Emalus Campus

Emalus Campus

The Control of Fishing Resources in the Federated States of Micronesia

By Marstella Jack
Fourth Year LLB student
University of the South Pacific



- Colonial Rule
- Move Towards Self Government


- The Constitutional Convention
- The Vote


- Funding Problems in the Early Years


- Paramountcy of National Government
- Exclusive Powers
- Concurrent Powers
- Legislation and Enforcement of Criminal Law
- Fiscal Relations
- Power Over Marine Resources
- Is it Hidden Supremacy?


- Possibilities of Fragmentation







In December 1997, in what appeared to be the most controversial case in the Federated States of Micronesia, the four State Governments (hereinafter "the states") dragged the FSM National Government (hereinafter "the national government") to the FSM Supreme Court, alleging that the national government is abusing its limited authority over the ownership use of the 200 EEZ based on the following arguments:

  • Article IX, S.2(m) of the FSM Constitution expressly delegated to Congress a "regulatory" power for ownership, exploration and exploitation of natural resources within the marine space of the Federated States of Micronesia beyond the 12 miles from island baselines, therefore, exclusive ownership of the 200 EEZ is vested in the states by virtue of historic right, custom, or legal title;
  • Accordingly, the national government, namely the Congress, must "increase" the appropriation of revenues specifically generated from foreign fishing license fees to the states;
  • The distribution formula for fishing license fees should be analogous to the Constitutional distribution formula for tax revenues, as provided for under Article IX, s.5 of the FSM Constitution as the charge for access fees is akin to tax levy.

The case is now under advisement before Chief Justice Andon Amaraich. Advocates of both parties speculate that it would take at least another year or so before the judge issues a decision on the matter. The direction of the final judgment is critical because it could decide the fate of the Micronesian federation as murmurs of disenchantment continue to spread amongst the island states.



In order to examine the intergovernmental operations of any self governing union, it is critical to understand the basic financial mechanisms that provides for the general day to day operation of the government.

Due to its economic attachments with the US under the Compact of Free Association (hereinafter CFA), FSM receives annual grant payments worth millions of US dollars to practically run the public sector operations. The CFA provides for a 15 year period whereby the US Government will transfer to the FSM Government a total of USD 1 billion commencing in 1986 and terminating in the not too distant future, the year 2001. Under this funding, 75% is to be provided in direct monetary grants, whilst the rest is to come through US funded social, health and education programs. Out of this also, 40% of the annual payments is to be directed to capital improvement projects. Given the recent decline in funding under this agreement, the FSM State governments, along with the national government, must start looking elsewhere to offset the reduction in the balance of payments in order to continue to run the governments. Unlike its neighboring countries of Melanesia, the FSM is not blessed with rich natural resources. Hence the pivotal development of its only other natural resource, the marine resources within the 200 Exclusive Economic Zone.

The above case stimulated much heated debate amongst the leaders of the 2 tiers of government, especially since the national government currently receives several thousands annually from fishing license fees, and presently shares very little of this revenue with the states. Will the national government heed the call of the states? More importantly, can the state governments compel the national Congress to increase the states’ share of revenues derived from fishing access fees?

The examination of the financial relations between the states and the national government is a difficult task due to the complex interrelationship between the legal, economic and political capacities of the two tiers of government. This study examines the federal balance of power - the power of the states in relation to the national government - particularly with regards to the revenue sharing power as stipulated under the FSM Constitution, and attempts a constructive analysis of this fiscal provision to determine whether the state governments have a valid claim against the national government in the suit pending before the FSM Chief Justice. To what extent was financial autonomy guaranteed by the constitutional framers for the two levels of government?

A discussion of some of the major factors that ‘may have' contributed to this seemingly deteriorating relationship between the 2 tiers of government will be touched upon to perhaps pose some food for thought for the present and future leaders of this young developing nation. Why a "Federation" in the first place? Has the federal structure of government been functional in this widely dispersed area?

A brief look at the geography and the history of the governments of the Micronesian islands is critical to provide a general understanding of the evolution of the current government arrangements within the Federated States of Micronesia.



The geography of FSM encompasses 607 high volcanic and low lying islands which extends over more than 2.98 million square kilometers of ocean in the Western Pacific Ocean, blessing the country with the third largest EEZ in the region. It is located between the equator and 14° North and 136° East and 166° East.

The continuing trend of increased fisheries activities world-wide and the accompanying economic benefits has brought the very essence of ocean resource issues to the forefront of policy development in FSM. The land area is a mere 701 square kilometers. Due to this limited land-based resource, the sea provides the primary means for the development of economic viability which is the necessary foundation for political stability. For this reason, s.101 of Title 24 of the FSM Code dictates that:

"[T]he resources of the sea must be managed, conserved, and developed for the benefit of the people living today and for the generations of citizens to come. The harvesting of this resource, both domestic and foreign, must be monitored, and when necessary, controlled."

The careful cultivation of the marine resources is thus an integral part of FSM's nation building efforts, particularly as reliance on foreign aid dwindles and dependence on the cash economy increases among the population.




Is the present type of government structure coherent with the original desire of the Micronesians to promulgate the FSM Constitution? The history of the larger Micronesia does much to explain the existing political situation within the FSM.

A long history of colonial occupation followed by financial flows and political ties with the Compact of Free Association has had a pervasive influence over the structure and level of economic development in the FSM. Now we turn to briefly examine the colonial administration of the former Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and see how the FSM Government evolved from that arrangement.


Colonial Rule

The Spanish rule from 1885-1899 concentrated mostly on Guam and the Northern Marianas to serve as supply stops for the Spanish galleons. Spain then sold its island possession to Germany, which ruled the islands from 1899-1914, and practically used them as coconut plantations to enhance its copra trade and whaling industries throughout the Pacific.

After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 awarded Japan the former German colonies as a League of Nations mandate. Japanese occupation, although brutal at times, was said to be the most progressive as it brought the islands' economies to practically a stage of self-sufficiency.

The Americans came in after World War II under the UN Trusteeship Agreement to promote the political, social, educational and economic development of the islands. The location of the Micronesian archipelago, between Japan and Hawaii, was ideal and vital for the maintenance of US strategic interest in the Pacific, so the Americans stayed until 1986. The US has been criticized time and again for the hand-out type of development approach employed in the early years. Hanlon and Eperiam suggested that, unsure of what approach to take, the US first implemented a program that critics termed the "zoo theory" to establish a defense perimeter around the islands while disturbing as little as possible the traditional lifestyles of the natives. It didn't work because the islanders had become too accustomed to the market oriented approach sanctioned by the Japanese.


