November 07, 2012 The Fifth State and National Leadership Conference (SNLC) is currently underway after it started yesterday at the College of Micronesia-FSM National Campus in Palikir, Pohnpei.
The conference opened with the election of Governor Johnson Elimo of Chuuk as the Chairman of the conference, taking after Governor Sebastian Anefal of Yap, the outgoing Chairman who managed the Fourth SNLC in February 2012. With the Chairman in place, the conference observed a moment of silence in honor of Speaker Lyndon Abraham of Kosrae State who passed away at his home State on the first day of November, less than a week ago.
Governor John Ehsa welcomed his peers and other SNLC participants to his State of Pohnpei, punctuating his remarks as he often does with an invitation to thoroughly visit Pohnpei and enjoy the charms and wonders of islands.
In highlighting the purposes of the conference, President Manny Mori pointed to a decision of the previous SNLC where the Leaders agreed to hold a follow up conference prior to the meeting with Development Partners. He spoke on the need to further discuss issues as well as to preview and finalize what the Nation will present to its Development Partners for their consideration and assistance, strengthening linkage and coordination between development need areas and assistance mode and delivery.
Using power-point presentations, the conference went into discussions on the energy sector facilitated separately by the FSM Petroleum Corporation (PetroCorp) and SoftBank of Japan.
In his presentation, Mr. Jared Morris, CEO of the PetroCorp, traced the progress and ventures of the PetroCorp as a corporation with explanations of its investments and projects as a business operation that has grown regionally since it started in 2008. He also highlighted the company's efforts in response to various mandates, including President Mori's latest State of the Nation Address, to control surges in fuel cost and explore clean alternative sources of energy to improve overall energy status for the Nation.
Through its representative, Mr. Raman Nandan, SoftBank, a Japanese-based telecommunication and internet mega business, expressed its interest in engaging in discussions with the FSM on ways to enhance and diversify sources of energy with fossil fuels and practical renewable power generation sources such as solar power, wind mills, bio fuels, etc. SoftBank is a business superpower in telecommunication, Internet and now, renewable energy throughout the Asian region which has recently declared its acquisition of Sprint - a US telecommunication and mobile company.
After hearing from PetroCorp and SoftBank, the Leaders reorganized the line of agenda items, resulting in the Principal Leaders holding a separate lunch meeting at the President's Conference Room. From the "small group" meeting, it was decided to allow each delegation time to meet internally in the latter part of the day, and that the Principal Leaders should continue their separate session the next day to further discuss "hot issues" and preview other presentations in anticipation of the upcoming Development Partners Forum on November 7 and 8.
Throughout this day, November 6, the Principals continued with the review of presentations that will matter most to the Development Partners Forum, deferring discussions of predominantly domestic issues to Friday, including a presentation by COM-FSM on the impact of new Pell Grant changes and pertinent issues.