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I spoke with the PSC Chairman and his IT specialist, Edward O'brien, the week before Pettitt's "Virtual Town Hall" topic was posted. Both were very positive about the idea of placing PSC's job announcements on Yokwe.net.
>>>Click HERE to read entire response from Mr. Stege>>>
Ambassador Capelle, the Chairman of the Marshall Islands Delegation to the Fifty-seventh General Assembly of the United Nations was the last nation representative to address the General Debate before the Assembly adjourned. As a fitting gesture, Ambassador Capelle concluded his statement with a prayer for world leader's as they make decisions for "peace and well being of all peoples."
The transcript of the Speech follows>>>
RMI Embassy Congressional Staff Briefing on 177 Health Care Program (HCP), United States Capitol, Washington, D.C., September 13, 2002
I am honored to be here today to represent the Marshall Islands Embassy. The Ambassador is in the Marshall Islands and sends his regrets. I would also like to say thank you to Senator Akaka and his staff for sponsoring this important briefing, the United Church of Christ for inviting the Embassy to join in this event, and, most particularly, the survivors for sharing their time and their stories with us.
The RMI is currently engaged in renegotiation of certain expiring economic provisions of our Compact of Free Association with the United States. The focus here today, however, is on the survivors and Section 177 of the Compact dealing with the legacy of the U.S nuclear testing program in the Marshall Islands.
4th Round RMI-US Compact Negotiations, Honolulu, Hawaii, August 28-29, 2002
On behalf of the RMI delegation, I would like to first express my gratitude to the United States, and specifically to you, Chief Negotiator Short, for hosting this important and timely 4th round of Compact negotiations. I would also like to thank you and the U.S. team for the extensive, and sometimes, intense technical talks that have taken place in Washington D.C.
While I firmly believe we have made gradual, yet significant progress, I would like to use my opening statement as an indication of my government’s present positions. I believe that with our stated positions, we will be able to make additional progress and put some of the major pieces in place for our Compact agreement. We note your sense of urgency. However, while we note the urgency of completing an agreement, we will not rush into an agreement that we may regret at a later date.
By Charles Paul and Ben Graham
The RMI recognizes education as one of its pillars of national development and has made access to basic educational services a fundamental right of all its citizens. The RMI Constitution, in the Bill of Rights (Article II, Section 15), states: The Government of the Marshall Islands recognizes the right of the people to health care, education, and legal services and the obligation to take every step reasonable and necessary to provide these services. As such, education is compulsory for children aged six to 14 (the elementary school age), meaning that every child must attend school at least until he or she completes the eighth grade.
However, over the past several decades, a disturbing trend has emerged: an increasing percentage of school age children are not attending school. This essay analyzes school attendance on Ebeye, the RMI’s second most populated island, using census data collected since the late 1960s.
Download the Essays, Part I and II, to view all charts and graphs
Marshall Islands negotiators just returned from Washington, D.C. from a week of technical talks with the United States aimed at reaching agreement on grants and trust fund support for the next 20 years. The Marshall Islands team is pressing to meet a September deadline for submitting a new long-term budget to the U.S. Congress for review and approval. A final round of talks is scheduled for next month in Majuro.
Photos of the meeting, provided by Jack Niedenthal, are now available in our Yokwe Online Photogallery.
Click HERE to view new album.
Marshall Islands negotiators are in Washington, D.C. to begin a week of hard negotiations with the United States aimed at reaching agreement on how much money America will give the Marshall Islands in grants and trust fund support for the next 20 years.The Marshall Islands team is pressing to meet a September deadline for submitting a new long-term budget to the U.S. Congress for review and approval, as current guaranteed funding from the U.S. expires next year.A formal round of talks in Honolulu is set to follow quickly on the heels of these Washington technical talks and is now scheduled for Aug. 28 and 29.
Marshall Islands President Kessai Note took the gloves off in a speech to the Nitijela, the Marshall Islands legislature, slamming American officials. “Many of the current U.S. proposals seem to be aimed at ending the special relationship that was created after years of negotiation, by the Compact,” he said. Any unilateral amendment of Compact immigration provisions will dismantle the foundation of the entire Compact, Note said. “Without the existing immigration benefits, we may as well remove the world 'free’ from the Compact,” he said.
Marshall Islands negotiators fly to Washington D.C. this weekend to discuss the future of the compact deal between the nation and the United States.The major sticking points remain the level of funding the Marshalls should receive from the US for the next 20 years, and the Free Association pact between the countries.