Move Towards Self-Government

In 1965, after more than 20 years of American administration, the Congress of Micronesia was born, a legislative body modelled after the US Congress. Despite the increased sophistication of politics, economic development still lagged. In 1969, negotiations were initiated between the Americans and the Micronesians to determine the future political status of the islands. The ultimate decision ruled out independence as impractical due to the heavy economic dependence on the US, and the lack of readily exploitable natural resources. It was "either a new political relationship with the United States, or prolonged continuation of the Trusteeship." The task before the new body was a formidable challenge as the objective was to devise a future government that would cater to the needs of the six widely scattered districts with their distinct languages and cultural traditions, and disparate levels of acculturation, whilst establishing a national government with sovereign powers. How can the needs of not only six completely diverse groups, but with islands widely dispersed over a vast area of ocean, be accommodated under one sovereign state? Hanlon and Eperiam writes that the problems of uniting people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds quickly surfaced. The dire need to address the relations amongst the districts quickly emerged as well and compounded the discussions.

With the continuing strategic value of the districts of Palau, Marshalls and the Marianas, the US felt it would be much easier to deal individually with them and then collectively with the remainder, (Yap, Truk and Ponape) as the former districts expected major financial rewards in exchange for US military rights to their islands. The Marianas was also complaining that tax revenues from their islands were being used by the Congress of Micronesia, and sought separate political talks with the United States. Thus the rift between the districts began.

The question of federalism-allocation of powers between the national and local governments-was accidentally abandoned in the emerging debate over secession. Palau and the Marshall Islands eventually chose to secede as well because like the Marianas, why should they share the compensation of military base rights when the burdens of military presence would not be shared? By 1975, it was apparent that constitutional development was necessary to establish national unity on the basis of Micronesian decisions. Commentators believed that the US Government intruded on Micronesia's sovereignty by influencing the internal organization of the islands with the 'military deal.’

Thus the beginnings of self-government for the remaining districts of Yap, Truk and Ponape.



Is the present FSM Constitution truly an FSM Constitution?

The Constitutional Convention

Despite the apparent outcome that Palau, Marshalls and the Marianas would opt for separate political ties with the United States, they nevertheless participated in the Constitutional Convention called for by the Congress of Micronesia in 1975. The Marianas had just recently concluded separate political status negotiations with the US then, and the voters had approved their Covenant. The Palauans were somewhat divided on the issues of political separation and unity. If Palau were to be a part of a united Micronesia, sovereignty must reside with the constituent states. This uncertainty led to the formation of a Palauan bloc advocating a loose confederation. The Marshallese leaders had firmly decided that separation was their ultimate objective, yet, two chiefs sympathetic to national unity attended the convention.

Two rival approaches to federalism were proposed before the convention. The first one proposed that Micronesia should be governed by an executive council of ministers comprising one member representing each state, with a bicameral Congress as the legislative body, and a unified judiciary, except for local land claims courts. The journals reported that the proposal "would have established a chamber of chiefs in the executive department of the national government, and an active functional role for the traditional leaders of the states." It was rejected in its entirety. Incidentally, in 1990, a proposal for a Constitutional amendment was brought before the voters of FSM to establish a Chamber of Chiefs as the 4th branch of government, but it was unanimously defeated.

The second proposal, initiated by the Palauans, centred on a federal system very similar to that of the United States, wherein an executive is led by a President who appoints his own cabinet, the legislative a unicameral Congress, and a judiciary with limited jurisdiction. The entire national government has limited jurisdiction. The states would have an elected governor with a legislature and state judiciaries. There were no provisions for traditional chiefs. The Marshalls delegation pushed for the remission of 50% of total revenue to the state of derivation.

It was apparent that the political compromises that were eventually made attempted to accommodate the views of the Palauan and Marshallese delegations whilst preserving the concept of a sovereign national government. It basically required that legislation be approved by a super majority (3/4) and that the states would receive a large portion of nationally generated revenues and foreign financial assistance. The federal structure and the fiscal provisions reflected the desire of the island communities for a wide measure of autonomy. Decentralization was essential if self-government and democracy were to be meaningful at all at the local levels.

Fear of excessive regional prejudices, especially in the early years of the new government, steered the Convention away from the popular election of the chief executive officers, thus the selection of the President and Vice President was vested with Congress. The Chief Justice is to be appointed by the President with the approval of 2/3 of Congress.


The Vote

So then everyone was satisfied with the language of the Micronesian Constitution. Passage of the document required an affirmative vote of a majority of votes in 2/3 of the remaining districts. Accordingly Kosrae emerged as a separate state with equal political status because if the Marshalls and Palau were to desert the FSM, there still remained a majority of states to satisfy the majority requirement.

A program on "Education for Self-Government" was undertaken to explain the constitution and other alternatives to the people. Elected leaders in individual states expressed worries about the loss of autonomy to a national government. Concerns arise amongst the voters in terms of Micronesia's future political status, and conflicting issues such as citizenship, land rights and unrestricted travel between the islands exacerbated the progress of the awareness raising program. It took two years to finally complete the program.

The FSM Constitution was ultimately brought to the polls in 1978, and as expected, only Yap, Truk, Ponape and Kosrae ratified it. It was defeated in Palau by a narrow margin.

Thus the palpable fact that the FSM Constitution was shaped and moulded in large measure by people who do not live under it. The Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau currently enjoys the same free association status with the United States.



For an island nation that was colonized by 4 different imperial governments in less than a 50 year span, it is not surprising at all to see the remnants of a mixed Micronesian culture amongst the present generation. Does the blend of diverse cultures in a widely dispersed geographical configuration complement or impede unity? How exactly are the powers divided between the national and state governments?

The Constitution establishes a federal system of government modelled after that of the United States in many essential respects. It provides for a national system of government composed of 3 different branches, each having theoretically equal powers, and a division of powers on a federal model between the national and state governments. The states have general powers that are in theory, broader than the powers of the national government.

Elections for the new Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia were held on March 27, 1979 to choose members of the first FSM Congress, followed by the election of the President and Vice President on May 1, 1979. This method of selection continues to stir considerable controversy, as will be discussed later, as some charge as too narrowing and exclusive the stipulation requiring any candidate for the nation’s top executive office to be a member of Congress elected for a 4 year term.

The FSM Constitutional Government was established on May 10, 1979, with the national seat located on Pohnpei. Assumption of the new governmental functions was impeded by the distance between the former Trust Territory headquarters (Saipan) and Pohnpei, the inadequate facilities in Pohnpei, and the complications arising from the division of responsibilities, assets, and records between 3 separate governments rather than transferring them to one single administrative structure.


