P1 Distad to challenge land claimants A suit to determine the validity of a government lease on land located at the site of Majuro’s old airport is likely to be filed soon, according to Marshalls District Administrator Oscar deBrum. The controversy over the land was precipitated several weeks ago when a couple began building a home on land which had been unofficially designated for a public park by the local government. The old airport was deactivated earlier this year when the new airport, which is located about nine miles from the district center, came into operation. The landowners understood that the land would automatically revert back to them when the government no longer needed the airport, but the government’s position is that the land is still under government control because of a lease signed by now deceased Iroij Aiesea David in 1964 for 99 years. The landowners maintain the lease was never valid because the Iroij was the only one who signed. The government has begun construction of an elementary school building at one end of the old runway, apparently operating under the assumption that by establishing without hesitation continued use of the land they can bypass any objection by the landowners. Distad deBrum commented that while the government is willing to bring the matter to court, there are no hard personal feelings being generated over the issue simply because everyone involved will have to wait for a legal determination.
P2 New theater opens in Rita A new movie theater owned by Katip Mack is scheduled to open soon in Rita, next to Kamo Wholesale Company store. The new theater features graduated seats, fans, fire exits in the front as well as the rear, and a large cement area for jaki-relaxing while watching the movie.
P5 President counsels freedom from food dependence President Amata Kabua addressed the opening of the second session of the 13th Nitijela this week with a sober evaluation of the state of the nation and a call to all Marshall Islanders to pitch in and make economic initiatives instigated by the government a reality. “It is time for us to realize we must start planting daily if we wish to achieve the goal of feeding ourselves,” he said. He questioned the absence of farming activities in schools. He urged leadership to develop reasonable solutions to problems preventing the nation moving from dependency to a state all Marshallese will be proud of.
P21 President asks ambassadors to see economic development The President told the five RMI ambassadors last week in Majuro that their mandate has shifted from seeking political recognition to promoting economic development for the Marshall Islands.
P6 He says it’s great Jonathan Jonathan Mote, the longtime manager of the RMI Employment Office, has just returned to Majuro after what he describes as “a great three weeks on Jabat.” Jonathan explained he doesn’t agree with the sentiment usually expressed that people on the outer islands are having a bad time. “I think people out there are better off than the people living here in town,” he said. When you compare it to living in town with almost no pressure in the salt water system to flush and surly sneak thieves who run around looking for loose locks and unattended valuables, by comparison, a beach of pure sand with not a footprint on it looks absolutely great!
P3 Compact funding up 45% for 2004 Compact funding is going up 45 percent this coming fiscal year, increasing from $39.7 million to $57.7 million. Overall, the RMI’s national budget is increasing about 10 percent, going from $98.5 million in 2003 to $108.6 million this year.
P3 Main dump is closed Majuro’s garbage woes worsened substantially with the closing of the Public Works-operated main dump at Batkan last week. In a temporary measure, Public Works is having Majuro Atoll Local Government dump garbage lagoon side past the airport near a dredge site. The nearly one-hour drive to the temporary new dump site for MALGov’s garbage collection trucks has slowed bin pickup, and virtually all of the dozens of bins were full and over-flowing by mid-week.