14 Jun 2007

Marshall Islanders question claimed business opportunities in American military relocation

10:30 am on 14 June 2007

A Bush Administration Cabinet official told business leaders in the Marshall Islands that they should prepare to cash in on the business opportunity offered by the American relocation of 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

But some Marshall Islands business leaders are worried that poor education and limited vocational training programs in this western Pacific nation will undermine the potential opportunity.

Department of Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne, who is visiting the region, told the Marshall Islands Chamber of Commerce in Majuro that the U.S. government expects billions of dollars will be spent on construction and relocation.

Mr Kempthorne says the move will open many doors for Guam's neighbors, including the Marshall Islands.

But Chamber of Commerce vice president Hirobo Obeketang says while businesses are excited about the prospect of exporting labor to Guam, more emphasis needs to be put in by the government on skills training for local workers in the Marshall Islands.