The following texts are cited from a set of discussion threads on a facebook page, Yap’s Development, initiated by Mr. Dieter Kudler on November 6th, 2012. We re-post the entire discussion threads here (up to 7:30am on November 15th, Micronesia time). Quite an amount of friends have shared their concerns, thoughts or ideas regardless of the differentiated residences, ethnicities and positions. In fact, the variety of participants’ concerns has enriched the scope of the whole discussions, as long as the dialogue is conducted in a candid manner without being disrespectful to one another’s opinions. We appreciate all the participants who have shared their opinions on the facebook forum.
It is the fourth part of the whole discussion threads.
Dieter Kudler Please forgive me, I did not mean to offend anyone opposing the ETG development with my statement that they would be “anti-development”, please allow me to explain why I have used this term – assuming that development money would come mainly from foreign investment – if you would be a potential investor, what would you look for before you invest your money in a foreign country – aside from existent infrastructure mainly safety for your money, a strong legal system protecting foreign investment – would you say that Legislature fighting Executive over a proposed investment and signed agreement would reflect this safety? Rather not!
International Investors watching us right now – The simple consequence is that investors will take their money somewhere else. Which means in other words, that chasing ETG out of Yap would send a very strong signal – no international investor would be willing to go through the same trouble. This explains why I have said a “no to ETG” means a “no to development”. Please forgive my direct way expressing the logically obvious.
Dieter Kudler Su Yasui – I have explained my word “anti-development” already. As to your, I quote “Please stop mislead the people for your sake!” – what exactly would be my sake?
Maybe enough money on island, a strong Yapese economy to improve housing for everyone, give young people proper education and equip them for their future life on their own island, a good infrastructure and a free health system for all Yapese?
Dieter Kudler Tim Rock – Timbo, thank you for your comment – I am happy you agree with me on economic considerations – as you have posted a few comments please allow me to reply to them separately.
Private case with ETG:
With all due respect I feel that you are using Yap’s development as a stage for your own very private case. If you feel, that ETG has done wrong and infringed your copyright the appropriate way would be to take a lawyer and sue ETG. They are right here in Yap and we have very capable lawyers on island. I personally think it should not be part of a development discussion.
ETG the wrong partner:
I cannot answer if ETG is the right or wrong partner for Yap’s tourism development and I guess nor can you. But I know for sure ETG is the ONLY development partner in over 30 years! ETG has the necessary funds to realize projects and its obvious in my eyes that Yap urgently needs that. It will be on Yap’s leadership to govern development through laws and regulations to what is suitable for the island and necessary to provide for its people.
I have learned recently that the compact as contract won’t expire in 2024, it will be ongoing, only the compact funds will expire. It may be that no US representative has said that there won’t be another funding contract – I can’t verify that. It is for sure facts, that US economy can’t afford such a step – if I believe BBC, technically 48 US States are bankrupt, my educated guess would be that domestic investments will have priority for the US future.
“ETG is like Jesus coming to Yap”:
I truly doubt that ETG is like Jesus – ETG is a company, companies are created to make money, to gain profits – in order to gain these profits they have to invest in various things as infrastructure, airport, etc. which benefits people on island. They have to sell their product in foreign markets and fill their resorts, which benefits Yap and they have to work cost effective, which means training and employing the people of Yap. This is, at least the way I see it, a win-win situation. I agree on the other hand, that profit optimization of big companies has to be regulated by local leadership.
