AMEND THE FSM CONSTITUTION TO GIVE THE STATES AUTHORITY TO SELL LANDS TO FOREIGNERS

We all know our FSM Constitution TOTALLY prohibits foreigners, natural persons or corporate, from owning lands in the FSM. We also know the FSM National Government itself does not own any land except that much of land called "the National Capital land" in Palikir, which was deeded to it by the Pohnpei State Government and the former is now demanding some of it back.

When the FSM Constitution first came out with its ban on foreign land ownership in the FSM, we all or most of us agreed with such a protection, having lived under foreign administrations from previous centuries under which times our people sometimes lost ownership of some of their lands in questionable ways. (The Japanese once ruled they owned most of the tidelands in Chuuk, and the Trust Territory Government took the easy way out by confirming that public ownership despite the Chuukese historic rights to all of the tidelands around their islands).

BUT TIMES HAVE CHANGED SINCE THE RATIFICATION OF THE FSM CONSTITUTION, AND OUR PRESENT EXPERIENCE AND GLOBAL REALITIES HAVE SHOWN THAT WE NEED TO REVISE OUR FSM CONSTITUTION'S TOTAL PROHIBITION TO ACCOMMODATE OUR PRESENT NECESSITIES WHILE PRESERVING THE PROTECTION FOR OUR CITIZENS.

Having sat in all these endless FSM and states conferences and symposiums on economic developments, people keep pointing the constitutional ban on foreign land ownership as one of the few major obstacles to necessary foreign investment economic development for the islanders. BUT NOBODY REALLY WANTS TO STICK HIS OR NECK OUT TO SUGGEST A SOLUTION!! We cannot afford to continue playing chicken, or mouse and crab! Fr Hezel has already estimated in his "Micronesians Abroad" TV documentaries that close to one-third of our FSM citizens have migrated out to American in search of economic opportunities. We need to suggest bold solutions short of Chuuk Secession or Independence (since a lot of our people do not seem to have the stomach for such ideas).

What we need now is to agree to amend the FSM Constitution and allow each of the states to come up with their own laws, declaring economic zones in their states where they can be allowed to grant foreign ownership or long term leases to foreign investments to blossom like Hong Kong or Singapore but upon termination of the foreign investment, the foreign investors will be required to re-sell the land back to the state government if the original owners could not afford to buy them back at that time. If the foreign investments are willing to remain 50 years or 150 years, they will continue to own their lands within the economic zone and will be allowed to sell their interests to subsequent willing foreign buyers, but within the economic zone. Perpetuate the economic ownership and activities to stimulate the local economies without sacrificing the heritage of the islanders. Within such an economic zone, the foreign businesses can be allowed to run all sort of clean businesses, including casinos or golf courses or water sports, as long as they do not involve the morally-controversial aspects (i.e. prostitution and drugs) and do not involve the local islanders in such enterprises! (As you know, prostitution and drugs are already criminalized in our criminal and human trafficking laws).

The question is, if such an amendment gets through, where or which island in the Chuuk Lagoon, for example, can we declare as the "Chuuk State Economic Zone" and what to we do with the people? I have been following the discussion from some of our Faichuk leaders and economic experts, and I tend to agree that Faichuk will be a God-sent, deserving place to establish our "economic zone." They have the land, and the young people, like on most islands in Chuuk nowadays, need to be inducted into more economically productive activities than trying out their Philippine sling shots on each other on a weekly basis.