Funding Problems in the Early Years

To exacerbate the transitional efforts, Saipan (Trust Territory Government) was reluctant to release too much control too soon due to the uncertainty of the termination of the Trust Territory Agreement, and the United States needed to maintain co-ordination in the area as it was foreseeable that the new entities would remain associated with the US. The result was "much confusion over jurisdiction and responsibility." Agreements were eventually hammered out between Pohnpei and Saipan to resolve some of the problems, but the Trust Territory Government retained veto power over all legislation approved by the legislative and executive branches of FSM Government, and continued to serve as a clearing house for most of the federal funds allocated to FSM. Some leaders were critical of this arrangement as it aroused the question of government credibility.

The unrelenting approach by Saipan in the internal affairs of the new government prompted the FSM leaders to seek from Washington a "state agency" designation to facilitate the direct appropriation of federal funds to FSM, circumventing Saipan. The National Union reported that when the US Department of Interior officials refused to discuss the matter of direct appropriation, the FSM representatives walked out of the conference to demonstrate the importance they attached to this issue. FSM also attempted a designation as a "state education agency" to get direct federal education programs. Hanlon and Eperiam reported that "in addition to eliminating waste, delay, and duplication of efforts, their quested identification of the FSM as a direct recipient of federal moneys during the transition period was intended to enhance the new national government’s claims of paramountcy in dealings with the individual states of the federation. Throughout all this exercise, the states sat idle and waited for the national government to fix things.

Once the funds started to flow in regularly, the issue of jurisdiction between the national and state governments subsequently surfaced and is threatened the stability of the union. Hence the prevailing conflicts on taxing powers and revenue sharing. To this we turn to the issue of federalism. What did the Constitutional framers intended the separation of powers to entail?



The Constitution provides the basis for a very strong central government if the Congress and executive both wish to assert national powers at the expense of the states. On the one hand, concerns over economic and administrative efficiency reinforced tendencies toward centralization, whilst concerns among state officials about the size of the national government’s executive branch, and a desire to provide greater local power and more employment for local citizens has tended towards increasing the power and size of the local governments. The constitutional allocation of powers to the national government has not always ensured that these powers are retained in practice as there are instances where the states have asserted greater practical control or received greater financial benefits than might be expected. Burdick reported that the areas where the states have asserted greater control include "legislation and enforcement of the criminal law, derivation of revenues from marine resources, and general taxation policies."


Paramountcy of National Government

When the framers of the Constitution deliberated over this issue, it was recognized that whilst a "homogeneous people living in a geographically compact area can perhaps have their aspirations best served by an all powerful national government, nations such as Micronesia which lack the bond of common cultural origin and further lack the advantage of compact geography must permit local autonomy in order to have efficient government, and to avoid the destructive consequences, real or imagined, of domination by one group over another." The FSM Government structure was thus established upon this foundation that there be a union of autonomous states with state rule constitutionally guaranteed. The collective government of all the states is responsible for external affairs and for the solution of all national problems, whereas the individual states are responsible for all other affairs of the government.

The national constitution is supreme, as provided for in Article II, and defines the basic charter for government in Micronesia. The individual state constitutions, treaties and public laws at all levels of government, and all other local constitutions must be in conformity with the national constitution. See People of Kapingamarangi v Pohnpei Legislature, 3 FSM Intrm. 5, 8-9, (Pon. S.Ct. Tr 1985).


Exclusive Powers

The supremacy of the national government is restricted in its limited and narrowly defined sphere of responsibility. Article VIII of the FSM Constitution provides for the onset of the division of powers between the 2 tiers of government and specifically distinguishes in Section 1 that... [A] power of such an indisputably national character as to be beyond the power of a state to control, is a national power. Section 2 reads, "A power not expressly delegated to the national government or prohibited to the states is a state power." In Youngstrom v Kosrae, 5 FSM Intrm. 263, 265. (Chk. 1992), the court held that the power of the national government under Article IX, s.2(e) of the Constitution, "to impose taxes on income," is an exclusive national power that may not be exercised by the states.

Articles IX, X, and XI delineate the express powers between the three branches of the national government, the Congress, Executive and the Judiciary. Any area outside these express powers that is not beyond the power of a state to control is a state power, therefore, the state governments are supreme in their much broader sphere. On that account, the powers of the national government are ‘express’ powers whilst those of the states are ‘residual.’ The Convention Journals reported the emphasis noted by the Committee on Governmental Functions that "while the powers of the national government are express, limited and narrowly defined, your Committee does not feel that the systems of government herein proposed establishes a ‘weak’ national government, but views the responsibilities of the national government as being limited and that therefore the powers necessary to fulfil those responsibilities are also limited, though not insufficient."

The powers that are exclusively reserved to the national government, under Article IX, ranges from national defense and foreign affairs, insurance, regulation of immigration, emigration, naturalization and citizenship, offshore natural resources, patents and copyrights, and a host of other areas down to legislation of major crimes. The list is more exhaustive and detailed than that in the United States Constitution.

In Innocenti v Wainit, 2 FSM Intrm. 173, 181-82 (App. 1986), the court upheld the nature of the expressly delegated powers in Article IX, s.2 to suggest that they are intended to be the exclusive province of the national government, since they call for a uniform nationally co-ordinated approach. However, there are those powers that may be exercised simultaneously by the two levels of government.


Concurrent Powers

The bulk of the power and legislative authority of government resides in the states, and whilst some are reserved exclusively to the states, others may be exercised concurrently by the two levels of government. These powers cover a wide area of responsibilities, including appropriation power, power to borrow money, education and health, social security and public welfare systems. The FSM National Congress has the power to delineate state and national jurisdiction in these areas. To date, Congress has not established any policy-making role for the national government.

We shall now briefly touch on the power to legislate criminal matters before we turn to our main concern on revenue sharing.


Legislation and Enforcement of Criminal Law

Although the Constitution directs that Congress shall define major crimes and prescribe penalties, the Convention Journals described the distinction between major and minor crimes to be based on the severity of the offence. The established boundary between major and minor crimes are somewhat above the traditional common-law distinction between felonies and misdemeanors, and the maximum penalty lies on that demarcation line. Therefore, the severity of punishment equates with the severity of offence. In Tammow v FSM, 2 FSM Intrm. 53, 59 (App. 1985), the court held that the framers of the Constitution stipulated that the line for determining whether a crime is major be drawn on the basis of the severity or gravity of the crime rather than by reference to principles of federalism developed under the US Constitution.

