New Pitcairn economic plan under way.
ANGWIN (Napa County) Calif., February 22, 2000Pitcairn Island, most of
whose inhabitants are descendants of sailors who mutinied aboard H.M.S.
Bounty in the late 18th century, have once again demonstrated a spirit
of fierce independence in acceptance of an economic plan to continue
human life on the tiny South Pacific isle.
With a threatened depletion of the Pitcairn Investment Fund,
which has long provided financial subsidies for transportation and costs
of island living, the Pitcairners have rejected a budgetary aid plan
similar to one for St. Helena island, another remote British
protectorate, and have, instead, chosen a modified subsidy plan which
will extend the life of the investment fund.
Seeing the intrusive nature of the St. Helena plan, which
includes review of the personal financial status of families, and annual
audits to insure that aid is appropriately targeted, the Pitcairners
have voted to allow a more than doubling of their electrical charges and
the initiation of ocean freight charges on items that were once free of
charge or heavily subsidized.
The new economic plan, though, does provide help to Pitcairn's
pensioners and families with children, in an attempt to blunt hardship
they might incur without such help. Now in its second month of
operation, the new plan will be reviewed at the end of six months to
assess its effect, say British government officials.
Full details of the new plan have been received by the Pitcairn
Islands Study Center, a museum-research facility for scholars, journalists
and others, which is located
on the campus of Pacific Union College here.
Paradoxically, one of the reasons for initiation of the new
economic plan has come about because of the Pitcairners attempt to
better their lives. A recent, developing foreign market for dried
fruits has found several electric fruit dryers humming away at most
The islanders were charged 20 New Zealand cents per electrical
unit, while the cost to the Pitcairn Investment Fund was 50 cents per
unit, not including the cost of parts and maintenance of electrical
generating equipment. With the growth of the fruit drying industry, the
drain on the fund became ever greater. Now study is being given to the
use of solar fruit dryers.
Quick to adjust to the realities of the new plan, the
Pitcairners are also switching from electricity provided by diesel
generator to liquid petroleum gas, at a lower per-unit cost.
The island's new economic plan was developed in concert with an
economist and an official of the British Department for International
Development by Pitcairn Commissioner Leon Salt. If the plan
accomplishes what is expected, the Pitcairn Investment Fund will remain
solvent for 10 years, extending it at least five years beyond earlier
According to Commissioner Salt, income received beyond current
projections may increase allowances for paid positions on Pitcairn, one
of which nearly every adult Pitcairner holds. One such favorable
possibility is income the island may receive through a recent
recapturing of its Internet domain registry, ".pn," by action of the
United States government and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
Another attempt to increase the investment fund will include
vigorous efforts to increase the sale of Pitcairn's stamps, long
popular with philatelists throughout the world. Samples of Pitcairn's
attractive stamps can by seen on the island's website at
Yet another possibility for additional island income is a
resurgence in the number of cruise ships calling at Pitcairn. Currently
10 such vessels are on schedule to make calls at the island, where in
earlier years only two or three such visits were made. The Pitcairners
sell curios and fruits and vegetables to those on the ships.
Pitcairn Islands Study Center, 1 Angwin
Ave., Angwin, CA, USA. Herbert Ford, 707-965-6625, 707-965-2047, Fax: 707-965-6504,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://library.puc.edu/pitcairn