TRUST FUNDS: Marshall Islands stock market investments — already suffering significant losses in 2008 — lost millions of dollars more this week in the wake of the Wall Street plunge Monday.Marshall Islands Social Security Administration lost $2.1 million in September, most of it from Monday’s drop, reducing from $49.3 million on August 31 to $47.2 million as of September 16.
Two trust funds for the displaced Bikini Islanders were down 11.3 and 9.4 percent for 2008 through Tuesday this week, and Rongelap trust funds were down 6.8 percent through June 30, with the latest damage from Monday’s stock market plunge not yet available.The Marshall Islands government’s trust fund A Account was down seven percent for 2008 through the end of August, dropping from $88.5 million to $82.4 million — before Monday’s additional losses. The D Account, which is funded largely by Taiwan money, rose from $3.4 million to $4.7 million from January to August, which relates to infusion of funding by Taiwan rather than performance of the fund. Rongelap’s two trust funds were down to $53.8 million at June 30, from $59.7 million a year ago, though that includes drawdowns that Rongelap uses for operations and quarterly payments to islanders displaced by nuclear testing. This figures does not include substantial losses incurred this week. Bikini’s Resettlement Trust was $96 million on January 1. But as of Tuesday it was down to $80.7 million, while its Claims Trust Fund was $68 million at the start of the year and is now down to $57 million. Like Rongelap, Bikini also uses money from these investments for its ongoing operations, so the reduction is not all losses.
DELEGATION: H.E. President Litokwa Tomeing met with a delegation from Republic of China, Taiwan today in the Cabinet conference room.The delegation, consisting of Senator Kung, Senator Liao and Senator Chien of the Legislative Yuan of Taiwan, is a representative of Taiwan’s Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) whose goals are to promote the well being Taiwan’s indigenous peoples and to interact with relative Austronesian countries in the Pacific. President Tomeing welcomed the delegation stating “the RMI recognizes the visit as one made by members of our Austronesian clan.” “Over the years, the Marshallese people and their government have taken an active participation in various activities aimed at strengthening the familial relationship as members of the Austronesian family,” President Tomeing said. The President added that “Our belief is based upon the realization that although our respective way of life may be different, however, our traditional values are the mainstay of our special kinship or more eloquently put, we are united in diversity.” The CIP delegation met with the Council of Iroij Chairman Iroij Kotak Loeak following their courtesy visit the President and Cabinet.
Senate Bill 1756: The following reports of committees were submitted: By Mr. BINGAMAN, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, with an amendment in the nature of a substitute: S. 1756. A bill to provide supplemental ex gratia compensation to the Republic of the Marshall Islands for impacts of the nuclear testing program of the United States, and for other purposes. STATUS: 9/16/2008 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 976.