“We tried everything to keep her as a CIP but the influence of her husband (Taoro), who had his own political agenda, was too strong,” Jessie says.
“Sadly for the people of the Cook Islands, this is the fourth time Rose Brown has changed loyalties after starting as a CIP candidate, then joining the Demos as intended prime minister, then welcomed back to the CIP as the prodigal daughter.
“Now she is going independent, which should be a concern for us all.”
Following the announcement that Rose Brown’s 22-year-old daughter, Te Hani Brown would stand in Tengatangi Ngatiarua Areora for the Democratic Party, running against Cook Islands Party candidate Nandi Glassie. The executive met to discuss how they should respond to the unprecedented event of a mother and daughter running for opposing political parties, Jessie says.
“Taoro Brown is throwing his financial clout behind his wife and now his daughter and that was a move that the Cook Islands Party, was just untenable.”
“Our understanding is that once Taoro Brown realised he could not stand as a candidate due to his conviction for receiving stolen property and the mandatory stand-down of five years before being able to take office, he then submitted the Democratic Party candidate nomination for his daughter to stand on his behalf.
“This despite the fact that his wife was already nominated as the Cook Islands Party candidate for Teenui Mapumai in Aitu.”
Jessie says the CIP heard rumours of Rose Brown courting “the other side” before her decision to stand as an independent was confirmed.
“On her previous vaka-jumping actions we were ready to respond.
“This is a unique situation of a mother and her young daughter contesting (the election) in opposing parties.
“They obviously believe a family can control the island of Atiu, which raises some very serious questions with regard to the integrity of democracy in Atiu.
“Nevertheless, we have made the decision to do what is right for our party and accept Browns resignation going forward.”
Jessie says the decision to accept Rose Brown’s resignation was difficult.
“But sometimes to show leadership, one must make difficult decisions and with the best interests of the party in mind.
“That is our prerogative and this is our decision and we have made it with these values in mind.
“At the end of the day we have to do what is good for the party as a whole and not just the individual.”
Jessie says it was necessary to accept Brown’s decision to leave and stand as an independent in Teenui Mapumai, in order to preserve the integrity of the Cook Islands Party.
“No-one can serve two masters,” he added.