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 fifth part of the whole discussion threads.
Veronica Pinnifen Libian Okay I want to be clear before I make my following opinion. I am in fact against this ETG proposal. I’m not denying that yes it may be beneficial now economic wise but my fear is that in the long run it will destroy the very essence of Yap. Now we as Yapese who are so proud of our home need to educate ourselves and know the right questions to ask to further come to the conclusion as to whether this is in fact something we want on our island or not. To be smart we can’t depend on ETG to announce the pro’s and especially the con’s to their proposal. Of course they would highlight the pro’s that’s how businesses thrive they do not necessarily have to announce the con’s, this is where those who will be effected by the outcome need to be smart and proactive in addressing those cons that might follow, whether ETG decides to answer those questions honestly or not maybe an incling as to what type of business they are.
Jo Chumrad You are right Veronica Pinnifen Libian… businesses do not “necessarily” have to announce the con’s.. however, would you like the full story or you would rather figure out the parts of it, if not the ending of the story. One must not only think but ask… I am not for ETG nor against it. I just want to hear the full story… IF they hesitate to provide the con’s, should I think they are the best? Or should i figure out the con’s… why not hear it from them.. after all, they know their business and they know both side of the coin very well… it would be best to hear their side and compare it to your side…. I could be wrong thou… but at least that’s what i think… IF they hesitate to show both side of the coin…. don’t you think there is a reason behind the other side of the coin……
Jo Chumrad As Rachel CutrerJohnson stated and I quote “Always be weary of a company that does a lot of project praising but leaves out the cons. A “respectable” company would take the initiative to point out the cons of any agreement/developmental plans”. I think Rachel CutrerJohnson said it well….
Veronica Pinnifen Libian I do agree with that concept but I don’t believe ETG or any business for that matter will try to sell a proposal by announcing the cons. In order for a business to sell themselves they would highlight what will be more attractive to their target market, in this case Waab. Businesses sell in order to thrive that’s how they succeed, in order to sell they don’t necessarily announce the disadvantages that’s why I personally can understand why ETG is not forthcoming with the cons. It would be nice if they would also mention the cons but their not doing it for good reasons for their business. That is why I feel we need to be asking the questions and not be expecting them to lay down everything for us. With their responses to our question will enable us to determine if their proposal is something we want to welcome or politely decline.
Jo Chumrad Of course a business “may” not be sold if they state the disadvantage… That’s why i brought that up, so those who are reading it will also think about it.. if they hesitate to point out the con’s when they are asked… is that a good sign?… remember I am not for nor against it.. It has been asked… but generally answered with hesitation…
Veronica Pinnifen Libian I personally don’t agree with Rachael’s comment. I don’t think any company respectable or otherwise, who is trying to sell a proposal will point out the cons.
Veronica Pinnifen Libian If answered with hesitation then I rest my case. As I previously stated, whether ETG answers those questions honestly or not, OR as you mentioned with “hesitation” may be an incling as to what kind of business they are.
Bernie Grong I’m sorry Jo Chumrad but I’m going to have to disagree when you said,”..a pure Chinese born in the FSM will be an FSM citizen by birth, therefore can be entitle to own land in the FSM.” I was taught that we do not own the land. It owns us…which is where we get our Yapese names. So unless that has changed…or I am wrong, then I don’t think the Chinese will be owning any land. Unless a Yapese man has a child with a Chinese woman and his child is given a Yapese name. I stand to be corrected though.
Jo Chumrad Bernie Grong… of course that is so true and still practiced to this very day… however, what will happen if that ” pure Yapese” sells his land to this FSM citizen by birth but not pure Yapese… who will be the owner of the land? He/she is a citizen that bought land….. and by law he will be the rightful owner… if he/she is not an FSM citizen, by law cant own land…. his/her name can never be on the certificate of land ownership…
Rachel CutrerJohnson Ah actually yes!!! A reputable company does point out cons. During the mortgage crisis the only.bank that was left standing was a bank the believed in pointing out the cons. It was a bank out of Iceland. In fact if you type in the search engine only bank left standing in Iceland during crisis you will pull up the story. The founders (two women) decided they were fed up with the testosterone around them and made their own company. They decided rather than to risk other peoples money by allowing them to take chances (blindly) they were up front. Because of this the clients literally went running towards them. I posted their story on here before ….
Rachel CutrerJohnson I will clarify more later but its hard right now when I’m texting from a canoe.
