The annual commemoration of the founding of the RMI Constitution that was established on May 1, 1979 went ahead Monday this week with a parade and speeches, followed by music, games and a canoe race.
The Constitution embodies free governance, independence, and democracy that has stood the test of time for 43 years with this year continuing that legacy for constitution day 2022 under the theme “Lujaron” (being courageous during hard times).
As usual this event started with a parade in which 21 schools and 53 government and non-government organizations joined on Monday during the opening ceremony at Delap Park.
May Day Committee Chairman Waylon Muller, who was appointed at the last minute, was seen in action rallying the parade participants with Sports & Extracurricular Program Director Pranson Eliou with a megaphone booming to get everyone assembled to commence the parade.
Master of ceremony for the opening was Public School System Associate Commissioner for secondary schools Junior Paul.
“As Marshallese today, we are the ones who inherited this constitution, the highest law in our republic,” said President David Kabua. “We must sacrifice ourselves in order to defend democracy, good governance and human rights as well as uphold our proud traditional heritage, which the very core and fundamental pillars of our Republic.”
President Kabua addressed many issues and announced:
• The Cabinet has established a committee to study ways to help those who are vulnerable and are struggling financially.
• The need to strengthen its economy because many Marshallese are immigrating to the US because of hard life in the RMI.
• The urgency to bring education up to a high standard.
• The need to repair and build Majuro and Ebeye hospitals, and give more supply to the hospitals minimizing patients referral to outside countries.
The problems of climate change were a big part of the President’s speech. “Fifty-seven years from now, our children and grandchildren will be celebrating 100 years of our Constitution but where?” he asked. “How can our low-lying islands survive from the impacts of climate change? Can we elevate our islands by a few meters? Can we still survive as a Republic when our lands have been completely submerged?”
The need for action on these issues led the President to announce that the government plans to call a National Social, Economic and Climate Change Summit next year. He said he is hoping to get a turn out of 250 Marshallese participants.
President Kabua concluded his address by saying the best way to celebrate Constitution Day is to be true and diligent in work under the constitution and not violate it.
After his address, Emcee Paul read various letters of congratulations and recognition to President Kabua and the Marshallese people from leaders around the world including the US President Joe Biden, Governor-General of Australia David J. Hurley, Emperor of Japan Naruhito, Ambassador Jeffery Hsaio of the Republic of China Taiwan on behalf of President Tsai Ing-wen, among other countries.