P11 Mineo promoted at BOG The Bank of Guam promoted Mineo Mista to the position of assistant Vice President in charge of operations. Mineo is the first Marshallese to attain a vice presidency with the bank.
P1 Gamblers get royal flush After days of strong debate in the Nitijela and political arm twisting by anti-gambling forces in the community, the Nitijela voted resoundingly Tuesday to repeal the gambling law. In a vote that surprised many by its strength of opposition, 18 voted for Bill 113 to repeal gambling, while the pro-gambling faction was able to muster just seven votes against.
P5 Hospital fees to help offset costs Hospital fees for everything from outpatient clinics to deliveries are going up. The Cabinet recently approved the increases in an effort to help Majuro and Ebeye hospitals recover some of their losses. The current $2 outpatient clinic and dental fees will jump to $5. In patient fees will rise from nothing to $5 per night, while emergency room visits will go from $2 to $10.
P6 Ya Ma To Place used to be called Lai Lai Itok (“come” in Chinese and Marshallese, respectively) has had a name change. Located down by Uliga Dock, the facility does a brisk business with visiting fishing crews and captains. Now since it just so happens there is to be a big jump in expected Japanese boats in the area, the Chinese designation has to be changed to Japanese. Smart marketing! But not only Ya Ma To is focusing on the anticipated Japanization of the local fishing stores replenishing activity. We hear that Kidenen Island, which runs kayaks, is also changing names to draw potential Japanese visitors. The new name of the island is touted to be “Fujiyama Mama” and they plan to feature sake, shoyu bao, and Kirin beer for the visiting fishermen. We get our visitors from wherever we can and have to hand it to the local entrepreneurs for adapting to the ever changing mix of Majuro’s visitor profile.
P8 Loch NESS monster seen in Majuro Last January throngs of people came from far and wide. The air was electric. “Nessy” had never been to these waters and the people were so excited. Then it happened. Everything came to a halt as people gathered and listened. Nessy came. Those who couldn’t see it were listening intently on the radio. And then, with great fanfare, Nessy left. For most, it was like the second coming of Christ. But now, many are starting to feel it was a well-orchestrated charade. Nessy, of course, was the NESS, the “first” National Economic and Social Summit. It was attended by politicians, educators, businessmen, you name it. Anyone on any island who laid claim to expertise was whisked away for a week in Majuro, compliments of the United Nations Development Program. The representatives were divided into workgroups and asked to tackle this country’s most challenging problems. They hunkered down and worked hard. They took their job seriously. They were imbued with the trust that this government was giving them the power to tell this country what it needed and maybe even help define this country’s vision. It was believed that action would follow. By the end of the week, the best of their wisdom was put in black and white and the unofficial theme of the grassroots coalition became “the people have spoken.” A communique was presented to NESS chair Finance Minister Ruben Zackhras, the mandate was now in someone else’s hand and it was time for action. The attendees returned to their islands, returned to their routines. Waiting for feedback has been like waiting for an important letter. Early on, you eagerly check the post box every day but when nothing shows, after a while, the anticipation fades and eventually you forget about it. And so it has been with NESS. No one expected the bulldozers to start razing the hospital, but there was a bundle of low-cost and even no-cost recommendations. What happened?
P13 RMI reform off track The government’s public sector reform program is not going according to plan, according to a joint Asian Development Bank/RMI government report. A myriad of unmet deadlines and cutback targets, delayed hiring of consultants, and miscommunication have slowed implementation. While government personnel have been reduced, the measures for improving the employees productivity have yet to be taken up.
P3 Kramer to Chuuk Pacific International Inc. has been given the green light by the Federated States of Micronesia to launch a $27.5 million sewer and road-paving project in Weno, Chuuk. PII CEO Jerry Kramer left to Chuuk Thursday for the groundbreaking ceremony.