MARSHALL ISLANDS GOVERNMENT MUST ACT

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EDITORIAL

Marshall Islands Journal Majuro, Marshall Islands

March 15, 2002

SOON TO BRING ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY

Two unfortunate developments in the current administration’s policies are its a) general slowness to act and b) its apparent inability to build in follow-up action and implementation of recommendations of the commissions that it has mandated to review various governmental functions.

Numerous examples of the first point abound, but we’ll just cite one; it took more than two years for the administration to appoint an ambassador to the Republic of China, arguably its most important ally after the United States.

On the second point, the Cabinet commissioned a Task Force on Accountability to review the Ministry of Finance and other government-related activities to find problems and develop solutions for improving accountability. It also commissioned an independent review of Tobolar Copra Processing Authority’s management and operations.

But for the most part, the recommendations produced by these panels might as well have been filed in the wastebasket. Only a very small number of the recommendations have been acted upon.

While the government might choose not to implement all of the recommendation from any given report, the question is what’s the point in conducting the reviews if the government isn’t going to take action on rectifying the problems that are identified?

Transparency and accountability are important goals for a government to achieve. But these goals need to be built in --"institutionalized" -- within government ministries and agencies. One of the first steps in the process is to begin fixing problem areas where lack of accountability is present. The Task Force identified many of these areas.

Will they be seriously addressed by the government? It’s a question only the government can answer.

And the answer will be the test of the government’s commitment to implementing the institutional changes necessary to bring about long-term accountability for the RMI government.

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

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