Albert Cove, Rabi Island
Mon 21 Jul 2014 01:50
On my way to Rabi I cross 180 degrees again but am still wondering how the people of Kioa kept their children totally silent for all of Sunday. If I can find the formula and bottle it I will be a multi- millionaire!
If you are a lawyer you will have heard of Rabi (pronounced Rambi). In 1972 the population brought a case against the British Phosphate Company which, at 221 days in court, is the longest ever case in British courts. The people living on Rabi came from Banaba, 1,000 miles north. They had sold the mineral rights to the British Phosphate Company, owned jointly by the governments of the UK, Australia and New Zealand. 1,500 acres of lush tropical paradise was mined into a wasteland the islanders being re-settled on Rabi. Their legal case was complicated and I well remember it when working in London in the 1970's. These uneducated islanders arrived never having been in a car never mind an aeroplane. They did not speak a word of English, only speaking Kiribati, a rare language in anybody's books. Anyway they lost in court but such was the outrage of the British people following a BBC documentary that an ex-gratia payment of stg 12,000,000 pounds was paid to them. The Banabans had just become, on a per capita basis, one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
I am sure you can find the whole story on the internet. But they blew their money. They had never had any money and were easy prey to anyone who came along. They are now back to fishing in small boats and home made canoes.
At anchor I heard a dog barking. It turned out that it was not a dog, but a pigeon. It is called a Barking Pigeon. Just who makes these names up?