Kattinow Gisog Jo Chumrad: Veronica is right, most businesses promote themselves because the incentive is there. for a business to go around telling everyone how they will negatively affect everything does not make much business sense unless there is some sort of incentive in it – if it’s to win public support, then they will state the ‘cons’ only if they can address it as well (i.e. using ‘green’ technology to address pollution). more often than not, you will have business telling u they are good for you. we all have a role here and a job to do – it’s not to relax and enjoy the breeze while investors lay out a nice picnic for us. for most financers and government, when business proposal is made to them, they ANALYZE it and figure out the cons themselves and develop strategies to mitigate them. it would be so wonderful if our government could do that. our executive branch is equipped with alll these departments that can analyze this project and our Legislature is there to review their data and create the necessary regulations to address them.
Kattinow Gisog btw, thank you Dieter for the clarification on the 4,000 units…reading people comments and hearing people’s concerns, i think alot of people are imagining one mega hotel with 4,000 rooms…at least that’s the impression i got. comparing it with Tumon bays 8,000 units should help put things into perspective.
Jo Chumrad I never said Veronica was wrong and you are also right Kattinow Gisog. however, of course they don’t have to place it in the open, but if it was asked, should they also hide it… or hesitate to put it out.. and if they do so, is it the best business? IF u come across two businessman selling their proposal, one has everything laid out, pointing both the pro’s n con’s of their business… and the other one, only benefits, benefits and would hesitate to provide the cons… which business proposal would u rather pick? or which would u trust to invest your money in.. one that you knowingly know what might happen, or the other one that you will have to figure and assume what might happen… ? Whether the government figure it out or not, they should also be able to provide it if they are asked.. if they hesitate, that is a sign that there is something not so good somewhere… if u see what i mean… The business proposal is done long time ago.. now its questions and answers….
Martina Gisog Dieter, I knew 4000 units will take more than just one hotel building, or have I said otherwise? Tumon has probably near 8000 rooms, NOW Guam has 541.3 sq km while Yap is 100 sq km, try and fit Tumon in Yap, how much will be left for us?
Martina Gisog Not to mention the golf course(s) and other things on the DREAM PROJECT of ETG! Yes, that would leave YAP with nothing but ETG’s DREAM.
Kattinow Gisog Jo Chumrad: thank you, this is to answer your question, which i think may be with regard to my work. deciding which projects the Bank is to invest in is not really about how the benefits and costs are presented. if i had to decide which of the two proposals you mentioned, i would pick the one with better business strategy, better capacity, and better management. for the Bank, it would be good to see that they’ve considered their disadvantages/threats/ or whatever else maybe considered a ‘con’ because it shows me that their business plan is well thought out. when seeking finance, business proposals would state (if they choose) threats, but at a microeconomic level, mainly threats to their profitablity – and they normally would address it with some sort of counter strategy. if they dont not recognise any threats to their business, its is our job to do so. we analyse the plan and point out the risks/threats entailed. we also dialogue with the proponent on the best strategy to counter it. this is from the perspective of financer/business. whether or not they present the ‘cons’ to us is not so relevant to our decision because we know they are there and we identify them. their ability to address those threats is something we do look at – and that involves and management and technical aspects of the business, not just its size and wealth.
government/business perspective, of course, the government will be looking at benefits as much as the business is spouting them. but identifying the disadvantages and addressing them is for government to do. because the threats we are concerned about are threats/disadvantages to US, not the business. the incentive is there for US to examine them and come up with ways to address them, there isnt much incentive for the business to do so. failure to address those threats count more on government ability its their duty to create the regulations to manage businesses. if the business the abiding by the laws but still doing harmful things to island, the government must examine the situation and develop the regulations to address the harm…..i dont know how else to explain it further.
as for ETG’s business proposal, to my understanding, it isnt even finalised…i doubt even ETG at this point can tell you for sure what the projet is going to be like, but i’m sure u are welcome to ask them. if u are going to ask questions about negative impact to the environment, people, etc, i’m sure u are welcome to ask them as well — but those are externalities that u should also pose to government and expect answers from. ‘i dont know’ is not an answer.
