P1 Ajidrik passes Ajidrik Bien, a long-time prominent business from Majuro, died this week. The Ajidrik Wholesale Company, a landmark establishment on the main road, downtown, was one of four “name” businesses. There was Molik’s, Ajidrik’s, Bilimon’s and then Robert’s. Typical of business practice in this area, the commercial activities were often flavored by the personality of the owner, and Ajidrik’s was no exception. He would not permit the sale cigarettes or alcohol in his business, a firm policy that cost considerably in terms of revenue but which added to the reputation of this fine man and his family. An active church member, Ajidrik donated the use of his company’s vehicle on Sundays to being people to church. Often, at the beginning of a special occasion when a song of tribute or a hymn of praise was on the agenda, Ajidrik’s commanding voice would be the first to reach out and upward, pulling the congregation into gear. He was a respected political leader, elected numerous times to the various legislatures that characterized political status during the past several decades. In the passing of Ajidrik Bien, Majuro has lost a sincere man who brought to his public life the same whrothwile beliefs and practices he held in private.
P2 Suffering without police blotter fix Here I sit in suburban New Jersey, slowly recovering from a three-month tour of Southeast Asia, trying to make sense out of American. Overall, it has been enjoyable and it’s good to be back. But something is missing, something is gnawing at my soul. I woke up the other night and realized what it was. It was 3am and I had broken out in a cold sweat and was shaking…no, this was not due to inhumanly cold weather. The reason was actually much more serious. I haven’t had my Journal Police Blotter fix in over four months! I know that a man of your literary bent can understand my concern. The rest of the paper I can do without, bu I have this nagging feeling that good friends of mine are being arrested for drunk and disorderly behavior…and I go about my business in not-so-blissful ignorance. Clearly, this cannot continue. In the name of intercontinental awareness and well-publicized justice, I hereby request a year-long subscription to your fine publication. In all seriousness I find that I miss the Journal due to the near total dearth of any in-depth reporting on the Pacific in mainland US. Keep up the good work. —Seth McKee
P16 A very multi-national case The Joe Murphy of Guam recently commented on the strangeness of the Hammer deRoburt vs Pacific Daily News case. “Strange?” asked Murphy. “Here is the head of a foreign country, Nauru, suing a newspaper on Guam. The trial is conducted in a state, Hawaii, under English law, with New York attorneys. It all stems from an article written by a Palauan journalist.”
P1 Longhorn of the law A series of legal motions intended to trip up the home boys of Majuro fell far short of victory last week as RMI’s High Court Chief Justice denied a series of requests entered by a group of Texas lawyers trying to wrest money out of certain American manufacturers they claim do business here in the islands. And so far, the only guys making any scratch out of the legal wrangling is the unlikely Four Tuna Men of the Pacific, Esquires Reeder, Ingram, Strauss and Stege, a cadre of RMI interventionists who, through a vagary of fate, have found themselves positioned along stream of one of the key money issues of the ending millennium: Tobacco compensation. The whole fracas began several months back when a team of Texas lawyers decided to hitch onto the potentially lucrative legal onslaught against tobacco manufacturers being waged in mainland USA. Their plan was to get the government here to sign them up on a contingency basis in hopes that by coat tailing on a rash of US legal settlements, they could do great by doing good. First thing they did was file a complaint in RMI court against American cigarette manufacturers asking for money for what they say is all the health costs that have been caused by the use of tobacco products here in the Marshalls. The cigarette companies take the position that there was no legal basis for them to be taken to court here since they don’t manufacture cigarettes here and don’t do any business here. To explain this to the court, the cigarette companies hired the four local lawyers to get the message to the court. Judge Cadra ruled that our law here says that if a person is questioning the right of the court to even hear a case, no other legal steps need to be taken until the jurisdiction question is answered. So that was a score for the home boys. The other thing the judge ruled on was wether or not the Texas guys had the right to ask a bunch of questions of the tobacco guys too try to find out whether or not they didn’t in fact do business h ere. They wanted to be able to ask any number of questions, but the judge said they could only ask 20 questions, just like the old game show back in the 1950s on black and white TV. —Joe Murphy
P18 Alcohol is big business issue Local employers highlighted alcohol abuse and high rates of absenteeism as key problems in the workforce, according to a National Training Council survey. Local business managers say common skills the Marshallese workforce lacks are life and vocational skills.