Audio version in Pohnpeian:
- PICS Debate team visits Governor Oliver
On Monday, March 15, 2021, Governor Oliver received a visit from the PICS High School Debate Team in the Governor’s Cabinet Conference Room. Accompanying the students was Mr. O’Jones Penias, a student advisor.
The PICS High School Debate Team will be addressing the following argument on the affirmative and negative side:
“Should masks and immunizations be mandatory?”
Governor Oliver thanked Mr. Penias and the Debate Team for stopping by to visit the Governor’s Office and discuss the debate issues. He noted that the subjects they will be debating are health, safety, and legal issues. Governor Oliver advised the students to gather their data and research from reputable sources like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). He also recommended that to prepare for their upcoming debate, the team visits experts in the field, like the Task Force Medical Advisor, Dr. Rally Jim.
Governor Oliver then asked the students about their opinion. Mr. Skyles Albert gave his opinion on the use of face masks and immunizations, arguing for the use of them as safety measures. Another asked about repatriation and immunizations. Governor Oliver assured all the students that Pohnpei State Government is working with the National Government for the repatriation of citizens and residents, and shared the near completion of the Medical Monitoring Area in Dekehtik. He also told the students that COVID-19 immunizations are continuing and Pohnpei State Public Health has started an outreach effort to the municipalities.
Governor Oliver thanked the students and Mr. Penias for their visit and wished them the best of luck, reminding them to research well and ask questions. The PICS Debate team will be competing against other High Schools in Pohnpei for the chance to represent Pohnpei at the National Debate in Chuuk.
- Governor Oliver visits Wenik Early Childhood Education Center (ECE) and Nanpei Memorial High School students in Kitti
On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, Governor Oliver visited Kitti’s Nanpei Memorial High School campus to attend a “Kapwar School” program where students from ECE level to High School share what they have in school, from traditional customs to math, science, business, agriculture and, carpentry.
This year’s theme was: Mwererehn ukin madau iei Enginkehlap”
Deacon Ioanis opened the program with a prayer, and welcoming remarks were made by Kiroun en Poial, who is also Chairman of the COVID-19 Task Force, Mr. Wincener David. In Governor Oliver’s special remarks, he spoke of the importance of today’s program to showcase the knowledge and achievements of learning. He recognized the NEO TERO program that is being piloted in Saladak Elementary School in U, where traditional skills and practices are being taught to the younger generations. Governor Oliver encouraged the students to continue moving forward with the support of the Office of the Governor and thanked them for the showcase of knowledge and skills.
Director of the Department of Education, Mr. Stanley Etse gave the closing remarks, thanking the students and teachers of Nanpei Memorial School, High School and Wenik ECE for putting together a great program. Wahnparon Kapriel closed the program with a closing prayer.
- Yoshie Enterprises Donates 2,000 Face Masks
On Wednesday, March 17, 2021, Mrs. Mini Edgar and Mr. Anthony Torres delivered 2,000 face masks to Governor Oliver at the Governor’s Office, Peilapalap, Kolonia.
This is the third donation of face masks that Yoshie Enterprises has made to the Pohnpei State Government. The face masks come in assorted colors and are re-usable. The face masks will be distributed to the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Social Services.
Governor Oliver thanked Mrs. Edgar and Mr. Torres for delivering the face masks. He acknowledged and conveyed his sincere thanks to Mr. Goto and Yoshie Enterprises for not just the face mask donations, but also for the many donations Yoshie Enterprises has made to the Hospital, Schools, Jail, and throughout the communities over the years.
Kalahngan to Yoshie Enterprises for your continued assistance and support.
- PUC and PPA Oaths of Administration
On Thursday, March 18, 2021, Governor Oliver administered oaths of office to six new members of the Pohnpei Utilities Corporation Board and one member of the Pohnpei Port Authority. Joining Governor Oliver to present certificates of appointment representing Speaker Lambert, was Vice Speaker Stevick Edwin and Vice Chairman of the Public Works and Transportation Committee, Senator Kikuo Apis, Jr. Sister Christina Elias opened the ceremony with a prayer.
