P1: US & RepMar: Accord at Kwajalein The RMI and US governments jointly announced March 15 the signing of an Interim Use Agreement Extension for the Kwajalein Missile Range. After several months of deliberations between RMI and IS officials, RMI Chief Secretary Oscar deBrum and US negotiator Janet McCoy worked out the final details of the extension, which was formally signed by President Amata Kabua and McCoy, who is the Trust Territory High Commissioner. Under the agreement, the US has agreed to pay full Compact-level funding, over $10 million annually, retroactive to the beginning of fiscal year 1986 for use of the range.
P12 Pohnpei also adopts $1.50 minimum wage As the Marshall Islands Nitijela last month was passing a bill to establish a $1.50 an hour minimum wage for both the public and private sectors, Pohnpei state was following suit. Pohnpei has now adopted a $1.50 an hour rate, up from $1.35, but it will apply only to government workers.
P3 Gambling showdown The showdown at Nitijela on gambling is near, following public hearings held on Ebeye over the weekend. Special Committee chairman Senator Laji Taft said he anticipates that the legislation to void the current gambling law will come up for vote at the end of the week, just before Nitijela recesses until August. Taft said that at the public hearings on Ebeye, like in Majuro, no one spoke in favor of gambling.
P4 USDA Majuro office is the best Majuro’s Rural Development program was named the office of the year for the Micronesian Region at a meeting in Guam earlier this month. The program provides a variety of loans for home, water and community facility improvements. Rural Development’s state director Francis Blanco presented the award to Majuro Director Zed Zedhkeia in Guam.
P8 Leadership crisis – Feasting on earfuls of woes Another week of wailing has wended its way into history as the nation sat attuned to Nitijela this past week again feasting on earfuls of woe. It is as though the nation has become transformed into 55,000 points of nitpicking as senator after senator, minister after minister takes microphone in hand to decry falling copra production, disrupted ship and plane schedules, unbuilt schools, hung-up hangars, and mouth questions aimed at embarrassing, provide answers aimed at vagueness, and complain about all the help we should be getting but for one reason or another do not get. Very sorry about this, but in so much of Nitijela nowadays, we seem to fly like Tarzan swinging through the jungle from vine to vine. The only difference here is that we swing through each Nitijela session from complaint to complaint…More and more Nitijela has taken on the character of a group of guys sitting around sipping coffee and chit-chatting back and forth in a pointless exercise of lip flapping and feel good radio talk show level comment. From Nitijela we have a right to expect more than just continual chatter about why we can’t do this or why we can’t do that…Leadership is what we need. —editorial comment.
P17 Oleanda beached Boats are hitting bottoms left, right and center in the Marshalls at the moment. First it was RRE’s Lona on a reef at Aur. Then came the grounding of the yacht High Hopes in Arno. Next in line were the Pacific International Inc. barge and the Oleanda, which both broke from their mooring on the Long Island side of the bridge on Thursday evening.
P25 New schools for RMI Local residents in Tobal and Aur Islands, Aur Atoll, have picked up cash-paying jobs that will produce new school buildings for both islands. Pacific International Inc. Operations Manager Kenneth Kramer said the company has a total of about 60 workers at the two sites, most of them hired locally. PII has also won the contract for a new school building at Mili Island.
P28 Girls duke it out on fishing vessel A fight broke out aboard a Korean fishing anchored off Port Betio (Tarawa, Kiribati) between two groups of young local women, resulting in one being hospitalized for serious facial wounds. The police report says the girls were on a drinking spree. An argument began and ended in a clash. —Batiri Bataua