6 Feb 2007

Marshall Islands private sector to submit recommendations on alien labour law

11:32 am on 6 February 2007

A private sector submission is to go to the Marshall Islands Foreign Minister, Gerald Zackios, on amendments they would like to see to the new alien labour law.

There's been widespread concern voiced by the business community who say the new law applies only to the private sector and contains long jail terms and heavy fines for relatively minor infractions.

Jerry Kramer, the owner of Pacific International Incorporated, the country's largest construction company, says Mr Zackios agrees that there are problems with the new law and has invited the private sector to comment on it.

The Attorney-General had called the criticism of the new law patronising but Mr Kramer rejects this, saying they were invited to take part in the process but their original recommendations were ignored.

He says the final version of the law stunned the private sector.

"It's very bureaucratic, very lengthy and it's going to be difficult to administer but the penalties are terrible. Minor infractions are punishable by years in prison which make them felonies instead of what might be considered a misdemeanour."

Mr Kramer says the submission will be with Mr Zackios within the week.