P1 Patient-ly awaiting final touches The Mercy International hospital administrators have begun their transition phase for the move to the new hospital although construction officials were not able to give an exact date for completion of the new $8 million facility in Delap. Mercy administrator Skip Cole said their plan is to complete the move within a month of the finish date. “There are a thousand and one details that have to be finished before the job is complete,” said RepMar consultant Jim Abernathy, who is overseeing the final construction stage.
P4 Beating the champ Warming up for the big pool tournament at The Pub this week, I let THE CHAMP Danny Wase beat me by a couple balls. Sixteen of the top billiard players were on hand Tuesday evening hoping to beat Danny and earn a case of cold ones. I happened to be the first player to challenge the champ and was also his first victim for the evening. After disposing of me, Danny ran through five more players, then ran into one tough opponent, Lester Sawej, who proceeded to destroy the champ two games in a row and won his case of cold beer. Tomaso Tolwi saw that Danny was not invincible, so the Ace Hardware man proceeded to do just as Lester did, winning two in a row and also picking up a case of beer. —Grant Gordon.
P1 $8m kickoff from US to Rongelap The possibility that Rongelap islanders will be able to return to their home atoll in the foreseeable future moved a step closer with the transfer this week of $8.3 million to the Rongelap Atoll Local Government for resettlement related work on the northern atoll. US officials signed off on a two-year, phase one plan, releasing $8.3 million to get the cleanup work moving, and now the Rongelap Council will review the plan at its meeting later this month, said Rongelap Mayor James Matayoshi.
P3 Garment workers arrive Close to 200 Chinese arrived at Amata Kabua International Airport Tuesday morning at sunrise. They will be working at the garment factory in Laura that is being operated by Lanco Pacific (RMI) Ltd. Chinese Ambassador Zhao Lianyi was on hand to greet the new arrivals.
P3 NOTICE TO SUMMITEERS If you haven’t found out that the MIC is the ONLY place for fun and relaxation on Majuro you are probably a boring person and not welcome there. So, KEEP OUT!
P5 National Economic Summit opens President Imata Kabua opened the National Economic and Social Summit this week. His message: “Either we bite the bullet now, or face a downward spiral in our living standards soon.”
P6 Great show We have to thank the UNDP for bringing the summit here this sleepy January. And UNDP didn’t just have one thing going on here in Majuro to be thankful for — they also made television stars out of quite a few of our local leaders, chief among was Chief Secretary Phil Kabua. A special video, professionally done and aired on MBC Tuesday night dealt primarily with the fact that RMI has to face serious cutbacks in money and employment in the coming weeks. But explaining the why and wherefores (as well as options) were a cast of local luminaries such as Jiba Kabua, Marie Maddison, Justina Langidrik, Danny Wase, all three resident ambassadors (China, US and Japan), and a host of other interviewees. While the presentation was scary, we have to admit that the footage of the islands, as seen through the camera’s eye, was enchanting. If we were tourists we would want to go there, if you know what we mean.
P10 Handling anomalies Different attitudes toward incidents is a fabulously fascinating sensation to those of us blessed, in these blustery times, to be ensconced in the dotty islands of Grand Pacific. One anomaly surfaced in the Baitiri Bataua report on the discovery (happily) of three Kiribati guys lost at sea and rescued by a fishing vessel. Do the people of Kiribati go celebratory, jump up and down, and eagerly anticipate the physical return of their lost brethren? Not hardly. Government goes into session to mull the problem caused by the fact that the rescue boat is not licensed to enter Kiribati waters. The government doesn’t know what to do. Of course, we know what to do: We tell the rescue boat to take the fishermen to the capital at Tarawa. When they show up, we confiscate the boat, fine the owner several thousands of dollars, and throw the crew in jail for violating Kiribati territory. Then we tell our returned fishermen to “get lost!”