US Department of the Interior freezes FSM infrastructure funds

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
May 18, 2017
FSM—The US Department of the Interior has notified the FSM that it has suspended further infrastructure grant assistance to the FSM. The letter was dated April 27 and was transmitted under diplomatic cover to Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Lorin Robert in a letter dated April 28.
“The DOI has taken this step because the GFSM has not established a management system that meets the standards set forth in the “FSM Infrastructure Development Plan 2016-2025” (IDP),” the letter, signed by James E. Cason, Delegated Authority of the Deputy Secretary said.
It continues to say that the Compact of Free Association requires that “The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia shall develop and submit a nationwide infrastructure development plan (IDP) to the Government of the United States for review. Projects may be phased over two or more years. The annual implementation plan for the infrastructure sector referred to ... above, shall include a list of integrated state and national priorities for new and reconstructed capital infrastructure to be financed by Compact funds, cost requirements, and implementation schedule. This·project list and any revision thereto shall be submitted to the Government of the United States. Insofar as Grant funds are involved, the IDP shall be subject to the concurrence of the Committee.”
FSM Secretary for Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure, Lukner Weilbacher said this morning that the FSM does have an IDP that was approved by JEMCO (Joint Economic Management Committee). He said that the FSM feels that the issues the letter raised weren’t clear and has asked for a meeting with its US partners to discuss the matter further. “We already have an approved IDP,” he said.
Until after possible resolution of the issues of that pending meeting, US provided infrastructure funds under the Compact of Freely Associated States as amended have been frozen for future projects in the FSM.