Hey, what's the harm in trying? Where are our Faichukese friends like Sam Nathan and Excuse Sananap?
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Comments

  • Kan senis ruu chok mefiei won met ei, uwa anean nge me mwen oupwe kan fori metekei ouwa minata, oupwe awora eu pekin kaeo ngeni met mei fis non ekkoch mu ir men amomono fonu ngeni chon nukun fonuer. Napengeni ekkewe original land owners ra kan fokkun homoness me won pusin fonuer. Awewe chok, napengeni chon Guam ra fen wisen chon rent nge chon ekis ra fen wisen nemeni ekkewe fonu. Me nukun Guam iwe mei pwan chmmong fonu kich mei tongeni kaeo senir me mwen epwe ekkesiwin nouch na chunapen annuk....kan amusano sise kuanify ach sipwe kan pwan mengungu won ekkei sokkun ekiek pun kich kan fokkun tiparoch...
  • Looking for me? Here I am. I will see you on fb. Thanks.
  • Gab fak a aliliy LOL.
  • I agree with this.
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  • The 99 years max land lease period is not enough? Why sell when we can lease for almost a century? We Yapese are very efficient in negotiating lease terms to the max, AS IF it constitute maximun returns in more zeroes than a lease of maybe, 20 years or less.
    Economic zones are profitable if well regulated, but where is that well-regulated government to properly regulate the regulations that would surely have to be put in place to protect local communities and environment that would surely be impacted. Special interests sometimes upsets the delicate balance between profit and safe-guarding. Anyways just a few cents to keep the debate going...
  • I agree, nesianlore. Leasing land to foreigners can make good economic and cultural sense.

    Selling land to foreigners would lead to economic and cultural suicide for Micronesia.
  • Agreed FactsMatter. Make land lease easier would help. I think now days tenants developers always end up on the bad side of the lease.
  • Instead of allowing purchase and increase length of lease, why not limit to a maximum or set maximum length of lease to 25 years at the most.

    That way, owners may be able to later on repossess the land and run their own business with 100% ownership. Or if they still want, they can extend the lease. But still own the land.
  • Most major investors will not spend tens of millions of dollars building their business if they know it will be taken away from them in 25 years. 50 years is more reasonable for multi-million dollar investors.
  • yes only chuuk will amend..not the rest...
  • let chuuk sell their islands to the Chinese and get rich overnight.
  • Finally, someone has step up on the hot ladder to success economy. I fully agree and support the idea to amend the constitution with respect to foreign investors land use duration. But, also not agree to sell out land ownership to foreigner just yet. It is always best to start from the bottom to see how it works to determine whether or not to reach out for another way forward especially when it comes to give up land owner ownership rights to outsiders.
  • Juliet quotes:

    "Overdevelopment is a result of a modernization theory that sees traditional culture as a problem that needs to be solved." Land ownership is a traditional culture. Taxi-Womw sees it as a problem

    In Micronesia, it is observed that cultures and people are considered “underdeveloped” by many foreign investors or outsiders because Micronesians do not adhere to western ideals of rationality or progress. Never measure your progress by someone else's measuring stick, else you will never measure up.

    But what is there in progress? Overdeveloping only produces global inequality. Overdevelopment has a huge impact on the environment, the social realm, human rights, and the global economy. According to various experts, consumption is seemingly not making people notably happy, but just increasing the West’s ecological footprint. We as a people, were once self-sustaining - harvesting only what we need now. When the Western way of life was adapted, greed and the loss of caring for each other was replaced with wanting to succeed at any cost...even though it meant losing our heritage and land. Who are we if we lose our heritage and land?

    Outsiders or tourists are interested in visiting Micronesia to witness all aspects of a traditional and cultural environment which is the key to a prosperous economy. Constructing more buildings or other man-made attractions will only destroy the true beauty and essence of the cultural and traditional Micronesian environment. Look at Belau. Let's get back to our roots. We can develop and progress at a pace that is sustainable to us in terms of our heritage, our traditional culture, our environment and our land. All for the next generation that we bring into this world.

    Culture and traditions should remain in the forefront of Micronesia and they will help us balance progress and conservation. Amen.
  • Agree with you on that one @juliet
  • AH, THE ILLUSION OF MICRONESIAN CULTURES AGAIN!! Do we have a fossil anthropologist in the House?? Let's see:

    Pohnpeian Women Day is now celebrated by women dancing modern dances and wearing cheap Korean jewelry to look recklessly attractive.

