Compact II Economic Assistance hasn't really been concluded yet, because of the ways things are. Donor country shouldnt really be micro-managing how their foreign aid is spent by the recipient country, and that is basically what's happening here. The Congress refused to negotiate the budget with JEMCO because the latter is slashing cuts in the budget which inevitably would have to be picked up by local revenues...and this is the wrong time for that...because its an election time. FSM has regained some fees from its 200EEZ in the amount of 12million plus, and I believed Jemco would like to see some of these fees pick up the shortfalls in the budget. Shouldn't FSM show some commitments here to its own development, before the 12M get tangle up in pork-barreling appropriations, come the next special session next month?
  • Very interesting views from an outsider who is also concerned about the future of the Federated States of Micronesia. I applaud Mr. DelRosario Jr. for his empathy towards the people and the nation!


    By John S. DelRosario Jr.

    We’ve listened intently and trailed the ongoing negotiations between the US and the freely associated states, specifically, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). If there’s anything that stood out very clearly, it’s the expenditure of grant funds to bolster a larger government payroll over wealth and jobs creation. Thus,
    the obvious lack of revenue generating economic activities capable of supporting a large bureaucracy.

    The challenge to FSM leadership lies in changing old paradigms (approaches) from the old TTG mentality that someone would generously continue defraying the bloated payroll of unproductive people in the public sector. Leadership must settle down to reality check on government expenditure, i.e., the cost of the central government and national congress and the resolve to downsize them. Other than education, health and public safety, other departments and agencies must be trimmed to the hilt. This should enable the national government to save money for that rainy day or funnel them into entrepreneurship programs.

    Wealth and jobs creation should, therefore, be the new focus of attention in the next millennium by leadership. It must look from within to determine what policies have stifled expansion of current investments or runs contrary to the collective commitment of the FSM to lure lasting investments. The ability to break the shell of unjustified insecurity on, i.e., use of local land for investments would definitely open the floodgates to luring lasting investments that create wealth and jobs for the citizenry. Coupled with stable investment policies, it should assist the FSM exit the rut of near total reliance on compact funds that superficially create a false economy paid for by taxpayers from some far away land.

    Furthermore, investors aren’t necessarily interested in owning land. Theirs is focused on cheap labor and stable investment policies. Must meet them halfway by scrapping provincial insecurity that has done nothing but build reliance on government whose coffers have shrunk beyond our wildest imaginings. In short, the cargo plane syndrome must go!

    The journey into wealth and jobs creation isn’t anything new as the entire global village braces for the challenges of the next millennium. It’s all a matter of building up local resolve to change old paradigms in favor of economic programs that will eventually provide the funds for basic public services throughout the FSM.
    That it involves a process is more the reason for FSM leadership to converge and trump out its cards on luring lasting investments. That pot of gold is yours only if some hard decisions are made to focus on private sector development over an unproductive public sector. We’re convinced you take the lead to reinvent an unworkable legacy that government is the holy grail to attain prosperity.
  • A root cause for the havoc may lie with the technical personnel of the inflated FSM NG. A small group of inexperienced peace corp volunteers, for example, can do a better job at the NG. For some years now, FSM NG key staffs are either at China, at Washington DC, or at a funeral. As public servants, FSM NG personnel do not care much about what they are,as compared to where they are. As a result, the service they provide is the lowest standard in the country (maybe with the exception of Chuuk SG).
  • Nice to read all your comments. I think its funny that Elvic mentioned "a small group of inexperiences peace corps volunteers, for example, can do a better job at the NG".
    In some earlier posts I mentioned some of the problems with Agriculture, C&I and Marine Resources. Any case all have submitted their budgets. All have many problems too that needs to be taken care of, though I believe they are unfairly targeted. Take State Education System here in Chuuk. If I had a kid, I wouldnt even think of awfull concept of sending my kid to the state education system. Though with JEMCO, not only did they get their budget, they got an extra million dollars, likewise with Health. Though lets not pick at particular departments, the entire government needs huge amount of help. Marine Resources and Agriculture for example, needs to cut off a nice Chunk of employees. In order to retain the same numbers, either they need to switch more to part time, or they need to fund some of the employes on tempary private grant by grant basis. Reality, both departments need to cut employees. So why dont they. For the directors it might be political suicide because other people in the executive department might then cut their jobs. In the end, cutting jobs is a bad word, but in the long run, it needs to be done. Any case in the mean time this isnt happening, so what should you do. So far I been trying to take what is already there and streamline things. You be surprized at how poorly some budgets are written. Any case, I am familiar with the submitted budgets for some of the problem agencies. There are plans and programs, that are to help private sector. Question is how good will these plans be implimented. Government is slow, the often is used just to pay peoples salaries. In the long run if you want private sector development, it will be private individuals, not government that will make it happen.

