For you new comers, Yap State is part of the Federated States of Micronesia. It is one of four states in the Federation. The state of Yap consists of the Yap proper (mainland), Ngulu, Ulithi, Fais, Sorol, Eauripik, Woleai, Ifalik, Feraulap, Elato, Lamotreck and Satawal. The other states are Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae. Yap is home to the largest coins in the world, the Yap Stone Money. It is also home to the Manta Rays-awesome for diving enthusiasts.
According to the COOPERATIVE INVESTMENT AGREEMENT between ETG and the state of Yap, “the objective of the Project is to develop the State of Yap into a world renowned tourism destinaton, to realize the commercial interest of ETG, to further the economy of the State of Yap, and to increase local employment as well as the welfare of the local communiy in the State of Yap in general, provided that ETG and State shall take all actions necessary, including complying with the requirements of State and FSM environmental Laws and other applicable Laws, to ensure that the local culture, tradition, and environment shall be preserved during the whole term of this project.”
My interpretation of the said objective is one, ETG and Yap will both benefit from this project and two, ETG and the state of Yap both have responsibilities to ensure that all laws are followed and complied with throughout the life of this project.
Where does FSM play a role in this thing? I assume that the FSM will ensure that both the state of Yap and ETG comply with its laws. In this case, they may hold the real power in terms of ensuring that there is no “TING HONG” going on. And what happened if Laws are not followed? Well, our nation has courts to deal with it. We have an FSM AG, right? We also have the FSM national police in addition to the Yap State police and probably municipal deputies to enforce FSM and Yap Laws.
This is a huge investment, no doubt about that, so Yap and its citizens have to be very cautious about it. To simply say no won’t help our state in its economic development. Our government entities, including that of the FSM national government must work together to ensure that every concerns are addressed and dealt with before finalizing and approving the project.
Please take your time to read the agreement which is attached and judge for yourself if there are outstanding areas where our state may need to request that they be added to the document. I went over the document several times trying to see where I would change or add my few pennies and found none. I am sure the Yap State Governor and his staff have gone through the document carefully to ensure they cover every avenue and every angle of any concerns that the citizens may have. It is the reason I cannot simply say NO to the project. As of now, I am leaning toward voting for it unless someone comes on here and tell me constructively and convincingly to do otherwise.
Here are a few concerns that I had when I heard about ETG. The Infrastructure, the Environment, Health, Education, Culture and Tradition. Is yap’s infrastracture ready for such a huge project? How about the environment? Who’s going to provide Environmental Impact studies? Can the Yap Memorial Hospital handle more patients? How about our Culture and Traditions? Education?
All of the concerns I had are in the agreement! And when they are, I raised my hand and said to myself, where is the problem? The problem is educating and comforting our Yap citizens that everything should be alright. There are Laws in place to protect our lifeways so we shouldn’t be too concerned. We have to be cautious but not overly concern as there are protections in place. We are the people and this is a company that wanted to invest in our state. Investment is a good thing for our state’s economy.
One argument that bugs me the most is that WE DO NOT WANT TO BE LIKE GUAM OR HAWAII. This is a lame excuse! What is wrong with Guam and Hawaii? Hundreds if not thousands of our Yapese are on these islands enjoying themselves, I wonder if they still think Guam and Hawaii suck. If you are a Yapese living on one of these islands, please explain to me why some of us don’t think that Guam and Hawaii are great examples.
If what you meant is that they lost their Chamorro or Hawaiian culture, then that is a debatable issue. Why? Because culture is a living thing which means it changes with time. I laughed when I see Chamorros recreating their cultural and traditional identities but that doesn’t mean Yapese will do the same and forget all about our tradition and culture just because ETG showed up. In fact, in the agreement, ETG identified culture and tradition as an objective to keep it healthy and alive. As citizens, it is our job to keep our culture and tradition in the face of modern development. In this case, we must ensure that ETG provided assistance in strengthening that will. They can provide financial assistance for cultural centers, meseums, and other educational needs.
This is my mere opinion on this whole issue. I think it will benefit the state of Yap economically and that it has little chance of totally changing our lifeways, as long as we the people demand it. And as far as I know, ETG intends to support us in working to keep our culture and tradition intact.
Until next time, Happy Easter!