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A large oil spill at Uliga has mucked up moored yatchts and a section of shoreline on the capital atoll of Majuro, in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Ben Chutaro reported that the foul spelling oil spill stretched from the Uliga dock to his property. He collected oil samples and contacted the Environmental Protection Agency (RMIEPA) on the morning of October 3. As of 5:45 p.m., no action at the scene had been taken.
"I was told by Ronny (EPA) that he had to deal with an earlier spill by Mobil's "Golden Micronesia" and said he noticed the oil spill around my area. He told me that he informed the other responsible authorities, Ports, T&C and others to activate the oil spill containment plan. He also told me that he waited at the dock, but no one showed up."
In a business meeting, the Senate Energy Committee today unanimously voice voted its approval of 53 legislative measures including S. 1756 -- To provide supplemental ex gratia compensation to the Republic of the Marshall Islands for impacts of the nuclear testing program of the United States.
During a conference at the University of Hawaii Manoa earlier this month, Hawai'i State Legislator J. Kalani English said that he has worked to serve as a strong advocate for the full recognition and implementation of the Compacts of Free Association. He was referring to the agreement between the U.S. and the three Freely Associated States -- the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau. Thousands of FAS citizens have migrated to Hawai'i under the Compact agreement.
The text of Senator's presentation at the Center for Pacific Island Studies' Conference, "Micronesian Voices in Hawai'i," follows:
The “Micronesian Voices in Hawai‘i” Conference drew several hundred education, health and social service providers to hear about ways they could help new migrants from the Freely Associated States. Micronesian leaders described the challenges faced by those who have moved to Hawaii from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.
Director David Hanlon, of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, said they have spent several years planning and working with Micronesian representatives for this event -- the first of its kind in Hawai'i.
The Moonlight Awa Radio Show returned to the Marshall Islands airwaves this month. The weekly program, featuring traditional acoustical Marshallese music, had been a popular weekly broadcast on public station V7AB since 2002, but had been canceled in 2006 by the Republic of the Marshall Islands' (RMI) supervising ministry.
In January of this year, Scott H. Stege, Coordinator of the sponsoring NGO, Majuro Music and Arts Society, went to see newly-appointed RMI Minister of Internal Affairs Norman Mathew, taking a letter explaining their desire to get back on public radio.
The radio show had been suspended for reasons which were never made clear, said Stege. They were optimistic that the "Moonlight Awa" program would again be welcome on public radio.
In the following letter, dated March 20, 2008, Guam-based Walter B. Dias, Continental Micronesia staff vice president of sales and marketing, responded to this website's coverage of last month's Flight 956 incident in Majuro, Marshall Islands:
- Dear Editor:
This letter is in response to articles posted in Yokwe regarding Continental Micronesia’s statements on Flight 956. Continental Micronesia takes this opportunity to reiterate the facts, which is supported by a March 5, 2008 independent report from the Republic of the Marshall Island’s Directorate of Civil Aviation.
For the past 40 years, we have made it our business to run a clean, reliable, and safe operation for ourselves, our families, and our customers. The departure of Flight 956 from Majuro to Honolulu on Monday evening, February 25, 2008 was no exception. The exception we take, however, is how the event was portrayed in The Marshall Islands Journal, which was posted in this forum.
On Monday evening, Continental flight 956 to Honolulu returned to Amata Kabua International Airport in Majuro, Marshall Islands, shortly after take-off. The Boeing 737-800 was on the last leg of its flight from Guam. Although there were reports by passengers, to local and online media, of explosive-type noises and flames, Continental officials say that there was no fire in either engine.
Continental's Guam-based Grace Garces told Yokwe Online that the aircraft was not damaged. "Our pilots, who are highly trained professionals, elected to return to Majuro after they experienced a momentary abnormality with the power of one engine termed a “compressor stall”. The second engine was not affected, nor was there any problem with the control of the aircraft."
Increased Services for Marshallese in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates Proposed
A public hearing on Tuesday, February 5, at the Hawaii State Capitol Building, is set to discuss proposed legislation extending social services to some Marshallese living on the Big Island. The Human Services and Public Housing Committee will hold the meeting at 1:15 p.m. in conference room 016.
According to Senate Bill 2873, Marshallese in the district of Ka'u are in dire need of help. Lack of adequate services and facilities keep them "economically, educationally, and socially stagnant."
On Monday, January 14, Litokwa Tomeing took the oath of office as the fourth President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, during the 29th Nitijela Constitutional Regular Session. Ten new Cabinet members were also sworn-in by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Carl Ingram.
In the inaugural address which followed, President Tomeing said the Nitijela (parliament) must move forward to lessen, as much as it can, the hardships that Marshallese face. He pledged that his government will do everything in its power to serve the people, whom he said are the nation's "most precious resource."
Two months after an election, marked with controversy and recounts, the Republic of the Marshall Islands parliament reconvened today and elected a new government and national leaders. The 33-member parliament members were sworn in Monday morning preceding nominations for Nitijela Speaker, Vice Speaker, and President.
Wotje Senator Litokwa Tomeing is the new RMI President. New Speaker is Majuro Senator Jurelang Zedkaia and Vice Speaker is Majuro Senator Alik Alik.
The latest Marshall Islands ballot recount saga ended Saturday Morning, Majuro time, just two days before the new senators-elect gather to form a new government. More ballots were "found" and there was a change of winners. Although Tom Kijiner was announced in December as leading by five votes, and had three times as many Likiep regular votes than the incumbent, he is down by six votes to incumbent Donald Capelle in today's recount. Maloelap's Michael Konelios, who was ahead by only one vote during the first count, gained 27 votes, while his challenger lost 3. The recounts and other post-activities are being questioned.