    Last thing, why could inexperienced peace corps do better than NG people? I am just wondering.
  • First of all, Peace Corps volunteers spend more work hours on earth than in the air, in an aeroplane. Secondly, they know how to speak and type good english. Lastly, volunteers are committed to work and serve others with minimal attitude.
  • To hcb
    Obviously Mr. DelRosario Jr knew nothing of the rather subtle yet discreet US policy in the mid 70s toward the Micronesian small countries. When the Micronesian politicians then defied US and insisted on becoming signatory countries to the Law of the Sea, it opened up Uncle Sam's eyes to the capability of the (not-so-literate) Micronesian politicians. Since then the policy of development had changed to something rather bleak, but otherwise not favorable to the Micronesians afterward till this very day. Despite popular beliefs, the first Compact was, at its best, a basket case for US designed to make us more dependent and now practically live off US economic handouts. At one point in the 80s, a Wall Street journalist claimed Micronesian politicians were flirting with powerful countries like Russia and China, just to upset our biggest ally, Uncle Sam. And, note how this silly politics still play out by the recent politicians who knew almost nothing, thus succumbing to gaining bad names for all Micronesians. We should have chosen wisely back then and play our cards better! Today we are nothing more than the guinea pigs for the US military...and does anyone ever figure out what the tons of lethal gas was used for which was shipped to the Johnston Island in 1992-93? Or why is our education system so screwed up? We are like groups of people in testing tubes... and it is all because of the changing politics in the mid 70s.
  • Very interesting postings. I empathize with the bleak reminiscing and this last statement by hcb is certainly very poignant to the times. As we all are aware, all issues of importance; are becoming more and more global. There will be a great deal more revelations and queries up ahead; enough to leave a serious Micronesian student in deep melancholy just thinking about the immensity of the big picture and how our minute situation so mirror the bigger picture which is what's going on in the world. If I am a student studying abroad and I am to return with all the tools to run the shop and before getting to home base, I am already learning the bleak outlook of the landscape/ could it be that I might just keep putting off that trip back home? Despite the troubles in getting a reasonable budget going; let's be reminded ( don't know why), that budgets are based on projections that may not really become 100% reality in most or all cases. If we base our budgets solely on the past we may have a hard time moving forward. How about feasibilities in probabilities ahead? Should we be more forward looking in our budgeting? It seems that the private sectors are being encouraged all over. In our case, though remote and terribly bleak, in some cases... if one were to step out and plant a banana in the backyard; surely something will come of it, paddle out (no gas), or swim out in some areas and obtain some fish; get a femail piglet and raise it to give more pigs, feeding it scrap and coconut. Get some chicks from neighbors and family and raise a some chickens; I know we will still need the side job, etc. Sorry, got carried away there, I surely don't know if I will ever be able to do all that again...climb 5 trees to get tuba, morning and evening 24/seven ( there's your washboard abs).
  • Mr. Utero Xm,

    Thank you for your inquiring questions and comments on the Article by Mr. DelRosario Jr. pertaining his views on what he believes are the viable and critical actions that should be soluble undertakings if taken by our FSM leaders in order to cope discerningly with our financial strapped entity and stagnant economy. Incontestably, I do share his thoughts of recommendation in combating the significantly deserving austerity issue if and only if the FSM is looking forward to curb its present economic situation to meet up with its present and future challenges in spending frugally.

    I think Mr. DelRosario Jr. is absolutely right that the FSM leaders should not waste their time speculating on what urgent and legitimate action that can be taken because they are fully aware of our nation’s financial inability to meet its national obligations. This inability of finance is obviously due to their inconspicuous attitude of stimulating the future economy of the nation. Most of the resources generously given by other external donors have been repeatedly and mainly expended for operational costs instead of projects for economic stimuli.

    Although you might be right, however, I still believe that our leaders’ own failure in identifying and prioritizing essential projects to stimulate the economy and produce for a brighter and prosperous economic future has played a major role drastically. If ultimate attention is cued on the right kinds of projects by prior funding, then we can now enjoy the delirious results and could have been less dependent on outside reliance for support.

    Our education system, especially in my beloved State of Chuuk, is a total mess. This is not merely due to Uncle Sam’s abandonment or whatsoever! It is a consequence of our leaders’ own ignorance and kleptocracy that collaborates with Mr. DelRosario’s analysis of the problems with our leaders— more of Compact money for unproductive government operation, but not for economic development. This also involves the whole community because our children education requires all community members’ involvement, participation, assistance and encouragement!

