Compact’s 35th birthday celebrated

Holding framed giant postage stamps marking the 35th Compact anniversary are, from left, RMI Postmaster Dexter Jikit, Finance Minister Brenson Wase, Ambassador Roxanne Cabral, President David Kabua, Foreign Minister Casten Nemra, and Postal Authority Board Chairman Junior Aini. Photo: Wilmer Joel.

The US Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs combined to put on a celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Compact of Free Association last Thursday in Majuro.

The gala event featured a color guard by American Legion Post 22, the RMI and US national anthems sung by Jenny Aiseia and Fern Stege, respectively, a speech delivered in Marshallese language by US Ambassador Roxanne Cabral, praise from Foreign Minister Casten Nemra, presentation by RMI Postal Authority officials of a special stamp marking the 35th anniversary, a big cake, a buffet of sumptuous food, and music and dancing by numerous school groups as well music legend Jabubu — all at pool side of Marshall Islands Resort with a who’s who of the Marshall Islands in attendance.

The October 21 anniversary was honored last year with a cake cutting ceremony involving Nemra and Cabral. But this year’s event left no doubt as to the strength and longevity of the US-RMI partnership through the Compact.

The US Ambassador referred to US-RMI ties as “family,” while Nemra described the RMI as a “strong and reliable partner” of the US. There were references to first President Amata Kabua and his role in developing the first Compact.

Elected leaders led by President David Kabua and Kwajalein Iroojlaplap and Nitijela Member Mike Kabua joined Ambassador Cabral for a photo opportunity on the stage.