Despite the wider potential of assertion over this area, the national government has delegated much of this responsibility to the states. This scheme of delegation was adopted as a matter of policy and practicality, rather than because of any constitutional mandate. There is now a proposed bill pending before the FSM Congress for a National Crimes Act. Whether or not this Act would address the problem of jurisdiction over lesser offences committed during the commission of a major crime is something that is yet to be clarified. The issue is a sensitive one because it infringes on the state court’s inherent jurisdiction to adjudicate lesser offences.

A unique feature of the Constitutional provision for jurisdictional matters is under Article XI, s.6(b) where jurisdiction is specifically given to the FSM Supreme Court to adjudicate disputes between citizens of a state and a foreign citizen. This jurisdiction is based upon the citizenship of the parties, and not the subject matter of their dispute, despite the fact that the issues may involve matters within state or local, rather than national legislative powers.

At the present time, most criminal cases are adjudicated at the state court, and currently all the state judges lack formal legal training. If criminal defendants could establish the routine of challenging the competence of state court judges in determining their cases, this could well lead to increased friction between the 2 tiers of government, particularly between the judiciary on jurisdictional issues.


Fiscal Relations

The framers of the Constitution found it impossible to devise acceptable long-term provisions which would not only guarantee a measure of financial autonomy for both tiers of government, but would achieve an acceptable mechanism for determining the distribution of revenue between the national government and each of the states. The ultimate objective was that the national and state governments would be financially independent. The question on the power to impose taxes, as in any other system, can get quite complicated, particularly in a federal system where the relations between the national and state governments are ambiguous. Santhana K, in his book, Union- State Relations in India, propounded this view in stating that:

"Of all the federal problems, the financial relations between the Center and the units are the most difficult."

It appears that the Convention was extremely mindful of the varying interests expressed by the district delegations because the ultimate factors that determined the allocation of the taxing power rested on not only the practical and efficient implementation of a taxation system, but also on the political desirability of such a system as well. In New Federation (1966) by R. L. Watts, he states:

"In order to avoid the conflicts and tangles of overlapping tax jurisdiction, the duplication of collection agencies, and clashes of fiscal policy, the concurrent right of taxation has been widely avoided, and tax sources have nearly always been assigned exclusively to one level of government or the other."

Thus the power of taxation was delegated to the national government, but it covered only two areas, those of import duties and income tax. These are presently the very greatest source of revenue internal revenue in FSM. All other taxing powers are reserved expressly to the states. State and local governments are expressly prohibited from imposing taxes which restrict interstate commerce. See Stinnet v Weno, 6 FSM Intrm. 312, 313 (Chk. 1994).

In the case of Wainit v Truk (II), 2 FSM Intrm. 86, 88 (Truk 1985), the court held that the power to impose taxes, duties and tariffs based on imports is a national, not a state, power and where Congress has exercised the power and shares the revenues with the states, a state may not also impose an additional import tax.

The catch with this fiscal provision requires under Article IX, s. 5, that "National taxes shall be imposed uniformly. Not less than 50% of the revenues shall be paid into the treasury of the state where collected." This was necessary to guarantee a high degree of fiscal autonomy to the states, and there are no conditions whatsoever on the transfer of this revenue, only that Congress has the discretionary power to increase the proportional return above the 50% figure. The funds appropriated into the state treasury may then be appropriated by the respective state legislatures in much the same manner as the FSM Congress has appropriated them.

The final reduction in the funds under the Compact of Free Association prompted the states to sponsor a plebiscite to amend the constitutional revenue sharing formula from 50/50 to 20/80 between the national and state governments respectively. There was widespread awareness raising on this issue, but when the referendum was eventually brought to the polls during the last Congressional elections in March 1997, it was defeated by the people.

During a Pohnpei State Legislative oversight hearing in December 1996, the then Director of Health Services, Dr. Itor Harris, commented on how the differing views between the national and state leaders on this issue depended on where one currently stands. He said, "isn’t it funny that the Governor of Kosrae, Moses Mackwelung, when he was a member of Congress before his election to the Governorship, showed his sheer objection to the proposal, but is now fully supportive of it because he appreciates the declining financial status of the states?" Where is he going to get the money from?

There is no easy solution to this fiscal problem, and it is neither FSM specific nor developing country specific. In other federal types of governments, even those of highly industrialized economies, despite the taxing powers provided to the states, they have never been in a position to raise their own revenue. In Australia, the difficulties stem from the fact that customs duties, like in FSM, were a major source of government revenue, and the power to impose customs and excise duties, as in FSM, lies with the Commonwealth government. Despite the compromise provision under section 87 of the Commonwealth Constitution giving the states 3/4 of revenue generated from customs and excise duties for the first 10 years of federation, there was no long term solution. Summers reports that "the issue of financial arrangement was further complicated because it could not be separated from the level of tariffs which would be set after federation, a matter which divided delegates from New South Wales and Victoria." Therefore, in Australia, over the years since federation, the states have become increasingly reliant on the Commonwealth for their revenue and increasingly subject to its dictates about how that revenue will be spent.

The FSM situation is a replica. Although the FSM Congress has not increased the percentage of revenues to be given to the state treasuries, it has made additional appropriations to the state and municipal governments for public works projects and other grants-in-aid, sometimes popularly referred to as "special projects." These appropriations are basically ‘tied grants’ because they are allocated for specific projects, and these so-called special projects funds are expended by the Congressional delegate from the constituency to which the appropriation is made. In other words, that particular Congressman is the allottee of that particular allocation, and he spends the money based on his own determination of what that special project might be. This procedure of appropriation, rather than additional revenue-sharing, permits members of Congress to retain greater control over expenditures within their respective states, enhancing their political power. This is the apparent source of allegations of public corruption in terms of the use of public money to purchase votes. This arrangement has provided no long term solution and has been a cause of continuing inter-governmental conflict ever since the impacts of the compact reduction in funding started to put strain on the state budgets.

Can the arrangement be modified based on the arguments advanced by the states that the Governor should be the allottee of all appropriations from the national government, whether they be for specific projects or not? In Gouland v Joseph, 5 FSM Intrm. 263, 265 (Chk. 1992), the court noted that under national law, the governor of a state is the allottee for all Compact of Free Association funds unless he delegates in writing his right to be allottee, so where a statute allots such funds to the legislative branch without written delegation from the governor, the statute violates national law.

Measures should be put in place to prevent both the national and state legislatures from being allottees of public funds. This current arrangement for Congressional allottees opens so much room for use and manipulation of grants as there is no reporting requirement for these special projects.