Receiving oaths of office were the following:
Board of Pohnpei Utilities Corporation:
- Rohsa Kitti, Mr. William Hawley
- Trevayne Esiel
- Christina Elias
- Cynthia Ehmes
- Garner Edgar
- Joseph Felix Jr.
- Eric Paul
Board of Pohnpei Port Authority:
- Quincy Lawrence
In his remarks after swearing in the new members, Governor Oliver, on behalf of Lt. Governor Perman, congratulated the newly appointed board members and recognized the dignitaries attending the ceremony. Governor Oliver thanked the previous board members for their hard work and dedication. He encouraged the appointees to move forward with their mandated duties as policymakers to PUC and PPA. To the new PUC Board members, he asked for their support and cooperation to help PUC management with renewable energy initiatives. He spoke of new initiatives and funding that will help the PUC to move forward with its services to the people of Pohnpei, including a $10 million grant from the Asian Development Bank for power plant services. Governor Oliver thanked the employees of PUC for the crucial services to the people they provide that run 24 hours a day.
He then spoke of the Pohnpei Port Authority and their responsibility as the sea and air door to Pohnpei. He was confident that the new Board member, Mr. Lawrence, will continue to support PPA’s responsibilities with the expected seaport expansion at the Dekehtik dock. He thanked the PPA leadership and board members as he once again thanked Speaker Lambert and the 10th Pohnpei Legislature for their support in the nominations of these individuals.
Mr. Trevayne Esiel, from the PUC Board, spoke on behalf of the new appointees to thank Governor Oliver, Speaker Lambert, and the 10th Pohnpei Legislature. He noted that their responsibilities as board members are to serve, not the corporations, but Pohnpei. He said their work is only possible through the support of the government, traditional, religious leaders, and the people they serve.
Vice Speaker Edwin, representing Hon. Ausen T. Lambert, the Speaker, congratulated the new members. He thanked Governor Oliver and his staff for the nominations and charged the new board members to take up their responsibilities diligently and work with Legislative and the Executive Branches as advisors to assist in their areas of responsibility. He spoke briefly about terms of board members and the staggering of appointment of board members for continuity in service on the boards. He addressed complaints of PUC service by reiterating Mr. Esiel’s remarks on support from the people and communities, through awareness and understanding of services. He echoed Governor Oliver’s remarks on PPA’s important responsibility as the sea and air entrance to Pohnpei and congratulated once again all the new board members.
Full ceremony on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmBRrhB4jms
- Pohnpei State Delegation of the FSM Congress meets Governor Oliver
On Friday, March 19, 2021, Pohnpei’s FSM Congress Delegation: Hon. Peter M. Christian (Dauk Nett), Hon. Ferny M. Perman who is also the Chairman of the Pohnpei Delegation, Hon. Vice Speaker, Esmond Moses, and Hon. Dion G. Neth visited the Governor’s Office at Peilapalap, Kolonia.
During this historic meeting with the FSM Congress Pohnpei Delegation, Governor Oliver updated the Congressmen on Pohnpei State’s COVID-19 response efforts, including the completion of the Medical Monitoring Area (MMA) in Dekehtik to repatriate citizens and current immunization efforts. Chairman of the Pohnpei Delegation, Senator Perman, also updated the Governor on the National Government’s current COVID-19 response efforts, which include the repatriation from RMI, and current immunization efforts.
Governor Oliver and his staff present, Chief of Staff and Public Affairs Officer, were very encouraged to hear individual views, guidance, and advice of the Congressmen on repatriation and immunization for Pohnpei. He assured the Congressmen that Pohnpei State is ready to work with the FSM National Government and FSM Congress to assist with the long-awaited repatriation of Pohnpei residents.
