P1 Compact signed! Compact of Free Association between the Marshall Islands and the United States was signed Sunday, 30 May, according to a front page story in the Honolulu Advertiser. Acting President Tom Kijiner confirmed the signing but had no details due to bad communication. The newspaper said the “historic agreement” was signed by Foreign Secretary Tony deBrum and US Ambassador Fred Zeder in a 34th floor room of the Prince Kuhio Hotel in Waikiki. About $2 billion will reportedly come to the Marshalls over the 15-year life of the compact.
P1 Senator unhappy about Kwaj deal Senator Imada Kabua is extremely unhappy about the deal made between the US and RepMar on Kwajalein. “Kwaj landowners have been shot in the back,” Kabua said.
P5 Settlers win band battle The winner of the Battle of the Bands is the Laura Settlers, according to Teruo Kaminaga, chairman of the Latuma fundraising event which took place recently.
P8 Erikub sonata We saw John Miller, progenitor of the recently touted and “courted” Erikub resort project, this past week in Majuro. He was going around doing the sour business of selling off his van and negotiating in RRE Matson office to ship his construction equipment out of the Marshalls to another site. To the question of his intentions regarding Erikub, he only offered that it looked like at least two years before any satisfactory court ordered resolution could be expected — too long to tie up equipment and plans. While he didn’t say it, we would be very surprised if the Millers ever return. They join the legion of people who come, see, run into land squabbles, and leave. All this while we sit talking about economic development, about putting our existing airline in the black with resort development in the outer islands, while we say we n red investors, we need employment, we need development. Well, gang, all we have circling us that we can see is a myriad school pif economic advisors, consultants, short-term seminar leaders, hosted conferences, and applications for new bonds, loans, loans to pay loans, and a dwindling Compact fund. Land tenure in the Marshall Islands is a major stumbling block to any keen investor, whether that investor be a local citizen or a foreigner with impeccable references. And so long as the government here is distracted by listening intently to this or that visiting consultant, the problem will not be properly addressed. The government must take it upon itself to act as an intermediary between landowners and land investors. The court system ought to be used only as a last resort and with great restraint. Too often, once a question is conceived in court, the answer is delivered long after the litigants forget what the question was about.
P6 Woman okayed to be alab by High Court The High Court has confirmed a decision of the Traditional Rights Court concerning land titles at Kwajalein Atoll — a ruling that has produced outrage from leading Ralik Irooj Mike Kabua. High Court Judge Richard Hickson last Friday confirmed the TRC’s ruling that Julie Lokboj is the alab (clan head) for Akadrikien, Kamarre, Lau, Lodrenaj, Muinluial, Tuaken and Monjelar wetos on Roi-Namur and Nukne Island, Kwajalein. Hickson said the TRC’s opinion is supported by the booklet written by Amata Kabua, “Customary Titles and Inherent Rights — A General Guideline in Brief” (1993), and by writings of anthropologist Jack Tobin from 1956.
P7 The Marshall Islands Gazette, No. 5, June 2: Dumb headlines It really pathetic some of the headlines readers subjected to in the sister news, Journal. But the news out-did itself last week and we suppose it was because it was on Jay Leno show they held up the Journal people in US to laugh at cause of the “Please Don’t Rob Banks” item they running all the times. Well, looks like Journal got away from banks and starting on hospital staff. The headline warns: “Don’t Hold Up Ambulances.” Why anyone would hold up an emergency vehicle is hard explaining. Maybe some vampire looking for hot blood?