Nitijela launched the opening of the August session Monday that showed an adequate turnout of 24 members of parliament at roll call, with seven excused and two absent.
Members of the diplomatic corps, Colonel Thomas Pugsley and a delegation of USAG-KA officials, private and public sector representatives, church choirs and a sparse turnout from the public were there to witness the opening of this important juncture for the government of the Marshall Islands.
The session received high visibility from abroad through NTA’s livestream of the session on its Facebook page and attracted listeners on the government’s V7AB radio. Speaker Kenneth Kedi conducted the session and kicked it off with a scripture reading from the Bible in Proverbs 11:8 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Chairman of the Council of Irooj Kotak Loeak then delivered a short address conveying his gratitude and blessing on the ongoing efforts the leaders of the Marshall Islands have been making to make this country prosperous. Following the conclusion of his remarks, President David Kabua addressed the nation on requisite matters. Among a list of key items the President inscribed in his speech:
• A Committee of 12 has been established to negotiate for an extension of the Compact of the Free Association.
• A call for a more strict border closure against the upgraded and deadly coronavirus variant known as “delta” which is now heavily affecting most of the world.
• Report of the Trust Fund which stands at $667 million as of June 30.
• To strengthen the work of farming and agriculture, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Commerce (NRC), and the government of Taiwan worked together to establish a few community farms in Kwajalein, Arno and Ailinglaplap focusing on Marshallese local foods in order to tackle malnutrition, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health problems.
• Japan and RMI signed a $3 million agreement to help MEC with fuel purchases.
• Facilities will be ready for Micronesian Games by next August 2022.
• Three new vessels from Japan, Germany, and Indonesia alongside a speed patrol boat from Australia are scheduled to be brought to the RMI.
• Scholarship opportunities in Taiwan, Japan, Hungary, and in other countries are available to Marshallese. Plans to enter colleges and universities in New Zealand and Australia are still being discussed.
• There are plans of bringing new planes, but first President Kabua wants the airports to be repaired. Kabua concluded his address by saying he looks forward to the discussion of extending the Compact between the governments of the United States and the Marshall Islands. He added that it will be a tough discussion, but he hopes it will also be a productive one to benefit the people of the Marshall Islands.