WENO, CHUUK. July 17, 2013 - Speaker Dohsis Halbert of the Eighteenth Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia highlighted the principles of debate and its importance in the process of law making during the 2013 National Law Day Debate in the State of Chuuk.
Speaker Halbert delivered the keynote remarks for the 2013 Law Day Debate where he informed the participants that the process they took to research and understand their topic are the same principles applied “on the floor of Congress every day of session.”
He continued that “those same skills underpin the principles of a thriving democracy.
“So please learn them well. Your country needs those skills,” Halbert advised the debaters.
The national debate is an annual activity sponsored by the FSM Supreme Court and begins in the month of May with preliminary debate amongst the high schools in each of the four states with state winners battling it out at the National Law Day Debate on July 12th.
Pohnpei’s Our Lady of Mercy High School won the 2013 Law Day Debate with Chuuk High School close behind, followed by Yap and Kosrae. This year’s topic was: Be it resolved that the FSM Constitution should be amended to create an additional At-Large seat in Congress for each of the four states, election to which shall be open only to women candidates.
Participants of the 2013 national debate and their schools are as follows:
Representing the State of Pohnpei from Our Lady of Mercy High School were Danalynn Worswick and Margaret Lucille Finnen, coached by Mr. Ben Russell Fagela Figueras;
Representing the State of Chuuk from Chuuk High School were Majesty Helickios and Tiarra Rose Williander, coached by Ms. Dorsalina William;
From the State of Yap representing the high schools in Yap were Janice S. Mooteb and Jamilyn Lynnae Mooteb, coached by Ms. Angelina Santos; and
Finally representing Kosrae High School from the State of Kosrae were Catherine R. Melander and Mitsur Kemsky R. Isisaki, coached by Mrs. Lyna R. George.
As participants of the National Law Day debate, each student will receive a scholarship of $1,000 to be applied towards a secondary educational institute of their choice.
Law Day Debate as it was first organized on July 12, 1991 was to involve high school students and the general public in discussion of important national issues. Over the years it gained recognition and attracted participation of students both from the public and private schools.
July 12th holds significant history in the FSM as well as in the Micronesia region:
The first all-Micronesia legislative branch of the Trust Territory Government, the Congress of Micronesia, convened on July 12, 1965, marking the beginning of an era of unprecedented political development.
Ten years later, the Congress of Micronesia created the Micronesian Constitutional Convention which convened on July 12, 1975 and generated a sense of nationalism among the Micronesian islands and eventually birthed the Federated States of Micronesia.
On July 12, 1981, the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia was officially established and began its operations under first Chief Justice Edward C. King.
Ten years later, the FSM Supreme Court organized the first Law Day Debate for July 12, 1991.
In 1997, then acting President Jacob Nena signed a proclamation declaring July 12th to be a legal holiday in the FSM and be known as Micronesian Law Day, and urged citizens, residents and the government of the FSM to celebrate the day in a way that promoted respect for the law.