    Furthermore, the recent FASFA dilemma for FSM students is also a result of our FSM Negotiating Team’s failure to ignore that as a priority for them in re-negotiating with the U.S. Speaker Christian and his team could at least humbly ask the U.S to extend the program to FSM students as they are fully aware that they cannot complete their schoolings if they lose that one.

    I think FSM was on its right path since its inception from transition from the TTPI to the FAS during those short nostalgic years. Those were the times when project funds were wisely expended for the very right purposes. Corruption was never heard of in those days! I believe it was in the mid 80s that we began to diverge our ship from its original course. We began to experience some impossibilities became possible and the possibilities became impossible.

    Our legislators (Congressmen/State legislators) have circumvented and discovered sneaky ways to allocate funds for their own use, which is deemed legal. Much of their effort is concentrated on personal and familial interests over the public’s interests. That is why we are struggling socially, economically, and politically and even spiritually because every amount of their energy is spent on self-made pocketful wealth and plurality of self-interest priority.

    I do not have any comment on the military storage facility on Johnston Island. Why? Is there any break-outs of the lethal "thingy" that has jeopardize or threaten the islanders' health? Such will have a huge and adverse impact on the envirnoment there if something goes wrong.

    Thanks again.
  • Elvis, Thanks for your forward thinking of Peace Corps. You might be right, but after talking to some peace corps, they seem to be fustrated that they arent doing that much.

    As far as rest of the issues everyone needs to realize the following. In the ancient days, islanders relied on their local resources. Granted in some cases particuarly the outer islands they would do some trading. If island had to many people, fighting, starving and so on would happen. Today, with globalization and westernization, FSM is very much dependent on outside help. Its to late to go back to the old ways and many people here probably dont want to. The other fact is population in some areas of MIcronesia are much larger than ever before. Outer islands that can only support say 200 people know support double due to being artificaly inflated due to say imported rice and canned meat. Fact that everyone needs to realize is these islands have limited resources and in many cases have over extended itself. If FSM doesnt get help from USA, it will get help from another place. Like with any form of help, there is normaly a catch. I think that the key is to lesson your dependance on outside help
  • MJ...THINK BIG

    JUST LIKE THE ANCIENT AMERICANS, HUNTING/POND-FISHING/HARVESTING IS THEIR LOCAL MEANS OF LOCAL RESOURCES TO SURVIVE IN A BIG COUNTRY...READ AMERICAN HISTORY AND TELL US WHAT/HOW AMERICANS CIVILIZATION PROSPER...please).

    Outer islands of Chuuk TRADING? to what extent/degree of economical standards could you be comparing these little islands of trade commercial to have compete with?...PLEASE ELABORATE.)

    IT IS COMMON FOR THE WORLD STUDY OF HUMAN RELATION IN A COMMUNITY...THAT wherever there's crowd, there has to be commotion/tension and at other times victims of excessive consequences.

    FSM DEPENDENCE ON GLOBALIZATION AND WESTERNIZATION?:
    ...... YES, HIGHER DEPENDENCE FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND COMMERCE and E-PEOPLE
    Just like the US GOvernment would be dependent upon other big countries for governmental relations (political standards of them)...and econonical relations (as their means to keep their posts/sovereign nation an active one...not dull)
    ......YES, LOWER DEPENDENCE FOR CERTAIN HUMAN STANDARDS NOT REQUIRING THAT ASPECT AS IS FOR OTHERS...no one can rationalize this.) Not all people are the same.

    MJ, WHY DO YOU EVEN STAY IN CHUUK MORE THAN 24 HOURS? CONSIDERING THE "GOING BACK TO OLD DAYS TOO LATE TIME? YOU"ve JUST EXPERIENCE A "possible way" not too late to see how's the OLD TIME LIVE IS!...YOU"VE JUST WITNESSED IT YOURSELF TO KNOW ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
    YOU WERE BORN IN THE STATES....A WESTERNIZED (GLOBAL-ORIENTED) BEGINNING AND THEN NOW JUST EXPERIENCED A NOT-SO-TOO-LATE-OLD WAY LIVE YOU"VE NEVER THINK OF....and now telling the impossibility of the different stages in living standards.)....confusing

    And your view of population...LIKE ANY OTHER WORLD POPULATION TODAY, YOU CANNOT COMPARE MICRONESIA TO WHERE/what WORLD>>>APPLE AND ORANGE...not comparable.)
    Your equation is not equal. Probability ratio? show it here.