- Japan Embassy hands over grant check for PPA Security Enhancement Project
On Friday, March 19, 2021, Governor Oliver participated in the handover of a $64,472 grant check from the Embassy of Japan to the Pohnpei Port Authority for the security of Pohnpei port facilities. Representing the Pohnpei Port Authority (PPA) was the Chairman of the PPA Board, Mr. Francisico Mendiola, and General Manager, Mr. Pius Roby. Mr. Luciano Abraham, PPA Marketing Manager was the Master of Ceremonies for this event. Accompanying Governor Oliver was Ms. Shirley Ligohr, Pohnpei State External Grants Coordinator.
Chairman Mendiola in his opening remarks, said this project will help protect the most vulnerable people in Pohnpei. He noted that an extra layer of security at the port for people coming to port, especially at night, when most illegal activities at night happen will help with security at the port. More importantly, Chairman Mendiola said, greater awareness of these crimes will be made known and that the PPA and Govt of Japan are working together to prevent these cases. Chairman Mendiola closed, by saying that PPA is honored that this project was selected for funding and that the project will be a symbol of all who come here that our government will not condone human trafficking and will do everything to prevent it from happening in Pohnpei.
Ambassador Sobashima in his remarks said that grant assistance for the PPA security enhancement project for up to $64,472 is under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects by the Government of Japan. In his remarks, he noted that the project for security enhancement will include new gates, signboards, and security cameras to improve the security and safety of the people of Pohnpei.
Contract signing concluded the short ceremony with PPA General Manager, Pius Roby and Ambassador Shobashima signing the grant agreement paperwork.
- MMA Completion Ceremony
On Friday, March 19, 2021, a ceremony was held to commemorate the completion of the Pohnpei State Government Medical Monitoring Area (MMA) in Dekehtik at the site of the former Misko Beach resort. The MMA site features quarantine container units, isolation units, a tent hospital, and quarters for medical and security staff on the premises, and was built for the safe repatriation of citizens and residents of Pohnpei. The event was attended by State and National Leadership, members of the Diplomatic Corps, NGO’s and traditional and municipal leaders.
Welcoming everyone to the event was the Master of Ceremony, Mr. Bejay Obispo, who after the opening prayer by the Director of the Department and Reverend, Mr. Stanley Etse, introduced the Chairman of the Pohnpei State COVID-19 Task Force, Mr. Wincer David.
In his remarks, Chairman Wincener David, took everyone back over one year ago when Pohnpei’s first Constitutional Emergency Order (20-01) was signed by Governor Oliver, due to the imminent threat of COVID-19. We were all new to this type of public health emergency, he said. We experienced storms, floods, waves, that only lasted up to a month, but with COVID-19 we started a year ago and we are still here, he stated. Chairman David continued, the declaration will continue and we do not know when it will end. He said this public health emergency has affected our normal ways of life, from Government, church, and family, even separating families for over one year now. Chairman David said the completion of MMA is hope that the repatriation of the citizens would be enabled as soon as possible.
Chairman David, then thanked the following Departments for their crucial role to stand up MMA: Pohnpei Port Authority (PPA), the General Manager and Board of Directors for allowing the land to be used, for Pohnpei Utilities Corporation’s (PUC) ingenuity and expertise for putting together the containers that came without instructions but were still assembled.
A special thanks to the US Government, through Compact Sector Grant funding, that allowed for the purchase of the 30 containers. Chairman David thanked the Chinese Gov for the initial 10 quarantine container units donated through the FSM National Government to Pohnpei State Government. He thanked the Pohnpei Transportation Authority (PTA) for landscaping. He said of landscaping, that the improvement is obvious to those who came here before. Lastly, he thanked the Department of Health and Social Services (DOHSS) for their service and support from the beginning. He ended his remarks with the hope that this facility (MMA) will enable Pohnpei State to move forward with the repatriation of our stranded citizens and residents.
