P1 Bikinians to sue US for $300 million A $300 million lawsuit for damages against the US government is going to be filed in the US Court of Claims by the Bikini people, it was decided February 15 by the 12-member local council after a marathon meeting that lasted until 4am. Jonathan Weisgall, the Bikini people’s lawyer whose office is in Washington, DC, was on hand along with Bikini-Kili Senator Henchi Balos and Tomaki Juda, Kili’s magistrate.
P2 Marshalls to talk fish on Nauru Three GovMar officials will attend a Western Pacific regional fisheries meeting in Nauru March 4 in a first attempt to start joint negotiations of fishing rights. Secretary of Foreign Affairs Tony deBrum said he expects Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Palau, FSM, Western Samoa, Nauru and probably others to attend the talks.
P1 Ebeye trying to erase image as ‘slum of the Pacific’ Ebeye has always been synonymous with the word “slum.” It’s notoriety derived from its unhappy but accurate description as the “slums of the Pacific.” A multi-million dollar construction effort — funded by the US and spearheaded by Kwajalein leaders — in the late 1980s brought to Ebeye for the first time adequate water, electricity, roads and a sense that change was possible. But the linchpin the the Kwajalein Atoll Development Authority’s program to see a better future for Ebeye is the still-under-construction causeway to Gugueegue. And though it is making headway, progress has been slow — and so has been the attempt to dump Ebeye’s 30-year reputation.
P14 Warm welcome The man singled out by Nitijela January 15 as deserving of congratulations for his nomination as US Secretary of interior, former Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt, had his confirmation affirmed and has already met with delegations from various island communities, including the Marshalls. Secretary Babbitt welcomed Rongelap Senator Jeton Anjain to Washington recently.
P16 Bikinians getting down to clean up business The first major construction work to bring Bikini Island out of the mists of history as a nuclear test site and into the present as a livable home begins this year with the building of a new dock on the island. Next weekend a meeting will take place on Kili Island that is expected to shape the plan for using a large portion of the $90 million trust fund the US provided to the Bikinians to make their former home re-inhabitable.
P22 Kabua wins billfish tournament Iroij Imata Kabua won the third annual Kwajalein Liberation Day Billfish Tournament by reeling in a record-smashing 460 pound Pacific blue marlin on the opening day of the event earlier this month. His record marlin, breaking the previous record of 297 pounds, was one of 15 caught by the 36 boats competing.
P2 US focus on illegal baby sales Hawaii and mainland US officials are focusing on shutting down illegal adoptions of Marshallese children in the US. A meeting of Hawaii officials earlier this month in Honolulu established a network to address illegal adoptions and direct lines of communication with the Ministry of Internal Affairs Central Adoption Authority.
P3 Rele slashes pay rates at MALGov In an astounding and history-making development for the RMI, new Majuro Mayor Rele Alberttar has slashed his own pay by $13,000 — lending credibility to his announced plan of reforming Majuro Atoll Local Government. He’s started with himself, reducing his salary from $45,000 to $35,000 annually, and cutting the mayor’s allowance from $15,000 to $12,000 to bring it into line with the allowance for each council member.