10 May 2003

Marshall Islanders set to benefit from changes at Kwajalein Atoll

10:03 am on 10 May 2003

Marshall Islanders are set to benefit from major changes in policy and attitudes at the United States Army base at Kwajalein Atoll, with significant job advancement opportunities and local business on offer.

Kwajalein's acting Mayor Noda Lojkar says the changes have already been set in motion although it may take some time for 1,400 rank and file Marshall Islands workers to personally experience the new developments.

The new contractor at the atoll, Kwajalein Range Services, KRS, has already hired locals into positions that they've never held before, and has identified 26 supervisory and management positions that could be filled by Marshall Islanders.

KRS manager Carmen Spencer says a new contract that went into effect in March rewards the company for saving money, giving an incentive to increase the local workforce and to buy locally-produced products.

In addition to the epmloyment side, KRS and the army are encouraging more business interaction with local companies.

And, in another departure from the days of previous contractor Raytheon, Mr Lojkar says he has a direct line to Ms Spencer and the two communicate at least three times a week.