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Friday, April 3, 2009
This Week's
Inside Stories
Fuel group
drops prices
Local gas stations late last week in Majuro reduced their prices at the pump even though Mobil did not drop its price to the stations. Some of the stations were as high as $5.09 per gallon, following a Mobil hike early last month. But all dropped to $5 or below. SEPS in Rita now has the lowest price at $4.99 a gallon. Riwut, RRE and Ace’s One Stop are all at $5 per gallon, which is unusual as Ace’s is normally a few cents higher than other stations.
Rejected postal votes opened by the court
Sixteen months after the 2007 national election, a court battle over rejected postal ballots is heating up in the High Court.
Last week, under order by High Court Chief Justice Carl Ingram, Attorney General Tion Nabau and private attorney David Strauss opened ballot boxes containing 136 rejected postal votes from the November 2007 vote. Strauss is representing 13 Marshallese voters residing in the US mainland who challenged Chief Electoral Officer Carl Alik’s decision not to count their and other ballots postmarked November 19, 2007 from the US. Alik made the decision that the “date of the election” referred to Marshall Islands date, and so all postal ballots mailed from the US had to be dated on or before November 18. The inspection of the covering reply envelopes also involved opening some of the outer envelopes (but not the inside envelope containing the individual ballots) to determine if any of the 13 people contesting Alik’s decision had their ballots among these 136 ballots.
Majuro to get
Uliga Dock market
Japan will spend $8.2 million to build a new fish market in Majuro and provide transport vessels to generate commercial fishing opportunities on four outer islands, according to agreements signed Friday. Marshall Islands President Litokwa Tomeing, Japan Embassy Charge d’Affaires Kazuyuki Ohdaira, Resources and Development Minister Fredrick Muller and Fiji-based head of Japan International Cooperation Agency’s Pacific region office Juichiro Sasaki signed agreements for the large fisheries project.
Local flick goes international
“Na Noniep” is going international. That’s the word from film producer Jack Niedenthal, who provided the Journal on Tuesday with an email from the International Youth Film Festival in England accepting the film for showing later this year. But Noniep’s reach will be global, not limited to the UK, as the International Youth Film Festival is one of eight film festivals around the world — and the Noniep will be featured at each one, starting this month in Egypt at the El Sawy International Film Festival April 5-10.
RMI on hold
Political observers have been asking “who’s in?” “who’s out?” and “what’s the latest?” so many times the past five weeks but the lack of answers has left everyone — including the Nitijela — in a state of limbo.
A surprisingly unsurprising cancellation of an announced session of Nitijela last Thursday continued the malaise and inability to focus by this august body. This cancellation was followed by two significant developments in the tit-for-tat that has been ongoing since Kwajalein Senator Tony deBrum attacked the President and his administration during a public address at the Nitijela in early February:
• On Friday afternoon, seven government party senators led by Mike Kabua and Tony deBrum submitted a motion of no confidence in the Cabinet.
• Earlier this week, after weeks of speculation, President Litokwa Tomeing named opposition party member John Silk as his new foreign minister, replacing deBrum, who was sacked in late February. This appointment indicates the shift in coalition government alignment that is now in progress, with the opposition party, following numerous meetings with the President over the past two weeks, throwing its support behind Tomeing.
Last Thursday’s session had been announced through numerous “kojelas” on V7AB, but was cancelled at the last minute, the need to hold additional public hearings on Kwajalein by the Ways and Means Committee cited as a cause for the delay. The committee went to Kwajalein and returned Monday night. But no announcements as of Wednesday this week were forthcoming from Nitijela Speaker Jurelang Zedkaia about a meeting date for Nitijela. On Wednesday, Vice Speaker Alik Alik (pictured) told the Journal that the Speaker had informed him President Tomeing had requested a delay because he was traveling to Hawaii and Fiji from Wednesday this week. But later Wednesday, Foreign Affairs officials confirmed the President had informed them he cancelled this extended trip and is staying on island. Meanwhile, in response to receiving notice from the President about Silk’s appointment, Zedkaia asked both his Legislative Counsel Divine Waiti and Acting Attorney General Tion Nabau for legal opinions on what he needed to do regarding the President’s nomination. The LC’s
opinion issued Tuesday said the Constitution is unequivocal and the Speaker must approve any ministerial nomination by the President. “The constitution is clear,” Alik said. The Speaker’s “signing is a formality.” The Constitution article five, section six says of the procedure after the President has nominated a minister: “The Speaker shall, by instrument signed by him, appoint as a Minister any member so nominated.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the President’s Office confirmed that the Speaker had issued the Constitutionally-required confirmation of Silk as Minister.
In a second legal opinion, Waiti informed the Speaker that the Nitijela needs to reconvene as quickly as possible to act on the motion of no confidence. Until the motion is resolved, no other business of Nitijela can be transacted, the LC advised.
'We have the numbers'
“We have the numbers,” Senator Tony deBrum told the Journal Wednesday about the motion of no confidence he and six other senators filed last Friday. The motion was “pre-filed” with Nitijela staff after 4pm Friday and is signed by seven senators: Kwajalein Senators deBrum, Mike Kabua and Jeban Riklon, and Senators David Kabua (Wotho), Jerry Bejang (Lib), Kaiboke Kabua (Namu) and Rellong Lemari (Lae), according to Nitijela officials. The pre-filed motion is waiting for a meeting of the Nitijela to be officially introduced. Once it is officially introduced, the Constitution’s five-to-10-day “clock” for a no confidence vote begins ticking, according to Nitijela officials. “The moment Nitijela comes back to session, we will put the motion on the agenda,” deBrum said. “We definitely have the numbers (for the motion to pass).” He indicated that a replacement candidate for President had not yet been named, and he added until he has further meetings with the “caucus” (the government party) it was difficult for him to provide more information.
Roger Nye (playing the bassoon), Caroline Park, and their children Ysabelle and Zeke.
Photo: Douglas Henry

