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Marshall Islands Journal Majuro, Marshall Islands

July 13, 2001


The RMI government has a number of problems facing it, problems that will only get worse with age. And, unless the government picks up the pace of its work, it will lose the popular support that sent it into office to carry out its reforms. For example:

*Majuro hospital is facing numerous difficulties that have not been attended to for months, including serious deficiencies in its laboratory and x-ray diagnostic abilities, which are due largely to little money being put into these areas – while a waterfall of money is being showered on off-island referrals. The change of ministers should improve things, but much needs to be done, and done quickly, to get service up to standard at the one agency that services a large segment of our community on a daily basis.

*It is now 15 months post-establishment of the Task Force on Accountability, and though several reports have been produced and given to the Cabinet, none has been released. This is not a good example of "transparency" in government. Moreover, how can the Ministry of Finance carry out necessary reforms, many of them contained as recommendations in the Task Force report, if the report isn’t released? Or is the government going to ignore the report of our local panel and accept whatever the Asian Development Bank experts tell the government needs to be done at Finance?

*A case in point revolves around Bank of New York. One of the recommendations of the Task Force is for the RMI to dismiss the Bank of New York as its Compact fund trustee – in light of the numerous ongoing problems that the government is having with the Bank of New York. Again, is this important action going to happen if the report remains shrouded in secrecy?

*Another case in point is while some individuals are being prosecuted for not paying taxes, what has happened to the numerous government personnel involved in the tax and payroll scam that was exposed by the Task Force and Finance officials earlier this year? Is that going to be shoved under the mat because it implicates some high-ranking officials?

The RMI government is moving in the right direction in many areas, but it is quite apparent that it needs to pick up the pace of its action.

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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