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Pitcairn Islands Study Center

News - February 16, 2007

Contact Study Center:

PHONE: 707-965-6244
TEXT:   707-229-1340

Contact Herb Ford:
PHONE: 559-592-0980 or

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  [California Study Center]


PITCAIRN ISLANDS STUDY CENTER, Pacific Union College, Angwin, California USA.

Herbert Ford, 559-592-0980, 559-732-0313.


                        ANGWIN (Napa County) Calif., February 16, 2007—Are all the people of tiny Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific Ocean being punished for the acts of a few of the fewer than 50 permanent residents of the island?

                        Some believe this to be so, and they cite a recent example:

                        When the islands supply ship, Taporo VIII, arrived off Pitcairn on February 13 with tons of supplies, despite what they felt was a promise by their British-appointed governor to release the five men in the island prison to help handle the dangerous job of getting the supplies from the ship to the island landing, the prisoners were not made available.

                        Instead of making it a job that could have been finished by mid-afternoon in the relative safety of daylight, because of the denial of prison manpower only one of our two island boats could be used, and the work had to continue well into the more dangerous dark of night, said a Pitcairner.

                        Ship to shore off-loading of supplies is the most dangerous work done on Pitcairn Island. In often choppy, sometimes stormy seas, the heavy supplies must be lowered in slings over the side of a largely stationary ship, down into the heaving longboats alongside; a tricky operation at best, and always a danger to both the boats the men in them.

                        Once loaded, the boats must make their way through often dangerous waves, and then negotiate heavy, possibly swamping surf as they thread their way through a narrow coastline entry into the miniscule island landing place.

                        There is hardly any other conclusion one can draw than that this denial of help was a punitive action against all the people of Pitcairn, said the Pitcairner.

                        There is no way the prisoners could have escaped. The ship would not have been allowed to leave the island until all the prisoners were safely back in the jail.

                        Islanders contend that during an Island Council meeting the governor had said he was more than happy for the prisoners to be allowed to man the longboats to help the island on supply ship day, said the Pitcairner.

                        This was said in Council, and then suddenly we find that the governors word changed. Who changed his mind, and why? That change of mind really hurts the entire island population because now, with the men kept in prison when their help is so greatly needed, we simply dont have enough able-bodied men to do the work that will keep the island going smoothly.

                        The five men in the prison were found guilty of sex crimes and are serving various lengths of prison time.