Palikir, August 24th, 2023 (FSMIS) -- As part of their priority activities early on in their administration, His Excellency Wesley W. Simina, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and The Honorable Aren B. Palik, Vice President of the FSM, have completed their first official state visit to the State of Chuuk from August 1st to August 11th 2023.
The main purpose of these rounds of State Visits is to personally extend the administration’s theme of “Unity is our Strength and Prosperity” by further strengthening relationships between the national government and the four state governments. The state visit to Chuuk followed after the first state visit with Pohnpei state in early June with plans to pay an official state visit to Yap in September. The visit featured a main event of meeting with the State Leadership as well as visits to various sites. Members of the delegation included T.H. Speaker Esmond Moses and spouse Mrs. Mrs. Almihda Moses, Floor Leader T.H. Quincy Lawrence and spouse Mrs. Bridgeen Lawrence, T.H. Senator Peter Christian and cabinet and staff members.
Upon their arrival to their home state, H.E. President Wesley W. Simina and First Lady Ancelly Simina and delegation members were received by T.H. Governor Alexander Narruh, State Leadership and Vice President Palik, where a traditional welcoming was performed, and President Simina addressed the crowd encouraging the people of Chuuk to take pride in their representation at the national level and to utilize it to support the pursuit of unity at all levels of government in the FSM.
The main event of the state visit was a meeting held with the Chuuk State Leadership at the Government Auditorium featuring an open discussion forum and an audience Q&A segment. The open-style of the forum allowed for participation from the audience members ranging from Mayors to state employees. In Governor Narruhn’s address, priority areas for Chuuk State that were highlighted included assistance needed toward the cleanup of oil remains from shipwrecks in Chuuk’s lagoon after the withdrawal of the JMAS (Japan Mine Action Service) group, challenges around the lack of inter-island transportation, the implementation of on-going infrastructure projects, the current labor ban from the Government of the Philippines stressing labor needs in Chuuk, the rollout of the new compact among others. President Simina and members of the delegation responded to each of these questions and concerns one by one leading to increased mutual understanding.
T.H. Speaker Moses also highlighted the need to see more participation from the states legislative bodies at important national conferences and dialogues, such as the recently concluded Infrastructure Conference that was held in Kosrae, to ensure that all states legislative branches are contributing to the discussions that will ultimately be implemented in the states.
President Simina closed out the discussions with a call to action and solidarity, reiterating that the Simina-Palik administration holds building state-focused relationships in the highest regard, noting that the states’ priorities are the national government’s priorities.
The remainder of the state visit featured several activities, meetings and site visits, by the President and delegation, including a visit to the Chuuk State Hospital’s recently renovated medical ward where the President was able to speak directly with hospital staff where the issue of staff shortages, particularly with doctors and nurses was raised. The following day the President led the delegation on a trip to the island municipality of Tonoas to visit the recently constructed Post Office and the Coconut Processing Facility and to meet with the municipal leadership, where Vice President Palik committed the amount of $20 million to help fix the roads of Tonoas. During the state visit, President Simina and delegation also met with the Chuuk Women’s Council (CWC) where First Lady Ancelly Simina committed $10,000 dollars to CWC to fund their participation at the upcoming Women’s Conference taking place in Kosrae in November. During the state visit, President Simina also accepted a courtesy call with IOM (International Organization for Migration) Regional Director Sarah Lou Ysmael and Resident Representative/Chief of Mission for IOM in the North Pacific, Mr. Salvadore Sortino, where they provided updates on IOM’s activities in the FSM including the completion of their Typhoon Wutip response and reconstruction efforts.
In keeping with the spirit of unity at all levels, the Chuuk State visit culminated with President Simina hosting a meeting for the Mayors of Chuuk State. In this engagement, President Simina emphasized the importance of a bottom-up approach, from the municipal level up to the national level, rather than a top-down approach, to effectively serve the people. In an open-forum format, the Mayors and the President discussed at length various issues of mutual interest including climate change adaptation, infrastructure, transportation and the results of the amended compact negotiations.
The Simina-Palik administration wishes to thank the good people of Chuuk for their warm and generous hospitality and look forward to many more state visits to come.