P1 Foreign Secretary deBrum: Marshalls’ quest for freedom threatened The United States is holding the Marshallese people hostage in trying to impose a 30-year military regime on the Marshall Islands at the expense of the nation’s freedoms, Marshall Islands Foreign Secretary Tony deBrum said in remarks reported by Pacific Daily News in Guam. “Nowhere in our wildest fears was concern that the US, the champion of democracy, would be so callous and demanding regarding the termination of the trusteeship and that our own quest for freedom would be threatened,” deBrum said at the conclusion of the Asian-Pacific Parliamentarians Union meeting. A proposed Compact of Free Association was signed last May but a plebiscite for the Marshallese people’s approval has yet to be scheduled. DeBrum said the US had reneged on several commitments: independence would be one of two choices in the plebiscite ballot; the US would respect the Marshallese people’s wishes; and a termination date for the trusteeship would be established.
P3 Mangefel supports Compact Governor John Mangefel of Yap promised to “do my best and to uphold the new constitution” of Yap after being sworn in for a second four-year term. Mangefel said with the ratification of the constitution, the two remaining steps to complete the political transition are “the ratification of the Compact of Free Association and termination of the Trusteeship Agreement.” He added: “Had I known four years ago what I know now about the job, I just might have stayed in the FSM Congress. During the past four years, I have heard more complaints, settled more disputes and attended more meetings than I did in 10 years with the Congress of Micronesia. It has been said that money is the root of all evil. If that is so, then governments must be very evil things because they are very, very expensive and complicated.”
P1 Pay cuts are top to bottom Minister of Finance Ruben Zackhras today provided an explanation to Nitijela and the public as to the intent of government with regard to implementation of savings measures. In September of 1994, Nitijela passed a law requiring certain specific cutbacks in hours and wage rates as a means of complying with requirements for obtaining loans from the Asian Development Bank. As Minister Zackhras explained, when the time came to implement the changes, it was apparent that certain activities of government, especially agencies receiving outside funding, would have a problem implementing the proposed cuts. There were also financial obligations that some employees had committed themselves to which would have made immediate implementation of the recommended cuts unduly difficult. So implementation was delayed. Cabinet has now adopted a measured approach to bringing the cost-saving requirements into effect. The first step will retire from active government service 140 to 150 current employees who are at or reaching retirement age in the near future. Other employees will be offered immediate severance pay and a switch to retirement benefits. “I want everyone to understand that when the cut of eight percent is implemented, it will be applied to everyone from the President right on down…”
P1 Last minute talks leave critics aghast If you want live action, no-holds barred verbal assaults, and emotions brimming over, then show up an EPA public hearing. More than 30 people showed up at last Thursday’s public hearing on the asphalt plant — the most ever at an EPA-sponsored public hearing, according to EPA chief John Bungitak — and they were treated to two hours of consultant grilling and cross-examination of contractors. The contractors got in a few good licks of their own before the proceedings wound up.
P4 Marshallese legends to come alive at Jaluit Three Marshallese legends will come alive later this month on Jaluit. A team of 10 Jaluit High School students, with direction from WorldTeach teachers Jacob and Carine Hutchinson, and support of JOCV volunteers Aki Akihiro and Hiro Nagasaki, will put on a play at the high school the last week of January. Inedrel, the Lost Boy of Ailinglaplap, and the story of Anidreb — the latter from Jaluit — will be featured in the three-act play.
P18 Hopes for replay of successful vet clinic A major step forward in controlling the cat population of Majuro was accomplished through a four-day neutering and spaying clinic last week. A total of 158 animals were treated at the clinic. Dr. Jeff Young, director of Denver-based Planned Pethood Plus, and his associate Dr. Kim Hayes, conducted the operations.
P19 An exciting moment for health “It is the pleasure of the Japanese tax payers and the government of Japan to provide his new (hospital) facility to the RMI,” said Japan Charge d’Affaires Akira Ikeda as he handed over the new Majuro hospital annex last Friday. “Our dream has finally become a reality,” said a proud Minister of Health Alvin Jacklick.
Subscribe to the Marshall Islands Journal by clicking on the subscribe button at the right to read more about this and other news from the Marshall Islands.