Majuro resident Ben Graham contributes part two of his informal review of the day's events, in the following update fresh from Majuro:
Forty-five days after Marshall Islands Election Day, recounts for the atolls of Likiep and Maloelap began. In the first unofficial counts, Likiep incumbent Donald Capelle had 314 and Tom Kijiner had 319. Maloelap incumbent Michael Konelios had 381 and Patrick Langmoir had 380. Chief Electoral Office Carl Alik did not give a reason why he denied requests for the other recounts -- for Mili, Namdrik, and Rongelap, although incumbent Mattlan Zackhras won Namdrik by only six votes.
Electoral Officers, some of whom are relatives of incumbents who ran in this election, are facing serious criticism for election and post-election decisions. Observers forecast troublesome times ahead. Local Marshallese consultant Ben Graham has been keeping tabs on post-election activities. On day two of the recounts, Graham took a look at the problems surrounding the ballot counts and continuing regularities. His informal observations follow:
There is a disconnect between reality and rhetoric in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Although social, environmental, and economic stresses have moved into crisis level, the eight-year incumbents continue to deny the need for change. "We're doing fine -- no need to 'diak' or change course."
Just last week, two-term President Kessai Note, and a potential third-term nominee, said, "This nation is on track to meet tomorrow’s challenges."
It's not the right track, according to unbiased observations and hundreds of well-documented reports which detail unsustainable fiscal status quo and declining social conditions.
And it seems, from November Election results, that many Marshallese agree, despite what they have been told by elected officials. Reality has hit home.
Three weeks after the National Election, the Republic of the Marshall Islands Electoral Office released its unofficial results in the Senator races. The announcement follows a controversial "recount" of absentee votes from the outer islands conducted last week.
Several opposition leads in races were over-turned to favor the incumbents of the United Democratic Party, which has been in power for eight years. The new leads, due to the absentee count last Thursday night, are being challenged by the Aelon Kein Ad (Our Islands) Party. Earlier tallies of regular votes from the various atolls and absentee counts, placed those AKA candidates ahead.
Republic of the Marshall Islands election officials completed counting of the postal votes yesterday, but only one-half were declared valid. According to a source in the nation's capital, 605 of the 1239 postal ballots were damaged due to late postmarks, taped or open envelopes, and questions about handwriting.
Consideration of challenge votes began after midnight Thursday morning, and was delayed even further when two extra ballots appeared without name or atoll.
The post-election confusion continues in the capital atoll of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). Citizens went to the polls on November 19, but now the RMI Electoral Office's handling of vote tabulation problems is being questioned.
Missing tabulations from three voting boxes were not included in the initial Majuro mumbers released last week and will have to be recounted. Majuro election observers are calling the missing numbers a "mystery" as figures were read publicly during the initial counts at the International Convention Center.
The Electoral Board on Majuro finished tabulation of the national ballots Saturday night - five days after citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands went to the polls.
Although all ballots from Majuro, Kwajalein, and outer islands have been counted, as of Monday, November 26, Majuro time, the RMI Electoral Office has yet to release any official word on preliminary counts. Some incomplete, unofficial counts have been distributed via press and community contacts.
Overseas Marshallese, planning to vote by postal ballots, were the first casualties in this year's national election upset in the Repoublic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).
While voters, on the Marshall Islands' capital atoll of Majuro, faced rain, late opening polls, and long lines at the polls last week, some registered voters, residing in communities throughout the U.S and territories, never got to vote. Their postal ballots arrived after Election Day on November 19.
Kwajalein votes in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) 2007 National Election are tallied and ballot boxes are sealed. The Kwajalein tabulation team on Ebeye completed the job in a record three days.
Tabulation began early in the morning of November 20, just six hours after the polls closed on Ebeye. By November 22, all of the ballots had been counted.
While Majuro faces vote-counting blues after a rainy, problem-filled Republic of the Marshall Islands' (RMI) National Election Day, it's a different story on Ebeye. "We have sunshine all the way," said one local Marshallese observer.
An uneventful day at Kwajalein polls on Monday, with ballots cast for senate, mayor and council races during the legal 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. poll hours, set the pace for post-election activities. Despite the logistics and distance from the RMI's main electoral office over two-hundred miles to the south, local electoral board members, led by Patrick Bing and deputy Telmon Kabua, set up multi-station voting to speed-up the process.
Veterans Day in the United States is celebrated on November 11 in honor of those who have served in the armed forces. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, there are over 25 million veterans. Under the agreement of the Compact of Free Association between the U.S. and the Marshall Islands, Marshallese men and women, are eligible to serve in any of the U.S. Armed Forces. We honor our Marshallese service men and women today, and everyday, as well as all who are serving and have served in freedom's cause.
The following report from Fred Pedro of independent Marshall Islands' radio station V7emon confirms word out of Majuro about the Nitijela (parliament) Speaker's change in party position. The Speaker will be making another speech tonite at Heran Bellu's rally and tomorrow at a meeting of all Ralik candidates in Majuro, according to Tony deBrum, long-time legislator and candidate for the Kwajalein seat.
Speaker Litokwa Tomeing dropped a bomb on the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) on Saturday by calling for a change in government and calling the eight years of UDP rule “a dismal failure.” At a morning rally at the Robert Reimers Enterprises Compound in Majuro, Speaker Tomeing announced he was formally calling for a replacement of the current leadership.
Republic of the Marshall Islands citizens are rejoicing at the change from international mail status back to domestic as of November 19. "I join the many Marshallese who welcome the return of US Postal Services," said Tony deBrum, Kwajalein representative.
"We thank all who had a hand in the recovery of this essential component of the Compact of Free Association carelessly lost in the negotiations of Compact 2."