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Please read: Making Sense of an Independent Chuuk (Part 7).
Related reading: Chuuk Independence: Pro-Independence Questions
The Chuuk Future Political Status Commission (CFPSC or CPSC) conducted their Education for Self Governance (ESG) tour as a requirement for self governance. Their education tour took them to Hawaii, Guam, and Saipan where many Chuukese citizens reside.
Their education tour was similar to their last tour in 2014-2015 with a few major differences. Namely, the Commission has hired a legal and economic team to assess the legality of the secession and the economic viability of an independent Chuuk.
The following questions were gathered from the public and by members of TFB. They have been edited and/or translated for clarity.
- Why are the legal and economic reports not accessible to the public?
- How did the Commission pay for the economists and the legal counsel? And how much did it cost?
- Why did it take 5-6 years for the Commission to hire economists? Wasn’t the original purpose of the Commission to find the best economic solution for Chuuk after 2023?
- Did the economists look at other economic solutions other than independence?
- [See photo] During the ESG, the Commission had handouts for the public. On one particular page there was a "estimated annual revenue" for an independent Chuuk. Where did these numbers come from? What are they based on? What formula is being used to come up with these estimates?
- If members or former members of the Commission have strong disagreements about the Independence Movement, why is Chuuk moving forward with it? Why are they not traveling with the Commission?
- Where did the estimated $750,000 to fund the Commission come from?
- It seems as though the Commission has changed or rewritten the proposal for independence. It is no longer full independence, rather, it has evolved to: independence from the FSM to form a COFA with the United States. The question becomes, what will be the official wording of the question on the ballot?
- Commission members stated that if the United States refuses to form a new COFA with an independent Chuuk, then Chuuk will abandon the movement. What will happen to the Commission? Will the Commission seek other compacts with other countries?
- What are considered “must haves” for the new compact between Chuuk and the USA? For example: visa-free access? compact funding? military protection? healthcare?
- Will Chuuk leaders negotiate a new COFA before officially seceding from the FSM? Or will Chuuk have to secede from the FSM first for a new compact to be negotiated? If so, then what will happen to the Chuukese citizens with FSM passports living in the US?
- How long between the vote in March of 2019 to full independence with a COFA with the USA?
- After the vote in March 2019, can the FSM stop giving funds to Chuuk State?
- What will happen to Chuukese congressmen if Chuukese citizens vote “yes” for secession?
- Where will Chuuk State get the funds to: negotiate with the USA and other countries for diplomatic relations, build embassies, build new offices, hire new lawyers, economists, experts, and a number of other needs to help in the formation of a new government?
- Why can’t Chuuk pursue some of the proposed economic developments during the ESG (agriculture, aquaculture, exports, processing plants, etc.) as a State in the FSM?
- Why does the Commission not have an official website or any other platform for citizens to connect with them? Email address? Social media?
- Why did the Commission not travel to the US mainland? Why did the Commission not travel to Pohnpei?
Questions and Comments from the public:
- If Chuuk State funds were used to hire economists and lawyers, then the public should have access to these reports in their entirety. Not just the notes.
- If the USA has proposed to end COFA funding by 2023 to the ROP, the FSM, and the RMI, why does an independent Chuuk believe that they will receive funding from the USA?
- Pro independence members, including some members of the Commission have said that an independent Chuuk will allow Dual Citizenship. Isn’t this something that should be talked about during the constitutional convention? Are independence members using dual citizenship to win votes?
- Many Chuukese citizens believe Commission members are being bribed by foreign businesses. Can you address this claim?
- We should not take the Commission’s legal report seriously. Because you can hire a lawyer to argue anything. They should have waited to hire a lawyer when the national government goes after the Commission following the March 2019 vote.
- What will Chuuk State do if after March 2019 the other three states of the FSM (Yap, Kosrae, Pohnpei) vote to remove Chuuk State from the FSM?
- If economists were hired after the formation of the Independence Commission, does that mean the Commission was operating under assumptions/guesses that independence is the best economic solution for Chuuk?
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