    Chuukese ordination of their community leaders are now celebrated with paper plates from Oregon, filled with Guam Rose rice from California, chicken from Longview Washington (or from Marshallese workers in Arkansas), bottled water from China and imitation Chammoro lumpia.

    Palauan traditional chiefs meeting in their air-conditioned chamber at their new national capitol complex, dressed in pinstriped suits and ties like Wall Street corporate executives.

    Marshallese traditional leaders fighting to have their lands paid by the US military in dollars so their families can enjoy Honolulu or Orange County, CA.

    Micronesian migrants in the US insist to raise their families in the American way of life....

    Does anybody still seriously think that there is a genuine Micronesian culture to preserve??

    And doesn't the proposal above (to allow limited land sales to foreign investors) also try to balance the need for economic development against the need to preserve the Micronesian physical and cultural environment??





  • Taxi-wom do you have land in chuuk or Pohnpei?
  • Taxi-Womw brings up many good points. Nonetheless, Micronesian culture, history, economy, and tradition are all inextricably tied to our land. So selling our lands to foreigners - thus losing them forever - would be suicidal....culturally, historically, economically, and traditionally.

    Long term leasing, however, is a totally different matter. Rather than killing us, it could help us keep our culture, our history, our economy, and our traditions very much alive.

    Micronesians would still be the landowners and would benefit from fair and prudent lease arrangements with selected investors.
  • agree with fm. Thanks
  • Yes there is still genuine Micronesian culture. Land ownership is one. Expression of story through dancing even though wearing Western attire is still Micronesian culture. Ordaining community leaders with food is Micronesian culture. Talking between traditional Chiefs to address issues is also a Micronesian culture. There is still genuine Micronesian culture and traditions being practiced.

    But what do these have to do with advocating the stupid idea of land sale? To what end are you advocating legalizing land sale?

    Let's examine your proposal a bit more closely:

    What we need now is to agree to amend the FSM Constitution and allow each of the states to come up with their own laws, declaring economic zones in their states where they can be allowed to grant foreign ownership or long term leases to foreign investments to blossom like Hong Kong or Singapore but upon termination of the foreign investment, the foreign investors will be required to re-sell the land back to the state government if the original owners could not afford to buy them back at that time. So the original land owner loses his land to the government at the end of the day. What baloney!


    If the foreign investments are willing to remain 50 years or 150 years, they will continue to own their lands within the economic zone and will be allowed to sell their interests to subsequent willing foreign buyers, but within the economic zone. And where will you move the current population of this 'economic zone'?

    Perpetuate the economic ownership and activities to stimulate the local economies without sacrificing the heritage of the islanders. If that can be done then, why is it not being done now? Is there some magic knowledge that comes after selling land?

    Within such an economic zone, the foreign businesses can be allowed to run all sort of clean businesses, including casinos or golf courses or water sports, as long as they do not involve the morally-controversial aspects (i.e. prostitution and drugs) and do not involve the local islanders in such enterprises! (As you know, prostitution and drugs are already criminalized in our criminal and human trafficking laws). Clean casinos? Are you kidding? That's like saying clean shit. There is no such thing.

    Folks, look closely at Guam and the CNMI. They've done exactly what Taxi is advocating here. Most Chamorros are 2nd class citizens in their own land because they sold their birthrights, their land. Do not be tempted by the lure of riches from foreign companies. In the long run, it is for the worst for our islands.

    A prime example is Honolulu, Hawaii. They started some sort of economic zone to 'contain' the problems of development. Guess what? The prices of everything - electricity, water, food, cars, everything throughout Honolulu skyrocketed because it is dictated by prices in the established Zone. There are housing projects in Honolulu that house mostly local Hawaiians that lost their land and can't compete in the fast pace of life that this development/progress brings.

