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OPM slams shooting inquiry letter

Monday February 06, 2017 Written by Published in Politics

Comments made by letter-writer Papa Williams regarding the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry into last year’s shooting tragedy have been slammed by an Office of the Prime Minister spokesman.

 

In his letter, Williams was critical of the appointment of retired Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Denis McDermott and retired Cook Islands Police Commissioner Tevai Matapo to handle the inquiry. He also criticised prime minister Henry Puna and the CIP government.

A statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister said that in the government’s view, and that of the Cook Islands Police, comments made by Mr Williams in CI News on February 1 were “defamatory, prejudiced and lacking in substance.”

“The personal attack on Mr McDermott and his ability to conduct his duties, simply because he is an Australian citizen, are racist and do not reflect the views of this government or the good people of the Cook Islands,” the statement said.

“McDermott's experience and credentials, and especially his work in Pacific communities and causes including RAMSI in the Solomon Islands were prerequisites for being appointed to this inquiry, and his experience satisfied beyond measure all that we required.

Mr Williams prejudiced comments serve only to discredit himself and serve only to show his inability to make reasonable or sound judgements.

To politicise this inquiry demonstrates a total lack of empathy or compassion for the victims of this terrible tragedy.

We maintain the greatest confidence in McDermott and Matapo and that they will continue to maintain the transparency, impartiality and integrity, needed to exercise their duties and will do this with the utmost regard for the victims, the families, our community and the good people of the Cook Islands.”

- RELEASE/CS