For the first time in history, power will be available to the people of Ennibur Island, more commonly known as Santo or Third Island on Kwajalein Atoll.
The island is home to nearly 1,000 Marshallese, many of whom are children.
The development unfolded in a discussion by Kwajalein Mayor Hirata Kabua and President David Kabua at the Cabinet Room last Thursday.
President Kabua was shocked at the news that Santo Island has been without electricity since its habitation, given the tiny island is located 10 minutes away on ferry from the military installation on Roi Namur.
“This is my first time learning this,” Kabua told the Kwajalein delegation before assuring Hirata his request would be treated as priority.
Santo Island is originally called Ennibur but later took the name Santo from the Japanese word for the number three, which was adapted by the Americans into “Third Island.”
To date, the people of Santo have been without electricity and phone lines, yet more than 300 work at Roi Namur, contributing to the Army’s mission.
The delegation led by Mayor Kabua included Kwajalein Parliament Member David Paul, Lanny Kabua from the RMI government office on Kwajalein, and Executive Director for Finance and Human Resources for Kwajalein Atoll Local Government Tony Maika.
President Kabua and Cabinet members Minister in Assistant Christopher Loeak, Minister of Finance and Banking Commission Alfred Alfred, Jr. and Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Casten Nemra were impressed with Kwajalein’s proposed plan to run an electric line from Roi Namur through two islands to Santo through an underground conduit.
When done, residents on Santo are to be placed in the cash power system similar to the operation on Ebeye and Majuro. Kwajalein Atoll Joint Utility Resource (KAJUR) will oversee the payment system.