All 24 mayors in the Marshall Islands have signed a petition condemning a Cabinet decision to redirect funds meant for local governments.
The Outer Islands Economic Development Fund, provided by Taiwan, is usually divided among local governments for fisheries, farming and business projects.
But last year, a Cabinet decision meant funds were used by the ministers of Jaluit and Utrik instead, which included chartering a vessel to take a Christmas dance group to Majuro to perform.
The president of the Marshall Islands Mayors Association, James Matayoshi, says the decision was made without discussion in parliament.
"Instead of adhering and recognising, to honour, what the local governments have through their local ordinances, a Cabinet member is able to dictate how the funds will be utilised, and he just did it in an inappropriate way."
James Matayoshi says the petition calls on the parliament to make changes to the Cabinet's decision and make laws protecting the autonomy of local governments.