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‘No friction’ in OCI - Bishop

Wednesday July 11, 2018 Written by Published in Politics
George Maggie and One Cook Islands party leader Teina Bishop at the party’s fourth birthday celebrations held at the Rakahanga Hostel in Avarua in May. 18071016. George Maggie and One Cook Islands party leader Teina Bishop at the party’s fourth birthday celebrations held at the Rakahanga Hostel in Avarua in May. 18071016.

One Cook Islands party leader Teina Bishop says there is “no friction” between him and OCI’s sole Member of Parliament, George Maggie, following Maggie’s appointment to the CIP-led “caretaker cabinet”.

“No I’m not happy, but I understand” says Bishop.

On Monday it was revealed Maggie would be responsible for a newly-created ministry known as Corrective Services, incorporating both the current probationary and prison services. The appointment could be seen as ironic, as Maggie has plenty experience on the wrong side of the Cook Islands justice system.

In 1992 he was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in jail after setting fire to block of buildings housing the Ministry of Justice, the Cook Islands Post Office, and the Telecom office. Maggie served seven years of his term at Arorangi Prison, before being paroled in 1999.

The colourful politician was also appointed the Minister of Culture, the Business Trade and Investment Board (BTIB), and the House of Ariki at a swearing-in ceremony held at Government House in Titikaveka last Thursday.

OCI’s policy manifesto, released before the election, stipulated the party’s policy priorities for all constituencies being contested by the CIP.

For Tupapa-Maraerenga, those priorities included monthly visits by doctors and nurses to the sick and elderly, free “basic” home cleaning including lawn mowing and tree felling services for pensioners, free septic tanks for those living in beach-side areas and special concession cards entitling pensioners to a 15 per cent discount on their utility bills and also exempting them from fees on savings accounts or withdrawals. Also among the policy priorities was a subsidised programme which would see the installation of domestic hot water systems, water tanks, filters, and pumps. 

Before the election, Bishop said OCI would not pursue ministerial portfolios. Instead, he claimed his party’s “five national policy priorities” would be non-negotiable terms in any coalition negotiations. Bishop claims the decision to barter for the priority matters came from Maggie and his committee.

He did not clarify which of the OCI policies were part of a deal with the CIP.