Nitijela opens for 2022 session

New Japan Ambassador Kazunari Tanaka and his wife Hiromi, left, joined with, from left: Ministers Kessai Note and Casten Nemra, President David Kabua, Nitijela Member Stephen Phillip, Taiwan Ambassador Jeffrey Hsiao and his wife, Jasmine Du. Photo: Wilmer Joel.

WILMER JOEL

Nitijela opened its January session Monday with 26 members of parliament seated at roll call.

Members of the diplomatic corps, Kwajalein Commander Colonel Thomas Pugsley and a delegation of USAG-KA officials, private and public sector representatives, Council of Irooj, court judges and several jepta were present along with a sparse turnout from the public.

As soon as the session was called to order, Speaker Kenneth Kedi as is customary in all sessions that he conducts, started things off with a verse from the Bible this time from Proverb 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

After his remarks, Irooj Lejje Loeak delivered his address on behalf of the council of Irooj. “From time to time it’s good to hear that the government and traditional leaders should work together,’” he said. “An example of good cooperation is when the government gets permission from the Irooj and Alap to permit the usage of land and sea to be of service to the needs of the public such as the airports, hospitals, schools, and others.”

He added,“sometimes the department of these agencies of the government forgets to inform the landowners, before establishing projects and activities in their soil and seas.” Loeak then told Nitijela that the Council of Irooj feels that it is better if there is an Irooj seated at each department or agency to solve this issue. Following his statement on land ownership he emphasized the importance of the Marshallese culture. He concluded his remarks by saying, “Mr. Speaker, if our culture and language die then we are not Marshallese.”

Head of State President David Kabua was then called up to the podium to address the nation on the developments his administration has made and the goals the government is making to improve the life of its citizens. Listed are the things he highlighted.

• There is one vessel for our doctors and nurses to bring healthcare to the neighboring islands, and another vessel tanker to deliver fuel to Ebeye and the other centers like Wotje and Jaluit. A sailing boat from Germany is almost done and another boat is still in the process of being built in Japan, the same size as the MV Kwajalein. Taiwan is also constructing another vessel the same size as the MV Rubuk Ae. This vessel is being planned to be placed in Ebeye, Kwajalein to improve the service to the western Ralik islands and other islands that are close to Kwajalein. The government of Australia will also give us another vessel to patrol our oceans.

• For air transport, negotiations have been put in place for AMI to use the plane of KBE or Bikini Airline because the planes of AMI are very old.

• Working with the landowners in Jenrok to enhance the areas that are next to the track and field so it can polish and clean the surroundings.

• The project to construct a new hospital is still in process. This is our objective, to refine and revamp medical resources and to get more doctors and nurses as well as other medical professionals, with this aim to boost services to the people.

• We are ready to erect our capital building as the talks are settled with the landowners and Lerooj Esther Zedkaia about the land leases of the government in Delap.

• In the year that has already ended, we have worked very hard to return our families and friends that were outside of our islands due to the complications of Covid 19. We are still in the process of closing our borders. However it is not 100 percent closed, because we need to return our students and our patients who have already finished school and medical check ups because they are our priority and responsibility. They are also those from other countries that are coming to work at the embassies here in the Marshalls. We are also letting the vessels enter to bring food and other necessities, like fuel. Skilled workers are being brought as well to start and complete important construction for the government and the private sector, including the water reservoirs at the airport, the new airport terminal, the roads leading Laura, the seawalls in Majuro and Ebeye, and the facilities for the upcoming Micro Games that will take place next year, 2023.

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