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Marshall Islands Journal Majuro, Marshall Islands

April 19, 2001

Early last year, the Journal published a story about then new President Kessai Note suggesting that government workers simply show up to their offices on time and, uh, work. To emphasize the story, we titled it "Kessai’s radical action plan: Show up, do your job." The work ethic had bottomed out to such a degree that it almost did seem like a radical idea to ask people to come to work on time and to work eight hours a day.

Sadly, almost no one in this country would expect to find any government employee in their office at 8:00 a.m. Nine-nine percent are still drinking coffee or dropping kids off at school at that hour. Eight in the morning? Heck, try 9:00 a.m. Only eternal optimists would even considering trying to schedule a meeting in a government office before 10:00 in the morning. The government’s standard time-wasting policy for meetings is 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Start late and end early.

For all the talk about sustainable development, next week’s National Economic and Social Summit and the like, the issue of real development boils down to the simple fact that real progress -- in health, education, business or the grandiose idea of nation building -- requires hard work, innovation and a willingness to risk deviating from the status quo. Until and unless the majority of people in this country decide they want to get their shoulders behind the RMI’s national outrigger canoe and push together to launch it on its development voyage, all the studies and workshops in the world won’t advance the RMI toward a more sustainable way of life.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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