DELEGATION FROM BIKINI ATOLL IN WASHINGTON, DC.
L to R: Bikini Senator Tomaki Juda, US Senator Jeff Bingaman, Bikini Mayor Nishma Jamore, Trust Liaison Jack Niedenthal
March 31, 2012, Washington, DC- A delegation from Bikini Atoll of the Marshall Islands was in Washington, DC for 4 days this past week to meet with various US government officials regarding resettlement and financial issues related to Bikini Atoll. The delegation, led by Bikini Mayor Nishma Jamore and Bikini Senator Tomaki Juda and also included Trust Liaison Jack Niedenthal, met with US Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, who is the Chairman of the powerful Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee , and US Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who is the ranking Republican of the same committee, to discuss the status of the resettlement of the people of Bikini. The Bikinians were awarded $563 million by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal in the Marshall Islands in 2001, but because of a lack of funding this claim has yet to be paid. The Bikinians’ lawsuit against the United States that attempted to enforce the Tribunal award was thrown out by the US Supreme Court in 2011.
L to R: Bikini Trust Liaison Jack Niedenthal, US Senator Lisa Murkowski, Bikini Senator Tomaki Juda, Bikini Mayor Nishma Jamore
The delegation also met with US Interior Department officials regarding a number of potential grants and development projects and they met with their money advisors from UBS and their trustees from M & T Bank regarding the status of their two trust funds. They also held a series of meetings with their attorney, Jonathan Weisgall, regarding numerous outstanding issues the Bikinians have with the US government.