US Opposition to Bikinian's Request for $5M Trust Fund Withdrawal  Bottom

  • Bikinians’ request for $5M trust fund withdrawal hits US opposition
    By Giff Johnson - For Variety A request by Bikini Islanders to withdraw $5 million from their Claims Trust Fund for a special distribution to the displaced islanders has hit a snag, with US Congressional leaders asking the Departments of the Interior and State to decide what agency has authority to approve or disapprove these payments now that the Nuclear Claims Tribunal is no longer functional...

    But last month, U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, and Lisa Murkowski, the ranking Republican member, wrote to Secretaries of State and the Interior Hillary Clinton and Ken Salazar, respectively, putting the issue on their agenda...

    “Our view is that such a distribution would be inconsistent with the purpose of the Claims Fund as set forth in Article II, that is, ‘to provide a perpetual source of income’ to the community. Moreover, such a distribution would violate the Agreed Minutes of the Agreement for the Implementation of Section 177, which permits ‘the invasion of the corpus only in the event of an unforeseen natural disaster or similar circumstance…’ ”

    The Bikini Claims Fund is currently valued at about $57 million. It was funded by the United States as compensation for the Bikinians being forced into exile so that 23 nuclear weapons tests could be conducted between 1946 and 1958.

    In the years since the first Compact was implemented in 1986, Bikini withdrew funds every three years — as is allowed under special circumstances by the provisions of the Section 177 compensation agreement — for special distributions to its community. These distributions were made with the approval of the Nuclear Claims Tribunal, which had authority for reviewing such requests.

    But the Tribunal has nearly run out of funds, there have been no judges employed by the Tribunal for more than a year, and although the Tribunal remains open, it is now staffed only on a part-time basis...

    The senators asked the State and Interior to consult with their legal departments to decide:

    • Do the State and Interior Departments agree with their view that this Bikini request, approved by the Marshall Islands government, for a $5 million distribution is not permitted by the Compact’s compensation agreement?

    • With the closure of the Nuclear Claims Tribunal, what entity is now responsible for review of the annual distribution reports and for ensuring accountability for distributions made from the Claims Trust Funds?...

    Read More--> Marianas Variety

    "Promoting more information disclosure by the public service, rather than secrecy which may allow corruption to be hidden" - from Nitijela UN Workshop Outcomes Statement, Feb. 17, 2011
  • Very funny isn't it? The fund was set for the benefit of the exile Bikinians who were relocated to make ways for the US to conduct its bombing activities. Now, the Bikiians must seek approval from the same government who set up the fund and removed these people from their home so that it did what it did. Why did the US set up this compensation for the Bikiians exile and then come behind and regulate the compensation? It just doesn't make sense? The NCT is nonfunctional, so the RMI must make the decision and not the government who displaced the Bikinians, period.
  • BF
    when u say NCT is nonfunctional;;and they still owe me more than 50 percent of my award;;;is that mean my award already close?
  • Ejimwe jokkijal, emaat money in kollaik aolep award ko an NCT. Rej bellok wot nan bok melele ak ne nan kollaik award ko einwot kar mokta, einwot melele eo in jej ronjake ejelok money. Won eo jen blame i? ijab jela.
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