Delegation from Bikini Atoll Meets with U.S. Senator Boozman, Interior
July 19, 2011: A delegation of Bikinians led by Mayor Alson Kelen and Senator Tomaki Juda was in Washington, DC this week to work on several issues concerning the people of Bikini Atoll. Also with the delegation was Council Advisor Johnny Johnson and Trust Liaison Jack Niedenthal. The Washington, DC based attorney for the people of Bikini, Jonathan Weisgall, attended all of the meetings.
A meeting was held in the Hart Senate Office Building with US Senator John Boozman and his staff from Arkansas concerning the state of the Bikinian people and other Marshallese living in Arkansas. While Senator Juda expressed his gratitude to Senator Boozman for the kindness and acceptance shown toward the Marshallese people in Arkansas, he said there is still a great need to find a way to help those Marshallese who have no medical insurance or health plans. Senator Boozman pledged to work on this issue and also stated he hoped that there would be more of an effort by the US government to provide better medical care to the people living in the Marshall Islands before they travel to the United States.
Meetings were held with the US Interior Department concerning the recent flooding that occurred on both Kili and Ejit Islands where numerous houses and food crops were damaged. The Bikinians have begun pursuing the possibility of technical assistance grants from the U.S. Interior Department on a number of projects that would aid the people of Bikini living on Kili and Ejit Islands as a result of these unexpected calamities.
The Bikinians also met with Allen Stayman and Isaac Edwards from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to discuss a number of new developments and issues in the Bikinian community.
Meetings were held with the trustees for the people of Bikini from M & T Bank and also the financial advisors from UBS PaineWebber to discuss the current condition of their two trust funds. Currently, as of June 30, 2011, the Resettlement Trust Fund is worth approximately $85 million and the Bikini Claims Trust Fund is worth $60 million.
The Kili/Bikini/Ejit Local Government will begin deliberations on the upcoming Fiscal Year 2012 budget next month. The fiscal year for the people of Bikini runs from October 1 to September 30 of each year.