Dieter Kudler Collin Heise – I have never said that tourism is the only way to develop Yap, I have said it’s the most viable. When you say green and sustainable and Co-op you are obviously talking agriculture. Which is a very good idea and for sure a way of development, especially local business development. “People working at their own pace from their own home” is a really nice slogan, which clearly works for the domestic market, similar to our existent fisheries. However, in order to bring money to the island you will have to export your goods – which means you have to set up a very tight plan who grows/harvests what where and when and at foreign demands pace, followed by collecting, transporting, packing, shipping, liability issues and selling in foreign markets, competing with goods from South America and Asia. Latest when you go into business with your idea you will find out, that for small quantities your shipping from here is too expensive, for large quantities you haven’t enough quality land (with good soil). Your logistics dealing with Co-op – coordinating lots of people (producers) and fresh goods would be very challenging. Furthermore extensive farming however is taking over time all nutrients out of the soil – somewhere down the road you would have to fertilize the soil, which we have learned from the golf court discussion isn’t the best way for sustainable development – and I am just scratching the surface of your business idea here…..
I think it’s a very good idea to set up such business on island for domestic buyers – the cost for logistics and shipping could be added to local, individual revenue, but therefore you need a domestic market – tourism would clearly create such a domestic market. Your idea is just one of many good ideas, which would work for our development and would be perfect income sources for our people – if only we had such a domestic market.
Any export of goods has to go through sea/air transportation – sending a container from Hamburg (Germany) to Manila (Philippines) with goods costs about $600-800, sending it from Yap to Guam about $1,500 – $1,800 – cost which will have to be reflected by your export price and will most likely make your goods far more expensive than your competition’s.
The only viable production/export of goods would be goods as High-Tech machines and luxury goods – in which case higher shipping cost wouldn’t matter.
Dieter Kudler Jo Chumrad – Thank you very much for your comment – I agree with you – nothing in life is only benefits – it just happens that people while discussing Pros & Cons tend to polarize. Every coin has two sides and you have to break eggs to make omelets. Any and all development and everything we want in life comes with a price. Please forgive me when I only mentioned benefits I see at this point. It’s the economic benefits, I personally feel, Yap urgently needs. It will be the work of our leadership to define and regulate the “downside” of such development – a definition that they will achieve by pulling on one string for the people’s benefit instead of fighting each other over political profiling.
As you say with Opportunity of such development comes Danger – it can’t be the way to neglect the opportunity because we fear the danger – further more we have to face both, evaluate them and deal with them in order to get the most out for all our people.
As to your concern that “after 99 years most FSM citizens will be pure Chinese” – I read this argument already many time – only I do not understand the argumentation – first – nobody needs to marry a foreigner – second – should you decide to marry a foreigner will your children and grandchildren be “strangers, aliens, pure Chinese” or still your family? If the land is your family’s yet it will be your family’s later.
Tim Rock 1) I use my case as an example of ETG’s integrity. They have been served by a practicing Yapese attorney. They refuse to respond. What kind of business is that? It ha nothing to do with me personally. I am handling that in another way. But a company that ignores a local legal representative certainly gives me cause for worry.
Dieter Kudler Rachel CutrerJohnson – I agree with you architects are only humans and make mistakes. Mistakes being corrected by other participating in the project – that’s how such projects usually work – I am sure that all kind of mistakes will be made and corrected during a potential project on Yap.
I am unable to follow your thought about erosion – there are very suitable locations allover Yap for any kind of building project and there may be other sites on sea level, which will be taken by the sea over time – I am sure that who ever invests a few million dollars in a building will account for that.
I agree with you that ETG would need a PR person to answer questions asked – a PR person they do not have at this point – I think its too much asked form their project managers to answer to all questions – and lots of questions asked here are not really about the development’s facts, they are more provocation than question. I really don’t know if we can judge by that about their trustworthiness?
Tim Rock 2) The US spends billions internationally. It won’t stop doing that.
Dieter Kudler Judy Falmed – Mrs. Judy – I hear you and I understand – the proposed magnitude of the project, the change to the island, the uncertainty, the lack of information – all these factors are scary – this island belongs to the people of Yap and people may see their privacy intruded – I see all these things too. This is why I appreciate discussing this topic publicly – My approach is very rational, while yours is very sensitive – both approaches should have space to meet and find a way to complete each other – there are economic necessities which will have to be met for this island and still it needs to be the perfect place for it’s people – it will not be easy to find that perfect way, maybe even impossible – but still I am afraid out of necessity it should be tried.