Dolores Yilibuw Ok, let me interject another opinion here, i think when it comes to economic development, first) we need NOT accept the economic development of continents and islands close to continents or large countries as Yap’s STANDARD for economic development. Second, Yap needs to set its own standard , based on its environment, resources, location and so on. We don’t need to jump on the band wagon of international development because those companies are looking for nothing but profit, hence, I am not at all surprised at the toothless-for-the-Yapese landowner contract that our administration signed. Third, we set our own STANDARD by defining what we Need to have and what we Want to have. For example, how would we know that we have achieved the standard that we want in economic development? Name things like, free internet, sustainable farming and fishing, increased cash crops, minimum wage at $5 per hour, 20 revenue generating projects, etc…. Yap is a small island with only 11-12 thousand people to feed, it’s not like Manila where they have millions to feed. Go with what Yap needs and wants not what for profit international companies want. We know what these companies want–profit. What about us, what do we need in Yap in order to live well in our environment? To me living well is having nutritious food to eat, getting an education and being healthy and going on field trips to the Outer Islands every so often. Fourth, because Yap is an isolated island, economic development needs to be diversified (grow the local private sector and co-ops, grow more cash crops, eco-tourism, fisheries, marine research center, bio-diverse gardening) rather than just depending on tourism. BTW bio-diverse farming is new internationally, however, Yapese folks have been doing this forever. This is where different food plants are grown together on one plot of land, the soil does not run out of nutrient hence no need for fertilizers. In the States now, people are moving more and more towards locally grown foods, local restaurants are buying from local farmers, and there is a movement to support local growers. In a way, they are just waking up to what Yapese have been doing all their lives. Why? It is healthier, environmentally friendlier, organic rather than using fertilizers and chemicals. Now, if Yap wants to leave everything up to ETG to develop for their profit mostly, then by all means, have the contract revised so that it has some teeth for the Yapese landowners. The contract should clearly state that should the landowner decides to terminate the lease, s/he shall have ownership of all businesses on the land, etc. The revised contract should be negotiated by an attorney like Yow before it is signed. I also heard that the compact can be renewed but the funds will diminish, though, Yap can still apply to grants and scholarships from the U.S. So we have choices but in making those choices we need to keep in mind that WE HAVE TO WORK in order to benefit. Even if ETG develops Yap, each individual still need to work in order to earn money because if we do not work and we have given our land to developers, then we will really starve! Siro’ ma kammagargad.
Judy Falmed Folks, allow me to direct your attention to Mr. Taniguchi’s article if you haven’t see it. I do believe this is a prophecy for what will happen to yap in the future with the ETG’s project. He is stating some facts/truth that we really need to know. I don’t think Mr. Taniguchi is making up stories. This is big, BIG TIME. I would also ask you to google ETG Deng Hong and you’ll find INTERESTING STUFF THERE about this project here in Yap. Folks, we need to wake up and see the massive impact of this project. Just google it out and you’ll have your questions answer. I will say to all of us….PRAY, PRAY, PRAY… for God’s favor on us.
Jo Chumrad Kattinow Gisog, don’t you think that will also be the same thing that some of us would do in terms of viewing such big project… When such things are viewed, the questions come about in order to make up your mind if its the best thing to be a part of or not. Just the same things as we “analyze” it. We the people could be considered to be in your position and ETG is selling us their proposal… should we not want the best strategy ( strength, weakness, opportunity, and threats)… as you mentioned ” for the Bank, it would be good to see that they’ve considered their disadvantages/threats/ or whatever else maybe considered a ‘con’ because it shows me that their business plan is well thought out.” Don’t you think society stands right in the same position as you and have every right to ask the questions in regards to the cons? The Government can do their homework… and that does not give us (citizens) any reason not to seek answers to questions we have also. It does not give us any reason to stop asking questions or voicing out our opinion. Whether we hold any high positions in the workforce or not, we are entitle as much as the Government is to do our homework, after all, it is not the Government alone that would decide if we want such big of an investment to take place. Yes, of course, ETG or any business do not necessarily nor are required of them to state the “threats” of their business plan.. that i do not disagree with… I also do not disagree that we have to do our homework regarding the proposed investment. I do not disagree that it’s the governments duty to figure and assume the “threats” and put in place regulations to administer the investment.. everything you said is right along with what others also are pointing out.. however, my question is ” if ETG or any business, big or small, hesitate to provide the threats “when they are asked”… is it in any sense a good business that i should invest in. yes, we are not investing any money for the business to start… however, in other words, we are investing our people, our culture and traditions and our Island into it one way or the other.. so at least for me, i have every right to hear what do they have as threats before I will decide, should i invest (anything) in their business or not. I am in the same position as you are, i just do not work with the FSM Development Bank… if you know what i mean…. In this case, they are not seeking finance from us, but are seeking our whole Island. We (Government and the people) should be presented with a good business strategy, just like you wanting a good business strategy. IF they fail to provide a good business strategy, it automatically tells us that something is probably not right somewhere… maybe, just maybe, i could be wrong in putting myself in the same position as you and viewing it just like how you would view a business proposal. And if that’s the case, i stand to be corrected…