P1 Kiribati angling for Russian fishing money Negotiations for Russian fishing rights in Kiribati are advancing, despite the concern expressed by at least one prominent South Pacific leader. Kiribati President Ieremia Tabai said recently his government viewed the negotiations with the Soviet Union strictly from an economic point of view. “Naturally we want to earn as much income from it as we can,” he said. “It is better than aid. We have the resource they want and they may be able to pay the price we want.” The Russian-Kiribati tuna talks began in the wake of the failure of the American Tuna Boat Association to come to an agreement renewing its fishing rights in the several million square miles central Pacific Ocean area surrounding Kiribati. During a recent visit to New Zealand, Tabai was urged by Prime Minister David Lange to reject Soviet fishing rights in Kiribati.
P3 Compact critics change tune Criticism of the Compact of Free Association expected from Hawaii representatives at a Honolulu Congressional hearing last week did not materialize but came from another quarter. Hawaii Governor George Ariyoshi and Guam Governor Ricardo Bordallo and Rep. Ben Blaz exhorted the Congress to act on the Compact as quickly as possible. For the first time, House Interior and Insular Affairs Chairman Morris Udall raised specific objections and let it be known that Congressional investigations into the Compact would continue. Questions continue to simmer over the issue of the Compact providing the Marshall Islands and FSM a better deal than what American flag territories have received. The heat was largely taken out of these concerns by Ariyoshi’s and the Guam representatives’ enthusiastic endorsement of the pact.
P5 Forum figures lots of bucks in RMI The assumption at the Trade and Investment section of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is that the Marshalls must have lots of money. “We haven’t received any requests for funding assistance from the Marshalls in three years,” said Suva-based trade and investment officer Edgar Cocker. “So we think the Marshalls must have a lot of money.” Cocker’s comments, which drew an appreciative chuckle from Majuro business leaders, were delivered at last week’s Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Lanai.
P18 Ebeye SDA High School Honor Roll Ninth: Angeline Talens; 10th: Sumiko Hirata, Jabila Rubon, Yomitha James, and Syliana Naisher; 11th: Wilma Sisson.
P1 $20m at stake Kwajalein landowners will lose more than $20 million if a new land use agreement is not signed by December 18 this year. A special escrow account has been building up since 2003 with rent money for Kwajalein and as of Monday this week totaled $18,401,811.99. “If there is no signed land use agreement by December 18, 2008, the money in escrow plus the interest will be returned to the US Treasury,” US Ambassador Clyde Bishop told the Journal. But with no serious discussions on a new LUA since the Compact was signed by the Note government in 2003, the landowners still waiting for the new RMI government to put forth a proposal, and the US not offering anything new, reaching a new agreement over the next eight months won’t be easy.
P8 Ian restores Kili’s power Good news for Kili Island residents. Thanks to the talents of Marshalls Energy Company engineer Ian Pickering, power was restored on their island Thursday. Instead of months without power, as officials feared initially, it ended up being only a three-day power outage. Pickering went by boat to Kili soon after the transformer fault happened last Monday and was able to get the equipment back on line by Thursday.
P19 Lomor rescues yachts “It was just another day in the office,” is how Sea Patrol chief Captain Thomas Heine calmly described this week’s search and rescue mission for a dismasted yacht drifting 90 miles northwest of Majuro. For Richard and Chris Barrie of the 60-foot trimaran Windswept, the arrival of the crew of the Sea Patrol boat Lomor was a gift from heaven. “They were fantastic,” said Chris after their ordeal.
P20 Disaster in the cards for Ebeye? “The status quo is not sustainable and resources should be mobilized immediately to first stabilize basic services and then over the longer term to set Ebeye on a more sustainable path,” concludes the Ebeye Situation Report 2008 released last week by the RMI government. The RMI government established the Ebeye Stabilization Project to address the immediate needs and ensure the services of power, water, wastewater, solid waste, causeway and drainage systems are provided.