    In Weno, there are people from the lagoon and Outer islands paying rent to live in an apartment to be close to their place of work. Now imagine when those land owners become foreigners. What increase in price and misery can you imagine here?

    Taxi Womw, no thank you! The islands are okay, not the richest, but not certainly the poorest and yes! we have land to cultivate our little bananas, breadfruit and taro. And that is rich by any measuring stick you wish to measure it with.


  • A good story for you Taxi:

    There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village. As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite a few big fish.

    The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?” The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”

    “Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.

    “This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.

    The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”

    The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

    The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman. “I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

    The fisherman continues, “And after that?”

    The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”

    The fisherman asks, “And after that?”

    The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”

    The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”

    Look around you Taxi, you are living a life that many would pay bid money for. There are riches to be had in everything: fishing, farming, etc. And it's relatively free. Bring in this economic development you dream about and kiss this life goodbye.

  • PLEASE DO NOT SELL YOUR LAND. JUST LEASE THEM OUT.
  • CJ has only this to say ASSISINATE the person who make it possible for others to buy the lands. In fact, wipe out the whole Moongoose fam.... then burn down all business and send them owners home.
  • don't go obnoxious with each other now. there is just NO land to be sold, lease, economic zone or just for anything. our islands are just big enough for home dwellings, home farming and very small scale economic developments. campaign for effective FAMILY PLANNING to help the communities; otherwise we stay economic dependent.
  • Good story, Juliet. Thank you.

  • Thank you all for sharing your points. Good jobs. Kinisou pwipwi Sinbad.
  • How about this... those who want too much development move to USA and leave our land beautiful and nonraping.

    Even you educated heads are lost in your own land...

    YOU SHOULD NOT COMMERCIALIZED EVERYTHING! Natural jungle is is better than concrete jungle. You can modernized what's necessary and keep the natural beauty to be admired by both locals and tourists.

    Remember that people wants to vacation in the islands to see the island beauty not a commercialized community...
    "Be flexible in your method and stubborn with your goals/values".
  • there is a saying in Pohnpei..You can take a Pohnpeian Man abroad, but you cannot take out Pohnpei from that man. Our way of living changes, but that doesn't mean our culture...times change for these traditions, but the concept of culture will always be the same...
  • Oh, let's back up!!

    BUSINESS RIGHT? We in Chuuk like to start one of the world best Porn company. I think a land to build a Blue house like Guam has.... you know, like that in the kapung in the Guam? We can take care of our problems that way. I also believe we have very good porn stars in our state and/or from our state. Many are finding the courage and right amount of energy to be the undercover agents in our land cuz they been thru the Porn SCHOOLS ON LINE... I BELIEVE WE ARE READY FOR A WORLD PORN SCHOOL AND ALL THAT COMES WITH IT.... We can have it either on a floating boat or on a floating bed....

    This is why some of us are fighting for selling lands.... we want to commercialized our bodies but not we just hiding behind the lands.... kinisou ren ami etiwa enna KONEN ETIW!1

    I DRINK WATER ALL DAY, NOT DRUNK.... KPS, SEE YOU IN THE PEND HOUSE...

  • I wish we can still call it - "living on an island". Today, it's a global village that requires a vibrant economy. Do we want to maintain the lifestyle we had yesterday? I can't agree more with Taxi - in order for us to limit migration, and create a robust economy, we must look into ways to get it, one of which, is what Taxi is talking about - of course with regulation to get the best of both world, the island life vs. economic development. Otherwise, we will continue to cry to the good ole USA for not giving us what we thought, is expected. Life is too short people, let's do it today.
  • Taxi Womw, are you being sarcastic? I didn't read all the comments, will do later but from your first point, your suggestion is disastrous and cowardly. I sense that probably you are being sarcastic and that's not what you want. Read my post "Lack of Recruitment" is the opposite to this point. I need a fresh pair of insights like yours. Thank you. Juliet, I like that spirit of optimism. Keep it up.
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