The following questions/statements were collected in a collaborative effort with TFB members and the public. An earlier version of these questions was sent to anti-independence figures (John Haglelgam responds to Chuuk Independence).
We have submitted these questions to pro-independence figures and members of the CPSC. However, considering their busy schedules we have not heard back from them.
It is our belief that these questions belong to the public so we will be posting them here. We also hope that pro-independence members find these questions and participate in this important discussion.
1. How much does the state of Chuuk receive from compact funds annually?
2. Please explain the formation of the Chuuk State Compact Funds Control Commission (CFCC).
- Was this a requirement under the Compact 2 agreement?
- Does any other State in the FSM have a CFCC?
3. Since its formation, the Chuuk State legislature has approved large sums of money for the Commission ($600,000 in 2014-2015; $50,000 for 2018). How much has been given to the CPSC in total? Where is this money coming from and what is it for?
4. Does the secession movement have economic and legal advisors?
- Who are they?
- How are they being paid?
- When will these advisors issue a report of their assessments?
- Will they be a part of the Education for Self Governance (ESG)?
5. By 2023, compact funding is expected to expire. CPSC members have stated that there will be a $20 million budgetary shortfall for the State of Chuuk. This has been the primary reason behind the secession movement. The FSM government has put together an “Action Plan” in preparation. Does the CPSC have a similar “Action Plan” for an independent Chuuk?
6. Another major argument for independence is inequality. For example, Chuuk has over 50% of the FSM’s population but it receives under 50% of the funds. It also has the least amount of congressmen for its population. Why not focus on changing these inequalities rather than seceding?
7. Please explain CPSC arguments about fishing licenses.
8. Former President, Manny Mori, suggested downsizing the state government to save money? Do you agree with his suggestion? What would you downsize?
9. The CPSC reviewed other political statuses (commonwealth; US territory; US statehood; status quo) before deciding independence was the best option. Why were the citizens of Chuuk excluded from reviewing or voting on these other options?
10. Many Chuukese citizens do not want to leave the Compact with the USA. Would it not be in the CPSC’s best interest to word the vote so it specifies, “Independence with a COFA with the USA”, rather than a general, “Independence”?
11. Please respond to former president John Haglelgam’s claim that the formation of the Chuuk Political Status Commission is an illegal act because it violates the constitutional idea of “unity”?
12. Pro Independence members have dismissed James Stovall’s “warnings”, calling them “scare tactics”. Why would Stovall have an interest in “scare tactics”?
13. The FSM Department of Justice has already stated a legal pathway to independence with a constitutional amendment. Instead of risking future litigation, why not work with Chuuk congressmen on a constitutional amendment for independence?
14. There seems to be a division between Chuuk’s State and National leadership. Are both groups working well together?
- Why, for the most part, are there no Chuukese congressmen speaking openly in favor of secession?
15. If the citizens of Chuuk vote “no” to secession, what assurances do they have that the CPSC will stop the independence movement?
- Will a vote of “no” end the CPSC? Or will the commission continue to exist?
16. Will an independent Chuuk have access to their share of the FSM trust fund?
17. An independent Chuuk will have to compete with Yap and Pohnpei for resources, tourism, and territory. How much resources and territory can Chuuk lose to Yap and Pohnpei?
18. CPSC members have stated that agriculture, fisheries and tourism would improve if independent. What is the reasoning behind these claims and why can’t they be improved as a State in the FSM?
19. Other than independence, what other options are available for improving Chuuk’s economy?
20. CPSC members have made arguments to suggest that Chuuk can be an independent nation like Palau or Nauru. However, Palau and Nauru have resource and location advantages. What resources and other economic advantages does an independent Chuuk have? And will it be enough?
21. Other neighbors (Guam, Palau, RMI, CNMI) have given land and entire islands to the US military in exchange for aid. Does an independent Chuuk plan on similar pacts?
22. Former president, Manny Mori, stated that if Chuuk becomes independent Faichuuk and other districts may try to secede from Chuuk. What is your response?
- Should an independent Chuuk create a pathway for secession in their new constitution?
23. Will Chuukese citizens have the option to become FSM Nationals if they do not wish to join an independent Chuuk?
24. would CPSC members be open to a public debate or discussion with anti-independence members?
- Chuuk has been described as lawless and corrupt. Are you concerned that an independent Chuuk will have no outside national government to keep it under control?
- Members of the CPSC have asked for faith and trust rather than evidence, statistics, and data to bolster support for the independence movement.
- If Chuuk becomes independent It would need, among other things, more office buildings and land. Where will the money come from to construct and purchase these?
- The independence vote has been postponed several times. How can they expect to lead a nation when they can’t even schedule a vote?
- Instead of an independent Chuuk. Chuuk leaders should try to relocate the FSM capital to Chuuk. It involves less work and it is not unconstitutional. It would also solve most of Chuuk’s economic problems.
- With compact funding expected to end, should Chuuk State leadership focus on renegotiating a funding extension with the FSM first, then worry about secession afterwards?
- What would happen to FSM companies and companies that work with the FSM like PetroCorp, Telecom, Matson, United etc.?