The Marshall Islands -- and by extension, the United States -- has a problem. It’s pretty clear that the grant funding being offered (and requested by the RMI) is seriously inadequate. The U.S., instead of recognizing legitimate needs, is playing financial hardball with an ally that is doing everything possible to play ball with the U.S. Aside from the bad will that the U.S. funding plan is going to engender, it’s going to cause immediate and long term political and financial instability in the Marshall Islands, not to mention massive spin-off out-migration.
In the Marshall Islands, there is much active live reef fishing. There is only one way that live reef fishing for food (as opposed to the aquarium ornamental market) can be done in a sustainable manner: with extremely aggressive oversight and management by RMI fisheries/government officials.
Local Marshallese businesses have been taking a beating since the late 1990s as a result of the heavy influx of Asians who have opened businesses. And the feeling of a number of local business people is that the recent imports are soon to drown out the Marshallese businesses.
By Ben Graham and Charles Paul, OIA/Census
In more recent times, we’ve seen a surge in the formation of Marshallese women’s groups and more women are taking up key government positions. Women increasingly influence politics and development.But are these recent events indicative of an underlying improvement in the economic status of women? Are women in the RMI really improving their stations in life, relative to men? More specifically, are they becoming more educated, taking up more jobs and earning better wages? These are some of key questions we must ask in order to truly assess where women stand in the RMI today -- questions that can be objectively answered by looking at statistics and studying historical trends.
The entire essay follows.
Download the Essay to view all charts and graphs.
A United States effort to rewrite the entire Compact of Free Association with the Marshall Islands — not just the expiring financial assistance provisions — is looming as a roadblock to finishing Compact negotiations before a crucial U.S. Congressional deadline of September, say Marshall Islands Compact negotiators. In addition, Robert Muller, the executive director for Compact negotiations for the Marshall Islands, says that the U.S. government’s opening up of many non-expiring sections of the Compact may also "prove to be counter-productive in the U.S. congressional approval process" because if the changes are not limited to the economic provisions, Compact approval will need to involve many congressional committees, not just the one main oversight committee in each house.
A U.S. congressional delegation was in the Marshall Islands last week for a four-day visit here and the Kwajalein missile testing range.California Rep. Diane Watson and American Samoa Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, both Democrats, headed the group that also included several congressional staff from the Committee on International Relations. U.S. Ambassador Michael Senko said on Wednesday that the two Congress members would be valuable allies for the Marshall Islands as it attempts to gain congressional approval of the new funding package.
An analysis of the adults (25 years of age and older) covered by the 1980 census, the 1998 survey and the 2002 HIES reveals, firstly, that those with higher levels of education enjoyed higher rates of employment. Adults who had never attended school had the lowest rates of employment across the board. In other words, adults with the lower levels of educational attainment had higher rates of unemployment.
The entire essay follows.
In Majuro, the RMI flag was flown at half-mast during the past week of mourning for Oscar deBrum, long-time public official. Read more about Mr. deBrum and view the photo-story.
In his testimony before the Committee, Minister Zackios focused on the significant progress that both the RMI and US have made in negotiations on the Title II economic provisions of the Compact. Touching specifically on the base grant, intergenerational trust fund, and improved fiscal accountability and management procedures, Zackios relayed his confidence that the Congress would receive a final agreement that will not only maintain the economic stability of the Marshall Islands, but simultaneously allow for improved financial management and monitoring systems in the RMI.
Mr Note's support base is not on Kwajalein or the nuclear-affected atolls, but on the islands to the south and east of the group. Whether his government can survive in elections due in November 2003 may depend on the success of his present negotiations with the Americans on the renewal of their lease of the Kwajalein base for another 15 years.
A trust fund set up to compensate the victims of nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands has suffered heavy losses on Wall Street this week.Bikini Atoll's resettlement fund - provided by the US Congress to help with nuclear test rehabilitation - has lost 29 per cent of its peak value two years ago.In March 2000, the fund held $US140 million, but that has now been reduced to $92 million dollars.
Asian Development Bank and Marshall Islands officials moved closer to approving a loan worth approximately US$ 10 million for outer islands infrastructure development with the signing of an agreement for the package this week in Majuro.
The Project will alleviate poverty in the outer islands by directly increasing incomes as a result of more frequent and more reliable shipping services...increased opportunities the more reliable shipping services will provide to sell produce and handicrafts in the main centers of Majuro and Ebeye.
Read the entire Current Event Post from this afternoon, July 23.
Also see Marshalls' Man for All Seasons, a special Yokwe Online Cover-Photo Tribute.