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  • By Joyce McClure

Traditional Yap chief axed for fishing deals with outsiders

Chinese, Koreans harvesting grouper and sea cucumber on the cheap in Ulithi Atoll

Chinese-crewed fishing boat in Ulithi Atoll

Colonia, Yap- Being a chief in Yap and its Outer Islands is taken very seriously and carries many responsibilities. Dismissal of chiefs is not taken lightly. When a chief is dismissed by the traditional council that he sits on, his abuse of power warranting such an action must be substantial.

The membership of Fernando Moglith, Chief of Fedrai in Ulithi, in the Council of Tamol was terminated this week.

A letter was sent to Moglith from Ramon Peyal, Chairman of the Council, dismissing him “effective immediately” based on a “diligent review of your past actions and assessments of such actions…” Those actions were deemed to have “created disputes, fiasco, and segregation between families and clans in the Neighboring Islands Community especially Fedrai.”

One of those actions was Moglith’s fishing agreement with Topside Enterprise, a locally-owned business, which he did not discuss in advance with the Chairman of the Council and “neglected to touch base with your community before you made the agreement…” Another citation in the dismissal letter notes that Moglith also went to Fedrai with his “Korean friends” to harvest sea cucumber, disobeying “the general consensus of the Council not to remove any sea cucumber from the Neighboring Islands.” Upon arrival, the community “put a stop to your decision,” the letter declares.

According to Council Policy, “The Chairman of the Council of Tamol under that authority as the only head of the Office of the Council may remove any member with having justifiable cause and disturbance of Council of Tamol meetings and any other business affairs and stability.” The Chairman’s letter ends, “With the citations listed above, I am exercising them because you have left me no choice.”

The Chairman was assisted in his review of Moglith’s past actions by the chief and elders of Mogmog, the seat of the high chief of Ulithi. They will now meet with the people of Fedrai to give the directive to select a new representative to the Council. If the people are unable to choose a replacement, the Council of Tamol will do it for them.


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