Anything electrical or mechanical, or both, faces operational challenges in the Marshall Islands simply because the salt air environment is harsh on equipment.
Now we can add another complication to salt air, one we can blame on the coronavirus even though it has not yet arrived here.
Majuro is operating with green paper that has not been renewed in over two months because deliveries of cash by a Guam-based courier service to our local banks has halted both because of lack of air service and rules banning person-to-person contact (existing rules require the courier to hand off cash to bank authorities in the bank.
This is hard to do when the Covid-19 protocol says no one can get off an international flight). So we’re circulating and re-circulating old cash.
“As predicted, mutilated and worn cash has brought down our ATMs,” Bank of Guam Branch Manager Jackey Salomon told local business people this week. Old cash took out the ATMs located at BOG and Ace Hardware Store.
Unless advice by telephone from Guam headquarters helps local staff to repair the BOG ATM, it will be out of service for an indefinite period, since the bank cannot bring in a technician for repairs. The problem at the ATM by Ace Hardware is different and may be easier to repair.
While these two are out of service, the only BOG ATM working is located in Payless Supermarket. “Until we get clean ATM cash, the ATMs will be in this situation,” he said.