Power over Marine Resources

Exploitation of the living and non-living resources of the sea is presently FSM’s greatest internal source of economic wealth. The allocation of administrative authority over the sea and the right to revenue from it was an important issue in the Constitutional Convention. The difficulty with fisheries resources is the absence of private interests in the form of ownership rights or fishing rights, especially in the Pacific region where individual rights are accorded based on one’s membership in a clan or society.

Bearing in mind the fact that Micronesian custom generally recognizes family, clan or island ownership of fishery resources within lagoons and for several miles beyond the reefs, it was originally envisaged that the state governments ought to regulate the ownership and use of such resources. In the Journal, the first draft of Article I on Territory has: " National Territory. The National Territory of Micronesia comprises of ……….." The second draft went: "The National Territory of Micronesia…………. ". The final draft and the one ratified went like this: "The Territory of the Federated States of Micronesia comprised of the districts of the Micronesia archipelago that ratify this constitution……." At the end of the paragraph are the following "....waters belonging to Micronesia by historic rights, custom or legal rights."

However, convention delegates were also cognizant of the emerging deliberations surrounding the UN Convention on Law of the Sea that were likely to extend Micronesian marine resource jurisdiction up to 200 miles beyond the reefs. Article VIII, S.1 expressly provides that a "power of such an undisputedly national character as to be beyond the power of a state to control, is a national power." Therefore, the delegates were also mindful that the exploitation of the marine resources within the 200 mile zone will inevitably involve nationals of other countries, so the regulation of the off-shore area requires a rational and organized plan to maintain consistency and uniformity among the states.

In the end, the regulatory authority over both mineral and fishery resources beyond the 12 miles of an island was vested in the national government.

Throughout the convention discussions on marine resources, the delegates recognized that exploitation of the off-shore mineral resources will expend substantial sums of money, especially in the initial survey studies in preparing areas for mineral exploitation and in policing and monitoring commercial and other activities in the areas, so the decision was that the revenue derived from ocean floor mining, less costs of survey and site preparation, be divided equally between the national government and that particular state where ocean mining was conducted. Thus, Article IX s.6 specifically provides that net revenue derived from ocean floor mineral resources be divided equally between the national government and the appropriate state government.

What of fishery resource exploitation? There is no mention whatsoever of the issue of distribution of revenues derived from fishery exploitation. It is only logical that delegation of revenue distribution from fisheries activities would be impractical due to the nature of the resource itself. How can one determine which state gets what percentage of the access fees when foreign boats are allowed to fish in FSM waters, and not restricted to any particular state? The resource itself, mainly tuna, is highly migratory in nature, so one cannot determine shares based on area of derivation. There has to be an internal mechanism that specifically provides for the distribution of the revenue by way of percentage shares, e.g. each state to receive 20% of revenues from fishing access fees per annum.

The only other discussion on fishery exploitation concerned the implied power for the national government to form of a public corporation for commercial exploitation of tuna resources, which the Constitution ought to be flexible enough to permit for the national government to do so.

For this purpose, Title 24 of the FSM Code was enacted to promote the conservation, management, and development of the marine resources of FSM, generate the maximum benefit from foreign fishing, and promote the development of a domestic fishing industry. Section 105 gives the national government regulatory power only outside the 12 miles, but s.117 of this title provides that if the national government (Micronesian Maritime Authority) assists any state with the collection of fishing fees within state waters, as authorized by state law, any fees collected for fishing within state waters shall be transferred to the state for which the fishing permit was granted. See FSM v Kotobuki Maru No. 23 (I). 6 FSM Intrm. 65, 69 (Pon. 1993).

In Pohnpei v M/V Zhong Yuan Yu #606, 6 FSM Intrm. 464, 465 (Pon. 1994), the regulation of foreign commercial fishing in state waters - within a limit of 12 miles, is a matter of state law.

The Pohnpei State Constitution, as it stands right now, defines territory of Pohnpei to include waters beyond the 12 mile baseline mark. Article I s.1 reads as follows:

"[A] marine space of two hundred nautical miles measured outward from appropriate baselines, the sea bed, subsoil, water column, insular and continental shelves, and any other territory and water belonging to any island of Pohnpei by historical right, custom, or legal title."

The other state constitutions did not necessarily address the issue of marine resource ownership. The ownership discussions can thus be concluded to mean that ownership of marine resources beyond the 12 miles rests with the states by virtue of historic right, custom or legal title, but the regulatory power for the exploration and exploitation of these resources is an express delegation to Congress. How then, can the states compel the national government to increase their share of this revenue?

Despite the paramount legal authority that the national government has over the 200 mile zone, the states have in practice received a substantial portion of the financial benefits. Due to the absence of an express provision for the use of revenues derived from fisheries activities, the national government could have retained marine resource revenues for its own use, but it has continued to appropriate most of the funds for local projects in the states, and the Congress is legally free to appropriate as the members deem best, subject to Presidential veto. This again comes under the special projects allocation scheme referred to earlier. Burdick suggested that the executive branch has maintained its neutrality in this area due to the political sensitivity of the issue, in writing that "political considerations have been paramount in the allocation of these funds, and the executive branch has generally not attempted to impose its views on that allocation." However, in 1994, a pork barrel Congressional appropriation of 1 million dollars for those so called special projects brought the executive and legislative branches to a head-on collision. The bill was vetoed by President Olter, and the veto message called for loyalty and honesty from Congressional members in putting the duty of nation before self interests, but Congress nevertheless overrode the Presidential veto and the 14 members received their total of $1 million special projects funds.

So, which branch is supreme after all? All the incumbent senators were re-elected in March 1995.


Is It Hidden Supremacy?

The difference between the government structure in the US and that of the FSM is that the FSM Constitution provides for a combination of the Westminster and the Presidential systems whereby the head of government and the vice-president are elected from amongst the 4 at-large members of Congress by the 14 members. Once elected, they vacate their seats and by-elections are held to fill the vacancies. The Constitutional framers argued that this is an imperative Constitutional feature for the preservation of the separation of powers at the national government. The President and Vice President may serve two terms of 4 years each, if re-elected to Congress by their constituents, but they must go through the same process of in-house Congressional election to run a second term for the same executive seats. Therefore, this is seen by many as the 'hidden supremacy' of Congress over the other branches of government. What happened to the preservation of powers envisaged by the Constitution? More often than not, political hunger renders the decision making authority of the 2 executive officers at the mercy of the Congress, particularly if the administration is serving its' first term of office. "Congress is becoming too powerful" has become a common cry amongst the state leaders today.