    FINALLY>>>>LET ME TELL YOU>>>>NOT ONLY CHUUK IN THE WORLD RELIES ON OUTSIDE HELP....EVEN THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT DEPENDS ON OUTSIDE HELP...

    LIKE YOU ALREADY SAID....GLOBALIZATION AND WESTERNIZATION IS NOW COMMON AT ALL ASPECTS ALMOST ANYWHERE IN THE UNIVERSE including CHUUK as you, yourself "MJ", so mentioned...just like any OTHER NATION COUNTRIES....

    MJ: THINK BIG!
    IT"S NEVER TOO LATE
    NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE...EXCEPT STOPPING ONES BREATH AT ANY MOMENT "DEATH"
    NO MAN IS AN ISLAND...

    JUST, KEEP UP WITH YOUR HISTORY STUDIES IN CHUUK AND ENJOY YOUR WALKS ON OUR BEAUTIFUL ISLAND OF WENO AND PAATA. THE CROWD ISN"T AS COMPARED TO NEW YORK...NO WORRIES...YOU WON"T BE A VICTIM ANY SOONER.
  • I thought of how I should respond to your post. Let me just say this much, dont assume to much about me. Secondly if you want to think big, why dont you. Please help these islands. I have no clue who you are or if you own a business. I am limited to what I can do, the real power is in your hands. Last why dont I leave Chuuk. Simple, I work here. I am also interested in traditional navigation anyway.
  • Mr. MJ,

    I think you need to conduct a much more thorough research on the Chuukese outer islands and their people before attempting to draw a contradictory conclusive statement. When you fondly referred to the outer islanders as more dependent on imported food commodities, I find your statement quite amazingly over-exaggerated and the total opposite. In addition to, your assumption of the inevitability of starvation due to their dependency on outside imported food commodities is irritatingly untrue as statistically and evidently comparable to those islands much closer to the state centers throughout Micronesia as a whole.

    Let me assure you that never in the history of the islands that they would ever encounter starvation despite the absolute absence of imported food supplies! However, starvation could only be inevitable only if the islands are wiped-out by natural disasters and the ocean is emptied as these are the major contributing elements to the islanders' prolong survival!

    Although the mass areas of land in the outer islands are indeed small, yet it abundantly provides the natives what they need to survive for many years. The people, who make these islands their permanent home, have been living a simple, insexpensive life style, and they have proved this for many years! More asoundingly, they have been living a life of subsistent economy throughout the beginning and are still cherishing such because they know it’s their own God-given surviving way. Eating only fish with taro or breadfruit is the main menu while eating rice and canned mackerel is only a supplement since they consume less time to prepare.

    Even when experiencing catastrophic natural phenomena such as ravaging typhoons and turbulent tidal waves, they never abandon farming their lands to rely only on imported foods. Imported commodities are regarded by the outer island people as something not to live without; they are just additions to make their appetitive tastes of the Western world. In other words, these are not needs but wants! There are many times when rice is not available on the islands due to shortage on Weno or late transportation to the islands. However, nothing extraordinary happens to the whole populace because of such unfortunates. Yet, the people can still do their daily chores and rely on their local foods.

    The growing population of the islands will not be a problem as you see it from an American's prespective. The cultures and traditions of these people have kept a stronger bond among families, relatives, clans and islanders together. This bond, which is completely different from Western culture and traditions, has been playing an important role by advocating the importance of producing more children in a family unlike the Western philosophy of limiting the number of children a family can based on their monetary, economic living. The more children a family has the better for the family’s future because everybody will contribute and assist to the family in any way they can. That’s why having many children is viewed as beneficial in the islanders’ life whereas in the West is not. This is possible in the outer islands, or even throughout Micronesia, because family, relatives, clans bondage is very strong; they have to live, share, and work together for the benefit of the whole. This is summed up in the Chuukese proverb: “Aramas Chok Angang, Angang Chok Aramas”. Since you are presently residing in Chuuk, ask someone to expound that clearly to you.

    You also mentioned that when there are more people on these islands then fights would break out among them. How do you come about making such absurd assumption? That is why I have previously said you need to conduct a thorough study of the outer island people because I don’t see any place that have a much stronger bond of relationship anywhere else than the people there. Due to the smallness of these remote islands, everybody knows each other very well and even freely share what they have with each other even though they are not related by lineage. This therefore as resulted in the sense of greater respect for each other.

