The delegates to the 4th FSM Constitutional Convention, with President Redley Killion and Vice President Salvador Iriarte in the front/center. Photo courtesy of FSM Information Service
Palikir, Pohnpei—Over the next 30 to 45 days, the 4th Constitutional Convention will discuss issues affecting the Federated States of Micronesia and propose amendments, — where deemed necessary—to the FSM Constitution.
“Our Constitution was drafted by our Founding Fathers in such a manner that makes it very difficult for any change to happen,” FSM President David Panuelo said, keynoting the 4th FSM Constitutional Convention, which opened Jan. 7.
Any amendments to be proposed by ConCon will eventually be put up to a public vote.
“The threshold of 75 percent approval by the voting population in three of our four states [for proposed amendments] is a very tall order,” Panuelo said. “I ask and implore upon you that we be practical, because if we are overambitious it can be lost in the translation and public awareness process.”
Panuelo said every action ConCon takes must be guided by constitutional objectives.
“An important opportunity,” he added, “inscribed into our highest law of the nation, so as to ensure preservation and maintenance of the rights of the people, is the right of our citizens to be able to once again ask this fundamental question: how can we make things better for our country? This question is amplified at this very moment for delegates to ponder on and think about.”
Former FSM vice president Redley Killion from Chuuk has been named president of the Convention.
“This Constitutional Convention is a reaffirmation of who we are, that we are Micronesians, proud of our heritage and committed to protect the promise of the future—including mutual enjoyment, and equitable sharing of the resources of our land, natural, cultural, and other forms of resources,” Killion said. “I am confident that the different ideas that each of us will be discussing will be…of value in the improvement of our Constitution to further strengthen unity and prosperity and for our nation.”
The 4th Constitutional Convention adopted official Rules of Procedure, and unanimously accepted the qualifications Rreport which confirmed that all delegates-elect were appropriately qualified to serve.
Prior to the election of residing officers, the delegates swore an Oath of Office administered by FSM Supreme court Chief Justice Dennis Yamase.
Iso Nahnken of Nett, Salvador Iriarte from the State of Pohnpei, was elected vice president of the Convention.
Andrew R. Yatilman, from the State of Yap—who also serves as secretary of the Department of Environment, Climate Change, & Emergency Management—was elected as floor leader of the Convention; while Johnson S. Asher, from the State of Kosrae, was elected as chair of the Committee of the Whole.
Elected chairmen of different committees were:
Delegate Mason Albert (Pohnpei): the Civil Liberties and Traditions Committee;
Delegate Victor Nabeyan (Yap): Government Structure and Functions Committee;
Delegate Salomon Saimon (Pohnpei): Style and Arrangement Committee
Delegate Yoslyn G. Sigrah (Kosrae): General Provisions Committee
The Chairman of the Public Finance and Revenue Committee is Delegate Peter Sitan from the State of Chuuk.
A Special Committee to Wait on the President and Speaker comprises of Akillino H. Susaia (Pohnpei) as the Chairman with members inclusive of Andy P. Choor (Yap), Cindy S. Mori (Chuuk), and Yoslyn G. Sigrah (Kosrae).