Representing H.E. David Panuelo, President of the FSM, was the FSM Secretary of Finance, Mr. Eugene Amor. In his remarks, Secretary Amor brought greetings from President Panuelo, who sent his regrets that he could not attend today’s ceremony due to other pressing commitments. Secretary Amor said that our collective efforts for the MMA are finally bearing results and today, he stated, that we are 100 times more ready than we were on this same exact date, last year. He called the completion of MMA an important milestone in Pohnpei’s COVID-19 preparation and response. Secretary Amor thanked the Pohnpei Traditional, Government, and Task Force leadership for their efficient and effective response, especially in planning to build a quarantine site, the MMA, that is isolated from the general population. A very smart and important achievement, he noted. He joined Chairman David to thank Development partners for their technical assistance and advice, and for rising up to the challenge. Secretary Amor said the National Government will continue to support Pohnpei State to further enhance resilience against this virus and the challenges brought on health, social and economic fronts. He said the National Government will work with the Pohnpei State Government to devise work plans, programs, activities, and initiatives in response to the people and those affected by the pandemic. He spoke of the different variants around the world and said we must not let our guards down. He said immunizations are helping to re-open economies and the National Government looks to work with Pohnpei State to speed up vaccination rates. Regarding vaccinations, Secretary Amor said, how thankful the National Government was for already receiving vaccinations, saying we are very fortunate to have received the vaccines, hoping to make very good use of this generous advantage from the US Government. He closed by once again thanking the traditional leadership of Pohnpei, Government Leadership, the Governor, Speaker, Task Forces, and all stakeholders.
Iso-Nahnken Nett, Salvador Iriarte, gave closing remarks. On behalf of the people of the Kingdom of Nett, he welcomed everyone and allowed the use of the land that MMA occupies (which is located in Nett) to use for the protection of the citizens and residents of Pohnpei. He gave thanks to the Government of Pohnpei, he said the MMA site and surrounding area is the peoples of Nett best fishing ground, and for the sake of others, the people of Nett gave this area up to continue to serve others. He noted that airplanes, ships, even the dumpsites, hospitals, and the jail are all located in Nett. He was very happy that the people of Nett serve all of Pohnpei, noting that when you arrive in Pohnpei, you are in Nett, first and when you get sick in Madolenihmw you have to go to Nett, where both Hospitals are located. IsoNahnken Salvador Iriarte concluded by saying all things are located in Nett, and on behalf of the Nanmwarki and clans and people of Nett, he hoped to see a better day for everyone.
To officially open the Medical Monitoring Area in Dekehtik, a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the First Lady of Pohnpei, Mrs. Estle G. Oliver was conducted after the speeches.
Next, the General Manager of PUC, Mr. Nixon Anson, officially handed over the keys to the container units to the Governor of Pohnpei, Reed B. Oliver.
Father Ken Urumolong closed the ceremony with a touching prayer extolling the values of Enginkehlap to work together for the good of our people, to fight the coronavirus with Enginkehlap and do it the Island way, together.
Traditional Leaders present included, Doakesa, Nanmwarki of Pingelap, Iso-Nahnken of Madolenihmw, and Administrator of the Pohnpei State Government Office of Transportation and Infrastructure, John Adolph and Iso-Nahnken of Nett, Salvador Iriarte. From the FSM National Congress, Senator Ferny Perman, from the National Government, Secretary of Transportation and Infrastructure, Carlson Apis, Acting Secretary of Health, Mr. Marcus Samo, Assistant Secretary of Health, Mr. Moses Pretrick. Present from the Diplomatic Corps: H.E. Huang Zheng, Chinese Ambassador to the FSM, H.E. Hidenobu Sobashima, Japanese Ambassador to the FSM, US Embassy Kolonia Charge d’Affaires’ Somer Bressier-Briers and Australian Embassy Charge d’ Affaires’ Takuro Steele. From the Municipal Government, Nett District Administrator, Mr. Nelson Iriarte, Madolenihmw Acting Meninkeder: Mr. John Rensle.