PASSPORT SCAMS

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EDITORIALS

Marshall Islands Journal Majuro, Marshall Islands

Long term planning may not be the strong suit of the Marshall Islands government, but the continuing negative publicity generated by former RMI passport sales suggests why this is a dangerous way to operate.

It’s been almost six years, at least in theory, since RMI passports were officially sold. Yet U.S. agencies continue to investigate individuals connected with the sales program; one of the targets of a joint U.S. Internal Revenue Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service probe landed in jail this week for a 33-month term. The more than 1,400 legally sold passports, and the countless others illegally retailed, continue to cause problems with the U.S., primarily because many users have attempted -- illegally -- to enter the U.S. with these purchased passports.

Let’s hope that we’ve learned enough from this unfortunate episode so that it -- or something similar -- won’t be repeated in the future.

 

RMI CATHOLIC SCHOOLS GOT IT RIGHT

The Catholic School system in Majuro has taken a step out of the ordinary, one that didn’t come easily or without plenty of debate. The decision to consolidate the elementary and high school programs into one school, thereby eliminating 8th grade graduations – breaks with a long-held tradition (at least since the 1950s) of graduations in the Marshall Islands.

The decision, made largely for academic reasons, is one that should be welcomed by parents. Families nowadays face a huge financial burden from graduation ceremonies. The fact that the average family here has at least six children means that in any given school year, a single family may have two or three children graduating from different school programs – all in the same two-week period. Graduation gowns and caps, shoes, clothes to be worn under the gowns, and uniforms for the party afterward, to say nothing of all the food that must be contributed: it all adds up to big money. In these economic times, this can represent a huge burden on families struggling financially.

For many reasons, but especially financial, Assumption’s decision is to be applauded.

June 21, 2002

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