If the Congress elects the President from amongst its members, and approves the appointment of judges and Department heads, where is the balance in this so called system of checks and balances?

Let us now turn to examine the whether the sense of unity envisioned by the forefathers in Micronesia still exists today. Perhaps the source of this current dispute over revenue sharing is not the revenue problem itself, but the total lack of this sentiment of unity.



Unity is of course the goal and when achieved, all other efforts, especially economic development and social enhancement of the country will be achieved as well. The problem is that unity just does not come about without sustained efforts of the leadership at all levels of society, and particularly at the apex of authority and power.

The FSM is a Federation and that makes the efforts to achieve unity critical in order to keep the different states in the fold. What should have happened and it didn't after 1979 was for the FSM National Government to undertake a well-co-ordinated effort to integrate the nation politically and economically. To date, no efforts has been made to this end. Not many nations become successful in nation building without putting together a political and economic integration program form the very beginning.

The national integration function should have been a prominent function of one of the offices of the Government. There are accusations aimed at the states that they are becoming unreasonable in their demand for greater autonomy, fiscal or otherwise. Is that a valid argument? The States priority is the future and well being of their people. There is nothing that is more prominent than that. The FSM National Government should have known this, even from November 3, 1986 and have undertaken the political integration efforts necessary to ensure that the States see and feel that the existence of the National Government is important to the future and well-being of the people in the states. Had that effort been undertaken, the federation would not be facing the same sort of haphazard situation we are at today. There are those who now feel that the existence of the National Government is an impediment or obstacle to their development aspirations. Again, is it the states that should be blamed for this resulting circumstance, or the national government?

The critical need for political integration in the FSM in order to come close to achieving, if at all, UNITY in the FSM is very important. The FSM is a nation of four, a designation that tells what kind of nation FSM is and the kinds of things that must take place to salvage the unity of that kind of nation.

A sensitive problem facing FSM in its infancy years was the definition of jurisdiction between the national and state governments. The intense debates surrounding the issue prompted the national government to sponsor a series of national-state leadership councils to work out areas of authority and responsibility. To this day, the problem persists.


Possibilities of Fragmentation

The Australian Constitution forbids the secession of any state from its federal government despite repeated attempts by some to detach. The FSM Constitution does not expressly address the question of secession. Although there was a proposed resolution to direct the Constitutional Convention to establish a right of secession, it was ultimately filed. The result was a much watered down provision, under Article XIII, s.3:

"It is the solemn obligation of the national and state governments to uphold the provision of this Constitution and the principles of unity upon which this Constitution is founded."

Despite the absence of the express prohibition against secession, a Palauan delegate to the Convention conceded that this provision would prohibit the "inalienable right" of secession.

Article I, s.1 defines the Territory of FSM to comprise the districts that ratify the Constitution, so it has been argued in the past that a constitutional amendment would be required to permit a state to secede.

The State of Pohnpei, over the past several years, has been rumored to be considering that option. In early 1982, murmurs of disenchantment grew and a bill was introduced into the Pohnpei State legislature calling for a referendum on whether or not Pohnpei should continue in the FSM. The reasons usually advanced for secession are the perceived inequities in the allocation of the US grant funds among the several states and the excessive power being asserted by the national government. Some observers said that this secessionist sentiment may have been the factor in Pohnpei State’s vote against the Compact of Free Association, and the legislature’s overwhelming rejection. Others observed that the legislature’s opposition was the Compact’s wide delegation of power to the United States. Had the FSM National Government seat been located in the other states, perhaps Pohnpeians would have voted strongly for the referendum to separate from the FSM. It turned out that the measure actually galvanized support for the continuation of the federation, particularly when it became apparent to the pwilidak that the presence of the national government in Pohnpei itself brought economic benefits in terms of tax revenues and consumer spending in the commercial sector.

Fear of mass migration of Chuukese to Pohnpei may have shaped the sentiments against the passage of the Compact. Although Chuuk still boasts the highest population today, migration from Chuuk to Pohnpei continues at an alarming rate, so much so that there are several Mortlockese/Chuukese communities established on the main island of Pohnpei.

Another threat to the union was the move by various island groups to become separate states. A group of islands at the western end of Chuuk lagoon, Faichuk had sought an independent status from the rest of Truk district since 1960 because the people believe that independence would bring higher levels of goods, services, medical treatment and capital improvement projects. With the formation of the FSM Government perpetuated the issue of independence, and it became an issue of statehood. In the First Regular Session of Congress, the bill for separate statehood for Faichuk was introduced, but never debated upon, re-introduced in the Second Regular Session the following year, and subsequently passed. This caused an uproar from Pohnpei and Yap. Pohnpei was deeply concerned that a second Chuukese state would definitely ensure Chuukese dominance, hence, an imbalance threatening the very nature of appropriations, local autonomy and cultural identity. President Nakayama, a Chuukese himself, was seen to have sacrificed his own political future when he vetoed the bill, but he was re-elected to run a second term for the highest office in the nation.

The FSM Constitution does not expressly prevent secessionist moves by any one state, and a state may secede if it so wishes, but the failure of the Faichuk bill and the Pohnpei State legislature’s failure to match its expressions of secessionist sentiment with action has finally brought the issue of fragmentation to a stage of dormancy.

Should Judge Amaraich rule in favor of the national government, can one or more of the states opt to secede from the federation in order to exercise complete sovereignty over fishery and marine resources? Would sovereignty of resource ownership be worth that much in the end?

It is seemingly apparent that the source of the current dispute and conflicts is not the over sovereignty or unity issues, but rather the imprudent, ill-advised and often corrupt management of public policy makers that continues to impede the overall efforts of both the national and state governments to expend public funds constructively.



Despite overwhelming rejections and reservations by Pohnpei State, the Compact was approved with major unsettling revisions in areas affecting taxes, trade and fisheries management. US promises to extend certain federal assistance programs, along with renegotiation provisions overcame the reservations and the Compact prevailed in the end.

The Compact was said to be the driving force behind the centralist sentiments in the early years. The first President of the FSM, Tosiwo Nakayama, when asked to describe the relationship between the state and national governments, replied to the Pacific Magazine saying:

"We regard ourselves in the national government as an arm of the states in that we act in their interest. We assist in their programs; we testify and present their state budgets in Washington D.C.; we represent them in foreign countries. That’s all. We don’t run the federal programs. We have no power or control over the states because we are a loose federation and the states are more powerful than the national government."

