A letter written by One Cook Islands Party president George Turia to Democratic Party president Sean Willis last Monday, showed all is not well between the coalition parties.
News of the split follows Heather’s retraction via a statement in CI News of his support for OCI leader Teina Bishop, who is facing trial on a corruption charge. In the statement, Heather said he should have been much clearer about separating out his personal loyalty to Teina Bishop to that of the Party’s coalition loyalties.
“In the judicial system, the presumption of innocence prevails and I personally would hate to set that aside to condemn a person who of late has been working hard for the good of his constituents...but that judicial results, no matter what they might be, always have the power to change roles and relationships.”
Turia said in light of Heather’s stance, he saw no other option but to formally withdraw One Cook Islands’ support for the Democratic/One Cook Islands partnership.
“This decision has not been taken lightly and has the full support of the One Cook Islands executive and supporters.”
Heather’s “unclear” statement was of concern to One Cook Islands, said Turia, especially after on November 13 he had clarified his caucus’ position by offering his full support to Bishop.
“It is unfortunate that Heather has opted to make such a statement without consulting One Cook Islands, as he has done previously with other policy-related issues.
“The announcement of his shadow cabinet without any consultation whatsoever is unacceptable and (has) undermined the spirit of our partnership and the principles on which the foundation of that partnership was formed.”
“Unfortunately the principle of trust no longer exists, therefore this decision to terminate our partnership agreement has been made in the interest of One Cook Islands.”
CI News yesterday asked Heather for his response to his letter. However he said he had only just received a copy and would respond after meeting with his caucus.