P5 Rep. Seiberling says no Compact passage until Kwaj issues settled Until the United States settles the turmoil on Kwajalein Atoll, the administration can forget about trying to gain congressional approval of a special Compact that’s critical to US future use of a missile testing range, a key house chairman said last week. Rep. John Seiberling, D-Ohio, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Public Lands, which oversees US administration of Micronesia, said that it may be up to Congress to repair defects in the agreement the Reagan administration is negotiating to give the region semi-independence. Since June, hundreds of islanders who live on Kwajalein Atoll have been protesting terms of the leasing arrangement for the Kwajalein Missile Range contained in a new Compact of Free Association. In response, the Army has variously cut some drinking water to Marshallese, stopped water for some sanitary services, and prevented many Marshallese from gaining access to their accounts in a local branch of a Hawaiian bank. The last action kept merchants from buying food to restock their shelves. “I think the actions of the military out there are hardly becoming of a nation that is great power,” said Seiberling. “Here we have a bunch of people who are our wards, in effect. We’re occupying their land and we’re denying them the right to peacefully assemble and petition for redress of grievances that our constitution guarantees to our own citizens. And yet we’re in their country. I think it’s a pretty sad spectacle.”
P1 Equal pay for equal work at USAKA Kwajalein Senator Alvin Jacklick told the Journal Tuesday that there is job discrimination against Marshallese at Kwajalein and that a special investigative committee will be reporting its finding to the Nitijela next week. Jacklick said the problems of discrimination date back many years. However, the current contract, Johnson Controls, is continuing the practice, he said. There are almost 1,500 Marshallese employees at USAKA.
P3 Forum in 1996 The South Pacific Forum has accepted the Marshall Islands offer to host the 27th South Pacific Forum in Majuro in 1996.
P8 Nitijela back in business for 2005 President Kessai Note told the Nitijela at Monday’s opening that outside auditors said the government’s 2004 financial record-keeping performance was the best ever, and that the RMI is the first among all US-affiliated islands to complete its 2004 audit.
P18 Five held illegally in Majuro jail The Public Defender’s office filed five lawsuits against the police department over the past two weeks to spring men being held longer than the 24-hour constitutional limits. The five men were held from two to seven days without charges until assistant public defender Lionel Aingimea filed suits in the High Court. A system of checking prisoners at Majuro jail that has been in use over the years wasn’t being followed, but is now back in use, which is how they discovered the five men being held illegally, he said.
P19 Drum sticks to Zebedy’s side Whoever thought the RMI National Band was only for high school kids? This assumption turns out to be false when a nine-year-old snare drummer, Mel Zebedy, was spotted in the mob of big kids at the band station. Young Zebedy is the only elementary student in the band and has been playing since April. As a treat to the RMI National Band players and their parents, President Kessai Note arranged a celebration for the high school graduates for dedication to the band for the past few years. Andrew Bulles was selected as the top band player, and was given a trumpet so he can continue developing his music skills.
P23 ‘Ebwe’ attitude not good enough Poor educational foundation coupled with cultural constraints are two issues local businessman Charles Domnick says he’s been dealing with over the years. “My main problem with hiring local employees is that they are not reliable,” said Domnick. “Either they show up late, or don’t show up at all or they can’t come in because they have cultural obligations that they ‘have to’ attend to,” he said. “But Domnick says this sort of behavior doesn’t work in today’s business environment. As an example with his construction business, he says with government contracts now, the private company is fined $500 for each day a project is delayed. “With costs like this, I can’t rely on people who don’t show up,” he said.