(The Pacific Magazine, May/June 1982)

This statement was seen by many FSM leaders as misleading, and it obscured the constitutional delegation of powers. Events in the following years by the national government dictated the centralization of power and assured the national government of its survival through the establishment of national agencies to regulate certain critical areas of economic development: The Foreign Investment Board, the FSM Development Bank, the FSM Coconut Development Authority, and the Micronesian Maritime Authority (MMA), to name a few. The current dispute charges that the MMA is too lenient in its licensing regulations, and should increase the fee charge for fishing access by foreign fishing vessels. The reporting requirements under the Compact dictates that all states must submit 5 year development plans before any financial assistance can be given, and the national government took the direction of the drafting process to ensure compatibility, but the governments are still behind in their submissions.

The FSM Economy, as reported by ESCAP, continues to face major difficulties given its very limited development opportunities. FSM had negative economic growth during the period 1990-1994, and most of the current activity is generated by the public work force. The recently adopted Early Retirement Scheme (Reform Program) has started redundancy programs, and the national government was restructured to streamline and downsize the public work force. The stagnant growth and gloomy picture is unacceptable to many donors and funding organizations. Out of the nearly 1 billion US grant, FSM and its states have very little to show for it. Where has the money gone? Will the increase in revenue from fishing fees eliminate any of these problems at all? What would be the effect of any increases from the national government if the bulk of the government funding source, the Compact, ceases? Renegotiations are underway, or are scheduled to commence soon, and it is very likely that the United States will minimize as little as possible the terms for any extensions, because the cold war is over, hence the strategic value of these small islands to US military interests.

A question that needs to be posed in the wake of the dispute between the national and state governments is this - Why did the states wait until just now to bring the national government to court? Perhaps because the decline in compact funds is straining the state economies and with the package reform program imposed on FSM by ADB, and the twin institutions of IMF and World Bank, there is nowhere else to seek funding. In Chuuk a Governor was practically ousted from office for corruption, and moves failed in Pohnpei last year to remove Governor Pangelinan because he has not improved the state budget.



Aside from human resources, the marine resource is the only other resource base for the FSM. Careful and ‘collective’ efforts must be utilized to ensure that the resource is being developed to its full potential. Instead of bickering over revenue sources, the states should devote and commit their money into developing their own domestic fishing industries, and not rely so much on appropriations from the national Congress. It is a fact that the tuna industry is a risky venture in terms of domestic development due to the unskilled labor and funding constraints, but through time, and solidified efforts, it may pull off.

Another option is to concentrate on developing the human resource in technology and engineering to boast a technological society akin to Japan or Korea. But this issue is for another paper so we shall not delve into it any further.

The common ground for the dispute should be to compel Congress to establish by statute, a distribution formula where the states can receive their 20% or so of shares from fishing fees. The court probably may not be able to compel Congress to do that because that would be judicial interference with the powers of Congress to regulate, or legislate. The judges, despite their efforts to maintain the judiciary’s impartiality on the one hand and still try and minimise the friction between the branches of government, will issue decisions that may nevertheless have far reaching political implications. Therefore, the only alternative, and if there is enough awareness raising on this issue, would be for the voters to compel their Congressmen to enact the relevant statute. And what better time than now when Congressional elections are slated for March 1999.



To sum up, it is clear that a resolution of the dispute between the national and the state governments could either lead the union into disunity, or cement the federation as the states, with their narrow resource base, can not become economically independent, as is apparent from the existing difficulties with export production, import substitution industries and tourism development.

Perhaps had the FSM Constitution been drafted by the four states specifically without Palau and Marshalls, sentiments of disunity would not have surfaced. It was the Marshallese and Palauan delegations that had pushed for stronger and wider state autonomy, but eventually they were the only ones who rejected the FSM Constitution.

The framers should have been more cognizant of the fisheries resource issue and addressed it then, in black and white. Why did they specifically leave the provision that ambiguous? Could it have been an oversight? The fact that the single most important issue - federalism - was accidentally side-stepped for secession discussions brings into question the genuine sentiments amongst the convention delegates for unity.

Will the decision of the Supreme Court make any difference in helping boost the economy of the states? Perhaps for this month and next month, but it will provide no long term solution because FSM’s resources cannot meet its existing financial needs. The Supreme Court does not legislate matters, but would only assist in the interpretation of the Constitution, therefore, the ultimate factor that can tilt the determination of this dispute rests with the voters in the states. The state leaders must work as closely as possible with the voters, and explain the mechanics of this problem because voters are more receptive and appreciative of well defined problems, rather than political rhetorical problems. But of course they’l need substantive facts.

Finally, it is not likely that the US should abandon its Pacific responsibility outright. The Compact re-negotiations may become intensive as FSM seeks continued funding, but in the end, the US will grant another phase out process, albeit at a minimum level.




i. Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae and Yap

ii. The Compact of Free Association was signed between the US and FSM governments in 1983, but actually went into effect on November 3, 1986 when President Reagan signed it into law.

iii. Regional Compendium of Fisheries Legislation. Report to the Government of the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency. Fisheries Management and Law Advisory Program. Volume I. FAO. June 1993 pg. 549

iv. The present Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

v. FSM Economic Report, 1996. Asian Development Bank. Manila. pg. 1

vi. The districts were Marshall Islands in the East, Ponape, the Caroline Islands of Truk, Yap, and Palau, and the Mariana Islands.

vii. Hanlon, D. and Eperiam, W. Evolution and Development of the Federated States of Micronesia in Micronesian Politics. Volume 3. 1988. Institute of Pacific Studies. USP. Fiji

viii. Spain’s Pacific holdings was purchased for $4.5 million, encompassing the Marshall Islands and the Caroline Islands chain.

ix. Heine, Carl. Micronesia at the Crossroads. 1974. University Press of Hawaii. pg. 14

x. Rice, a common product for the Micronesian diet, was being exported from the islands, but today, every cargo ship cannot come to the islands without it.

xi. This 1947 Agreement between the US and UN Security Council virtually gave the Americans sole power and authority for the ‘administration’ of the islands.

xii. There is still uncertainty as to the final termination of the UN Trusteeship. The US Administration signed the CFA in 1986 allowing self governing status, but the UN Security Council terminated the Trusteeship Agreement in 1990.

xiii. Hanlon and Eperiam. Evolution and Development of FSM in Micronesian Politics. 1988. USP, Suva, pg. 90

xiv. The Solomon Report, a classified study commissioned by President Kennedy in 1963, contended that the strategic importance of the Micronesian islands compelled the US to continue to inject millions in funding to the islands, and the report became the driving force for US policy in Micronesia.

xv. Consistent with international trends for decolonization of the non-Western world, pressure was built for the termination of the UN Trusteeship arrangements in Micronesia.

