Press Release: UNDP Pacific Centre
25 January 2012
[25 January 2012 - Majuro, Marshall Islands] – Today saw the opening of an Induction Seminar for Senators of the new Nitijela (Parliament) of Marshall Islands. Speaking on behalf of the President at the opening of the Induction Seminar, Minister in Assistance to the President, Senator Tony de Brum, made a strong statement calling on Senators to use their parliamentary term to progress the country's national development priorities.
"Our president heard the voices of the electorate at the last elections. The people's concern was particularly about better delivery of services by the Government. This Induction Seminar is intended to support our members to identify how to better use parliamentary processes to support better delivery of Government services," Minister de Brum stated.
Minister de Brum went on to note; "Senators of our Nitijela have a responsibility to pass laws, including the budget, to support the delivery of services. We need to better deliver on the constitutional right to health and education, as well as other key services. It is in parliament that we promote our constitutional rights and support the development of our sovereign country. We want to use this Induction Seminar to strengthen our Nitijela, so that our Senators are empowered to more effectively work with the public service, private sector and communities to better deliver to our public and develop our nation. With the Nitijela focused sharply on duties and substance and not only on style and ceremony – if the public service and private sector do their part in supporting our collective efforts – the sky's limit."
The workshop has been organised by the Nitijela Secretariat, with support from the UNDP Pacific Centre. Senator Kalani English, a Senator from the State of Hawaii, and Ms Charmaine Rodrigues, Pacific Regional Governance Advisor for UNDP, are facilitating the Induction Seminar.
At the opening of the Induction Seminar, new Speaker of the Nitijela, Hon David Capelle, stated: "As law-makers of this nation, we ought to be at the forefront of current issues that are affecting not only our country, but this region and the world today. The Induction Seminar gives the opportunity for Members to share knowledge, experiences and ideas on how to most effectively use the parliamentary processes of the Nitijela in order to progressively move the national development goals of the Republic of the Marshall Islands forward."
The Induction seminar is attended by both Ministers and Senators of the new Nitijela, formed after general elections in November last year. The seminar covers technical procedural issues such as the law-making process, committee oversight, question time and moving motions. It has also been designed to upskill Members on a range of key issues, including climate change, human rights, youth and HIV/infectious diseases.
Reflecting on the objectives of the Seminar, UNDP's Pacific Regional Governance Advisor, Ms Charmaine Rodrigues, noted, "We have tried to work with the Nitijela to design a seminar which recognizes that Members of the legislature have a key role to play in promoting national development. Too often development partners focus only on the Executive branch – but as the representatives of the people, with the powers to pass laws and undertake committee oversight, the Senators of the Nitijela have a crucial role to play. This seminar has been designed to support Senators to play that role more effectively."
The seminar concludes on Friday, January 27.