    FSM dependency on U.S assistance does not pose an alarming effect on the islands and the life of people as I have been witnessing in my many years as an outer islander. Whenever I go back to my island, I only enjoy eating local delicacies and also enjoy the tranquility on the island despite the fact that we do not have electricity, running water, and even sewer line. In fact, nothing big of any sort of infrastructure development has been present ever since the Trust Territory era that will make the people more reliant on U.S assistance.

    With the very meager U.S assistance ever reached the islands since the inception of the Compact as evident by the lack of basic infrastructure development, the island people do not honestly expect any change in their island future because they surely know that their islands will remain the same despite Mr. Cohen and JEMCO subtle millions of dallars in grants. However, these people are still satisfied and enjoying the only cherished remnant of the past.
  • HBC,

    I enjoy your critique of my comments. Such actions, in long run help out with ideas and thoughts. Through such commenting weaknesses or accidently poorly written statements come out. For that I appoud you.

    Know before I go on, I will make note that you made long post, so please forgive me if I dont respond to everything. I assumed that you have heard term "tip of the iceburge". This saying has basis in fact that with an ice burge, what you see of iceburge is in truth only tiny portion of the full size since most of it underwater. I admit, I know little, but I am learning. Constantly expanding and adjusting what I seen. Same time, given that I dont know huge amount of information, dont assume I dont know anything. Issues I mentioned, and you countered came about from people, from outer islands bringing up such topics to me.
    I have been to islands in Chuuk were people are more or less eating only coconuts. This island had suffered problems from Typhoons in past. There is no large breadfruit, actualy most arent even 10 feet tall. Taro was damaged from typhoon, though its been many years and taro patches should have recovered, they havent. Due to factors of that I am not totaly sure of, salt water is getting into taro patches. I think it might have something to do with possible changes in ocean currents and beach errosion, along with other things related to climite change. As far as fishing, they have only few traditional canoes and couple of boats. Given the ocean waves its hard for them to fish close to the island. Same time they have very limited gas, and no large sailing canoes. Result is they dont have much in fish. Municipality has used CIP funds to purchase rice to help the people. This island is also quiet tiny. I am not quite sure of the exact population, but when I was there I was told it was about 200. I heard that there was an American Peace Corps who was stationed on this island. She left because she didnt have enough food. She indicated that her basic diet basicaly consisted of rice. Accorse people arent directly dying because of no food, though many health related problems can come about in the long run. All, I am going to say about this island, if under the same situtaion with problems of food say happening 200 years ago, what would the islanders have done? Accorse, not all islands in Chuuk are like this one, but I am just pointing it out?

    The other factor I like talk about which I already mentioned is most of this has come from the outer islanders themselves. I have been to islands which municipal leaders have taken me to the beaches, told me how there use to be building were we were standing, which is only inches from the water. I was shown coconut roots still implace some 100 plus feet away from the shore. The island is being eroded away, island isnt getting bigger in any other parts. Most recently, I had person from Northwest Region, specificaly Pattiw Region ask me some simple questions, though I had no easy answers. Basically he indicated that in past, even as little as 10 years ago there was lots of fish close to the shore, now they have to go further out to get fish. He asked what could be done to help out. Basicaly following is concluded. Given that reasons for less fish is due to circumstances outside of the islanders control such as climate change, or shifting of currents, the problem then has to relate to how the islanders manage their resources. I doubt the problem has much with the actual management practices. This island still has strong traditional system, thoughbut I am told its not as strong and stringent as it was in the past. If there is less fish, what else can be causing it. Asking simple question to this person, I asked if people on island know about how many people island can support with no strain on local resources. Answer I got was about 300 people. The population of the island was about 600. I am also told that presently island probably has more people than it ever has had. Know you please draw the conclusions yourself about how you solve this problem.

    Last, you stated the following"When you fondly referred to the outer islanders as more dependent on imported food commodities, I find your statement quite amazingly over-exaggerated and the total opposite." I wasnt here 20 or 30 years ago, so what I am saying is basicaly totaly based on what people told me. One person from Pollap told me how when he was kid, imported food was very rare, but it did come. He discribed to me how they take some rise and roll it out on large taro leaf, then take some canned corned beef and roll it out. Each person then took a little. This was considered to be a treat. Today, you see much more of this, and instead of small serving sizes, you see huge plates of rice. So from what I heard, outer islanders are getting more dependant. Though all things are relitive. They still have their old ways, if suddently communication to western world went bye bye. They still survive, they still have traditions to go on. This is the saving grace. The problem which I see, is that the western imported foods particuarly for the outer islands, isnt so much making them less dependent on local food, but actualy artificaly allowing them to increase population of the island, to points above what the island can naturaly sustain.
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