xvi. Burdick, Alan. The Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia, in Law, Politics and Government in the Pacific Island States. 1988. ISP, USP. pg. 253

xvii. Hanlon and Eperiam. Evolution and Development of FSM, in Micronesian Politics. 1988. USP, Suva, pg. 92

xiii. ibid.

xix. The elected representatives to the Micronesian Constitutional Convention in 1975.

xxi. The Mariana Islands is now known as the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or in short, CNMI.

xxi. Burdick, Alan. The Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia, in Law, Politics and Government in the Pacific Island States. 1988. ISP, USP. pg. 254

xxii. Palauan delegates even declined leadership positions to the Convention.

xxiii. Journal of Micronesian Constitutional Convention. 1975. pg. 823

xxiv. One at large member from each of the states, and a set number of two apportioned based on population.

xxv. Burdick, Alan. The Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia, in Law, Politics and Government in the Pacific Island States. 1988. ISP, USP. pg. 256

xxvi. ibid.

xxvii. Article X s.1

xxviii. State Governors are to appoint their State Chief Justices

xxix. It was considered an island of Ponape prior to 1976.

xxx. Although there were only 6 districts, the Constitution was translated into 9 distinct Micronesian languages.

Hanlon and Eperiam. Evolution and Development of FSM in Micronesian Politics. 1988. ISP, USP Suva, pg. 92

The residents of Pohnpei feared the possible influx of more Chuukese as there are already "too many Chuukese here!"

The Palauan Constitution promulgated afterwards prohibited the use of nuclear materials in its land and waters, and prevented the US from using the islands for military purposes.

Burdick, Alan. The Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia, in Law, Politics and Government in the Pacific Island States. Yashi Gai (ed). 1988. ISP, USP. pg. 264

Even the relocation of the capital was a big issue when it became apparent that the Marianas was seceding from the Trust Territory group, and Saipan could no longer be the capital of the districts. Congress of Micronesia passed legislation in 1976 to relocate or establish the new FSM Government seat in Pohnpei.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, and the remaining two districts under the Trust Territory Government.

Burdick, Alan. The Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia, in Law, Politics and Government in the Pacific Island States. Yashi Gai (ed). 1988. ISP, USP. pg. 257

Funds allocated for the establishment of the new government were being withheld by Saipan.

Hanlon and Eperiam. Evolution and Development of FSM in Micronesian Politics. 1988. ISP, USP Suva, pg. 94

The Vice President, Petrus Tun, in a public statement, openly criticized Saipan for its slack approach in releasing funds.

September 15, 1982

Hanlon and Eperiam. Evolution and Development of FSM in Micronesian Politics. 1988. ISP, USP Suva, pg. 95

Burdick, Alan. The Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia, in Law, Politics and Government in the Pacific Island States. Yashi Gai (ed). 1988. ISP, USP. pg. 264

Journal of Micronesian Constitutional Convention. 1975. pg. 813

FSM v Oliver, 3 FSM Intrm. 469, 473. (Pon. 1988)


The issues on taxing power and national judiciary jurisdiction were assigned to a different committee.

Journal of Micronesian Constitutional Convention 1975. pg. 819

Burdick, Alan. The Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia, in Law, Politics and Government in the Pacific Island States. Yashi Gai (ed). 1988. ISP, USP. pg. 274

In Re Nahnsen, 1 FSM Intrm. 97, 102 (Pon. 1982)

Journal of Micronesian Constitutional Convention. 1975. pg. 863


Article IX, s.2 (d) and (e) respectively.

Sigrah v Kosrae, 6 FSM Intrm. 168, 170. (App. 1993)

Article VIII, Section 3

January 1997

FSM Constitution prohibits the levying of excise duty for fear it may impede export oriented industries.

Section 90 of the Commonwealth Constitution

Summers, John. Federalism and Commonwealth-State Relations in Government Politics, Power & Policy in Australia. Dennis Woodward et al (eds). 1997. 6th Edition. Longman, Australia


The FSM News reported quite extensively on this issue, naming specific senators, but apparently these allegations could not be substantiated with facts.

Journal of Micronesian Constitutional Convention, 1979. pg. 819

The FSM Constitution was promulgated in 1979, and the UNCLOS was opened for signature in 1982.

FSM v Oliver, 3 FSM Intrm. 469, 479. (Pon. 1988); Pohnpei v MV Hai Hsiang #36 (I). 6 FSM Intrm. 594, 598 (Pon. 1994)

Journal of Micronesian Constitutional Convention, 1979. pg. 819

FSM v Oliver, 3 FSM Intrm. 469, 480. (Pon. 1988)

Burdick, Alan. The Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia, in Law, Politics and Government in the Pacific Island States. Yashi Gai (ed). 1988. ISP, USP. pg. 276


The appropriation was effected before the last national elections in 1995, and rumors were circulating that boats were exchanged for votes.

FSM News, Vol. III, April 1995. Pohnpei

Who is also the Head of State

The Congress is a unicameral legislature with 4 members elected at large representing the 4 different states, and 10 members elected based on population proportion.

The "Speaker is the Head of Government," a personal joke made by Speaker Jack Fritz to the author during a state dinner in 1991.

Burdick, Alan. The Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia, in Law, Politics and Government in the Pacific Island States. Yashi Gai (ed). 1988. ISP, USP. pg. 258

Journal of Micronesian Constitutional Convention, 1979, pg. 764-765

Micronesian Politics. Politics in the Pacific Islands. IPS, USP Suva. 1988

Compact was passed after 3/4 approval was secured from the other 3 states.

An indigenous Pohnpeian

Micronesian Politics. Politics in the Pacific Islands. IPS, USP Suva. 1988. pg. 96

Article I, s.2 provides that Congress may change state boundaries with the consent of state legislatures involved.

The National Union, January 15, 1986.

The 5% value of estimated catch is the prevalent rate used throughout the Pacific.

A 150 page Annual Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific. ESCAP. 1998, Thailand

Governor Gouland, was reported to have in a personal savings account USD 600,000, with his annual salary of $30,000 in 1994.

Pangelinan entered office in 1996, well after the state budget had gone into its deficit.

Government payroll was put on a 12% reduction in July 1997 as part of Reform Program.

Home l USP Staff Directory l Maps l Disclaimer & Copyright l Contact Us l Feedback l 
© Copyright 1968 - 2019. All Rights Reserved.
Page updated: Wednesday, July 19, 2017
USP Emalus Campus
PMB 9072
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Phone: +678 22748 Fax +678 22633