Is Chuuk ready for Independence? If you follow the Chuuk Political Status Commission, the answer is an astounding YES. But others don’t think so. For this article, I would try to confront this issue point by point to at least get some views across to my audience that may have missed the commission’s hearings and especially to counter some of the points that were discussed in those hearings. From talking to friends and families, the commission have talked a lot about the AWESOME things they see ahead and not so much as to the struggles Chuukese people will face.
So without delay, let’s get to work.
To look to the future, one has to look into the past to see if there are clues in your past that may tell you what lies ahead. In terms of our beloved Chuuk state, there was a point where the state was on the verge of running out of money and has to seek help from the National Government to bail itself out. If it’s going to run out of money in the future, what then? Who’s bailing it out?
Every government has crooks that take advantage of the system, and Chuuk state is no exception. In the past, there was this saying “KE PACH KE TENTO” for obvious reasons. What’s going to stop this from happening again? Is Chuuk ready to police itself?
My friend told me that Chuuk Political Commission member Sabino argued that one of the reasons Chuuk has to secede from the federation was because of the National government’s withholding of funds for certain projects on Chuuk. This is so true according to many sources but what Sabino failed to mention was the fact the National government did it because of Chuuk government’s inability to use its funds appropriately. In other words, the FSM national government did it to ensure that the Chuukese people’s money went to what it was intended for instead of something else. Big brother helping little brother I guess. :).
Again, looking into the future, who will police the Chuuk independent government when it misuses the Chuukese people’s money? Can the Chuukese people trust its government to police itself? Not so sure… and judging from Chuuk government’s history of misusing funds, the future doesn’t look good at all. And let’s say the future state of Dublon is misusing its funds and the Chuuk National government withhold its funding, would it be time for Dublon to secede from Chuuk? Not so sure on that one too…
How about the Fisheries? The Chuuk Political Commission would like you to believe that its share of the fishing license money would meet or exceeds its current level once it becomes an independent nation? Maybe. There is always that chance. But have you consider how many Japanese or Chinese fishing boats actually fish in Chuuk waters compare to let’s say Kosrae? Can you really tell how many fishing grounds existed in the Chuuk State waters? Better yet, what happens if Chuuk ended up getting less money from fisheries than it’s getting today? What then? Should Chuuk then beg the FSM, Republic of the Marshall Islands or Palau to give them a little of the pie? I don’t think the Commission can honestly give you an answer. They tried though.
Opportunity for Chuuk to negotiate its own friends and call out its foes in an independent Chuukese era you say? Guess what, Guam and Hawaii will love the opportunity too, to negotiate on their own terms when it comes to Immigration status with a New Chuuk nation. I cannot possibly believe that Guam and Hawaii will sit still when Chuuk negotiates with the United States of America about immigration. Do you think they will welcome more of us into their territory? Go figure… the picture is quiet blank on this one. I see people in canoes trying to cross the border… wakakakz. Seriously, don’t you think this is a great opportunity for Guam and Hawaii? I can see them seriously cheering for Chuuk to become independent. What if the US government all of a sudden requires that all Chuukese living in the US be relocated back to the new nation of Chuuk? What then?
The commission and its supporters may argue that there’s no way the US government can afford to send all Chuukese back to Chuuk you know. How about this? The US, in its negotiation, put in it that the funds they give to this new nation of Chuuk, at least part of it, be used to relocate all Chuukese citizens back. What then? Should the New Chuuk simply say, if you don’t keep them we go with China?
The Compact of Free Association in regards to immigration remains the same after 2023, which means, the thousands of us living in the US won’t have to worry about anything. The money stops true, but like I heard Mr. Sabino argues, FSM can still ask for more time and money. So there is really no rush into an unknown territory. Life goes on… after 2023, unless the Chuuk Political Commission succeeds, then who knows what.
Now, let’s get back to the governance for a second here. How many more people are going to be required to man a central government? How many governors and lieutenant governors the new nation would have? Judging from the current Chuukese flag, there are a lot of stars on there that may represent how many governors are going to be. It’s awesome for lowering the unemployment rate since more bodies will be required to run the nation, but at what level are these people getting paid? Is it going to be better or worse than today? There is a big chance the budget for running such a nation will double or even triple the current budget and I am not convinced the commission has found where all that extra money is going to come from. Again, the picture is at best very blur.
These are some of the worrisome realities when contemplating a move to a place you’ve never been. The risks vs. benefits analysis has to be done on both sides of this argument to give every Chuukese a chance to judge and to decide. Everyone has to be mindful of the saying, “IT’S ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE.” But we have to assume that these fine politicians are trying to find ways to help Chuuk instead of doing this to accomplish their ungodly greed. Thank you for following us along and May God Bless the Federated States of Micronesia and our island of Chuuk.