Press Release #17
With my utmost respect to our Traditional and government Leaders throughout the FSM, especially the Traditional Leaders and government of this great state of Pohnpei, being the Host of our Convention. I now call the opening session of our 4th FSM Constitutional Convention to order.
It is my great pleasure to welcome each and every one of you, my fellow delegates to this Convention. It has been a long and difficult two (2) years and three (3) months since this Convention went into recess on March 13, 2020 due to the Corona Virus Pandemic Emergency Declaration at that time. There was never a doubt in my mind since that time that we all wanted to come back to finish up the monumental task placed upon us by our fellow citizens of our nation, FSM the daunting task of reviewing the Supreme law of our land, our FSM Constitution, to make the necessary changes to it to be a useful document for our young nation to move forward and meet the challenges ahead of us.
It is only fitting and proper that I also acknowledge the support of our government leaders, particularly President Panuelo as well as Speaker Simina and the members of our FSM National Congress for all the support which they had provided to our Convention since we first started over two (2) years ago up to now, without which we will not be able to convene and now reconvene our Convention today.
In the same vein, I also wish to extend our thanks and appreciation to these leaders in their continued efforts these past two (2) years in making our nation COVID-free. In fact, as we are aware, our nation is only one (1) of the few remaining countries in the whole world which has that distinction of being COVID-free status.
Our COVID-free status has not been achieved without difficulties and challenges, including the difficulties we have had in reconvening our Convention these past two (2) years. But now that we are once again together, it is time for us to re-focus on our mandate for which we had been elected to undertake.
As you may recall, prior to our recess in March 2022, we had passed on Final Reading the two (2) proposed amendments –the one for Dual Citizenship as well as the one for reducing the threshold for amending our FSM Constitution from 75% to 66%. In the next three (3) weeks we must now turn our focus on the other provisions of our Constitution, which need to be amended, based on the various proposals which are now pending in the committees. I request that all of us work cooperatively and diligently in the coming weeks to complete our task in coming up with the needed amendments to our Constitution to be presented to our people for their review and ultimate decision to accept or reject such proposed changes to our Constitution in a referendum to be held in the coming months.
On a somber note, as you all know, two (2) of our delegates, the late Delegate/Chief Camillo Noket and Delegate Peter Sitan, passed away after we went into recess two (2) years ago. Although Delegate Noket and Delegate Sitan had departed us, we will cherish their memories, friendship, and counsels as delegates of this 4th FSM Constitutional Convention. Hence, I would kindly request that we stand and observe a moment of silence in remembering the Honorable Delegate Noket and Honorable Delegate Sitan.