Journal 4/4/1970

Journal 4/1/1974

P1 The shipping committee of the Congress of Micronesia arrived in Majuro Wednesday to begin a tour of all major shipping points in Micronesia. The present investigation of shipping operations is the result of a series of complaints by Micronesian seamen who for years have grumbled about unfair treatment on inter-district ships. Also, the original award of the contract to because it felt it had no say in the original
P1 It happened. It really happened on Kwajalein. The Marshall Islands had its first streakers. On March 20, two American males clothed in only tennis shoes and stocking masks streaked thru the Yokwe Yuk Club. The streakers entered the front door of the club at approximately 8:30pm and ran past the waiting room thru the bar and out the back door leaving the customers
shipping agreement and acted merely as rubber stamps.
P2 The Marshall Islands is experiencing one of the most severe droughts in recent years. During the first three months of an average year, Majuro receives 27.25 inches of rain. But so far, we have received only 7.75 inches. At the high school, rainwater has been gone since February. A more serious situation exists at the hospital, where shortage of water has limited the amount of surgery.
P2 Assistant District Administrator Oscar deBrum will be traveling to Washington on April 11 on a Leaders Grant from the Trust Territory government. According to deBrum, this will be the first time he has ever been on the mainland.
P3 District Political Affairs Officer Wilfred Kendall has accepted the post of Assistant Chief of Political Affairs, Saipan.
P5 Editorial The nicest and the worst thing about the way children are raised in the Marshalls is that the child is left to decide for himself what he wants to do without any careful input on the part of the parents. “Nice” because it is very easy for parents to ignore any responsibility they might have and let a child do as it pleases.
flabbergasted. Once outside the streakers continued thru the theater, again leaving the packed house in confusion. The two Kentron employees pulled the streak on a bet, each winning $500 for the one-minute streak. For the record: First streak on world’s largest lagoon.
P12 Following closely on the heels of an announcement that the Marshall Islands intended to cut itself off from the rest of the Trust Territory, Marshall Islands District Administrator Oscar deBrum signed into law the first piece of legislation to come out of the present session of the Nitijela. The legislation, appropriately, dealt indirectly with the question of the Marshalls’ announced intention to set a course independent of the other five districts. It was an amendment to a bill setting up a Marshall Islands Political Status Commission. The amendment, as signed by the Distad, limits the membership of the Commission from 18 to eight members. Ostensibly the cutback in the number of commission members is based on purely economic reasons. As now authorized, the commission will consist of two members appointed by the Distad, two by the Congress of Micronesia from the present membership of the Marshalls delegation to the COM, and four appointed by the speaker of the Nitijela.

Journal 4/3/1992

P1 For once, Ebeye is ahead of Majuro. National Telecommunications Authority General Manager Al Fowler said that Ebeye’s new phone system would be installed in August. The Majuro work should be completed by February 1993, but it could be earlier. “Ebeye is one up on us for a change,” Fowler said.
P4 Around Town No sooner than the American group announced that, at last, they had really found Amelia Earhart’s plane, someone surfaced saying he could prove conclusively that it was not her plane. Anyone familiar with the 55-year-old search knows that it is the nearest thing to a search for the Holy Grail. Anyway, Richard Gillespie announced two weeks ago (and we reported) that they had solved the mystery of Earhart’s last flight by finding a shoe that belonged her, and a piece of the plane. The words were barely out of his mouth before up popped retired Lockheed Aircraft assistant foreman Edward Werner, saying that he helped to build Earhart’s Lockheed 10-E and that the piece Gillespie found could not have come from Earhart’s plane. Werner said he compared the dimensions and shape of the piece of aluminum with a duplicate of Earhart’s plane at the Western Aerospace Museum in Oakland. He said it didn’t fit anywhere on the plane. So much for that theory.