Dieter Kudler Martina Gisog – Thank you for asking – speaking of 4000 units ETG is proposing – I think that people have a wrong idea what 4000 units means – one big hotel may be 4000 units, I read that Tumon Bay has 8000 units and many of us have seen Tumon Bay – I doubt that any developer would try to convert nature, the main sales point, into concrete – this would contradict the “nature-resort” idea by itself. And of course, following EPA regulations any developer had to submit necessary studies to support its project and show/avoid potential harm to the eco-system and our environment.
Knowing tourist resorts all over world most tourists would stay at the booked resort and villages could restrict access for privacy or allow for the extra money – again – the opportunity is given – the rest is sitting together and making the best out of it.
I agree with you, that food will get less on our planet. Too high demands and senseless overproduction especially of western countries will lead sooner or later to a food crisis – I understand that Yap has Taro, fruit and fish and would not need to care about that – but how does reality look like – less and smaller migrating fish comes in our waters, our reefs are overfished and our Taro is threatened by rising sea levels – it is sad, but the world around us develops rapidly and is affecting Yap severally. Yap is part of the global development and there is no way to say no or reverse its effect.
Tim Rock 3) ETG came in with a legion of promises. But the final agreement obligated ETG to nothing civic but a new government house. You may think ETG will improve infrastructure but it has not committed to it.
Judy Falmed Mr. Dieter Kudler, thank you for your comments, and addressing me thou I didn’t expect you to. Yes I do agree that Yap needs economic development. **** I only want to comment on one thing here, *** the idea that if we turn ETG away then other investor will take their money away, ****then let it be so. I would rather take this risk then the risk of what ETG will do and bring on Yap. Your thinking money, I’m thinking my home, my life, my future, and most of all my childrens’ future, my grands lives, my grand,grands’ lives and future, etc. Reading Mr. Taniguchi’s article confirms my suspicion and I believe what he has written down. See with ETG, we are not talking about economic only but theres more, much more than what most of us yapese are aware of. All along, I’ve been commenting with this in mind, that there are much more that ETG is bringing then mentioned. ( Thanks to Mr. Taniguchi who has written what needed to be seen.) And here’s a phrase: With money is much power if you know what I’m pointing out. I’m sorry that you find I disagree with you in most ways but then “WE CAN AGREE TO DISAGREE” right? Mr. Dieter, no hard feelings I am glad you are trying for yap, that speaks of a good heart and good luck to you. Thank you again.
Henry K.O. Norman Dear Judy Falmed: the way you express,’I’m thinking my home, my life, my future, and most of all my children s’ future, my grand’s lives, my grand-grands’ lives and future, etc.” what more can be said, I mean REALLY??
Jo Chumrad Dieter Kudler, first off, true that there is two sides to a coin…. we all view both side.. don’t you think that you (ETG) should talk about both side of the coin… or should we believe that if you bring out both side of the coin, you won’t win the game. As you’ve mentioned, it comes with a price… if you weigh the pro’s and con’s….. is that the price you want what you said ” our beautiful Island” to pay for? Don’t you think ETG should state both side of the coin? Have everything on the table, instead of leaving the rotten ones on the table… or you guys are afraid of the rotten one spoiling the rest of the good ones… if that’s what scares ETG, why make “our beautiful Island” pay the price…
Jo Chumrad *rotten ones under da table**…Dieter Kudler secondly, you do not have to marry a foreigner to become an FSM Citizen… you can never own land if you are not FSM citizen.. put them together…. a pure Chinese born in the FSM will be an FSM citizen by birth, therefore can be entitle to own land in the FSM. Not only that, but they can hold positions in the Government that can in the long run make us foreigners in our own government and land… so marring a foreigner is not the question Mr. Kudler…