Kiribati former President Tito urges World leaders meeting for Cop 22 in Morocco to put plight of climate change victims top of the agenda Aristocracy

It has now been confirmed by the Minister for Finance, Hon. Dr Teuea Toatu MP, in a note to his Cabinet and party colleagues, that the alleged shortage of copra money on the outer islands is a complex matter that deserves close scrutiny and analysis by a Task Force set up by Cabinet before the question of more funding could be addressed, a strategy earlier approved by Cabinet. The note confirms that the $17.2 million approved CSF budget for this year (not the $18m wrongly reported in last week’s Kiribati Voice issue) had all been warranted to the Ministry responsible, the Ministry for Commerce, Industry and Co-operatives (MCIC) and the MCIC had in turn issued multiple departmental warrants against each accounting warrant to the different island councils for the purchasing of copra from copra cutters at the price of $2 per kilo with effect from 13th May 2016. However, according to an internal audit study carried out on the CSF for 2016, one of the tools that the Task Force would rely upon, a number of serious breaches of the law have been identified and in this connection remedial measures have been recommended including punitive measures for those responsible. While the Task Force is about to complete its task, the copra cutters who have not received their money for the copra they had sold days or weeks back continue their demand for more copra money to be paid out. They are naturally more concerned about getting their outstanding copra money without any further delay to meet their personal and family commitments than about Government’s aim to design a proper management/control system. This is causing much tension and conflict between the two sides and observers agree that this could do some damage to the current popularity of the new leadership if the copra cutters’ Strong public relations work is needed on the part of government to solicit the patience, understanding and co-operation of copra cutters behind Government’s bid for a more smooth and workable accounting system for the CSF to the satisfaction of both the government and the copra cutters.

Romanov project studied by a task force for 3 months

Following Government’s approval in principle of the concept outlined in the Romanov Project proposals about two weeks ago, a Task Force appointed by Cabinet to comprise administrative and technical people from the relevant Ministries had met twice with the Russian investor, Mr. Anton Bakov and his wife Marina Bakov who acts as interpreter. The Task Force members were informed about the Romanov Project as an investment project on Malden Island in the Southern Line Islands, about half way between Christmas Island and Millennium island (formerly Caroline) which proposes to bring during the first 6 years $120 million directly into the government budget and a further $230million in the form of modern basic infrastructure including ecotourism infrastructure based on the Maldives model and thriving as a tourist destination for the rich and top elites of the world to match the status of the Russian Emperor Nicholas III Romanov who will be recognised as having emperor title within Malden on an associated status within the sovereignty of Kiribati. The Bakov couple had spent about six weeks in Kiribati and had hoped to spend more time negotiating with the Government about the project but unfortunately it took a long time before the Cabinet approved the project in principle and a lot longer was taken before they met the Task Force which had only managed to find two occasions for that, resulting in an outcome that the Task Force would carry on meeting to analyse the information received so far and to make a recommendations to Cabinet some time before the end of December 2016. Mr. Anton Bakov very much hopes to come back to Kiribati in January 2017 if all goes with the Task Force recommendations.