July 25, 2014
News Update
Rongelap Sen. Kenneth Kedi takes over as APIL President
Rongelap Senator Kenneth Kedi has been elected the new President for the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures (APIL). Kedi takes over from Guam Speaker Judith Won Pat. According to a release from the organization the a total of
16 resolutions passed at the recently concluded general assembly of APIL on Majuro which focused on the theme of Regional Transportation and Communications.
Read more about this in the August 1, 2014
edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.

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$1 million returned to sender
The Marshall Islands government did not spend over $1 million in US Compact funding the past two fiscal years. The money — $1,077,324.28 — is soon to be returned by the Ministry of Finance to the US Interior Department, with requests for it to be approved for use in the upcoming fiscal year 2015 budget. Finance officials said they are working closely with the Interior Department to ensure the money is quickly returned for use by the RMI, while the Education Minister said the unspent funding at her ministry in FY2012 and 2013 was significantly lower than the year before she came into office.

The Ministry of Health did not spent $182,051.71 in FY2012. The amount of unspent Compact funding nearly doubled last year to $355,441.64 for a two year total of unspent funds at Health of $537,493.35.

The Ministry of Education, meanwhile, had a relatively low unspent total in FY2012 of $44,350.43. But this amount ballooned last year to $442,004.57, giving Education a two-year unspent Compact total of $486,355.

RMI EPA did not spend $49,571.10 in Kwajalein environment funds over the two-year period.

“At the end of a fiscal year, Ministry of Finance through its financial management information system, would determine the unspent portion of Compact sector grants and inform the US side on it,” said Finance Secretary Alfred Alfred, Jr. “If both sides agree on the figures, then RMI will write a check to the US Treasury in the amount that was not spent for that fiscal year. Upon receipt of the unspent funds, the US will write a check to RMI for the same amount. This process has always been instantaneous.” Alfred said RMI will issue a check to US government for the unspent amount “once we are confident that it will instantaneously be made available for RMI use.” Otherwise, returning the funds to the US could “have negative impact on the already tight cash flow position of the government.”
Eyewitnesses in the Jenrok area last Friday reported to the Journal that they saw what appeared to be Asian women, men and children being delivered to the island by what they claim was a tender from one of the purse seiners anchored in Majuro’s lagoon. Journal Jilly of the Kumit Bobrae Coalition called the newspaper Friday
11 land at Jenrok beach
to report the incident relayed to him by residents in Jenrok area who observed a purse seiner tender come ashore next to the Majuro Water and Sewer Company’s Jenrok pump house. The tender quickly proceeded to drop off four men, four women and three children, all apparently Asian, along with boxes. The witnesses said they were drinking under the pandanus tree next to the MWSC pump house when the tender arrived ashore at around 3am. “We didn’t hear the boat coming ashore, they must have shut the engine off and paddled in,” one witness said. “We saw women, men and children carrying boxes as they came off the tender. Next, they were picked up by a taxi that drove off with the 11 individuals off towards downtown.”

Both Immigration and the National Police were contacted by the Journal for comment on the incident. Surprisingly, Immigration authorities had no information regarding the incident but National Police Criminal Investigation Division Captain Vincent Tani said his department received a report but the case has gone cold with no leads as to the whereabouts of the suspected illegal aliens.

Acting Director of Immigration Tanga Lanwi told the Journal her office had not been made aware of the recent incident. She said she has heard of human trafficking incidents such as this, however it is always after the fact and they have never been able to find these people once they are smuggled into the country. She confirmed that all persons arriving on fishing vessels are issued shore passes and that purse seiner tenders are only authorized to come ashore at either Uliga or Delap docks.