He was reacting to a statement from the Democratic Party in which the Opposition raised concerns about money spent by the Cook Islands Party government on the big celebrations, which start this Friday.
The Demos said that if they’d planned the event properly, the government could have saved about $1 million of the projected cost.
However, Brown said the government would not compromise the quality of the celebrations and the welfare of the people attending it.
“The best part of these celebrations is that as a country we can afford to pay for them, so why not spend the money on our people? The benefits are evident for all to see,” Brown, who is also Finance minister, said.
“It looks like the Democratic Party are trying to tell our people from the outer islands that they still support the Constitution celebrations, but they did not want to spend too much money on our people.
“It looks like they wanted to bring our people on cheaper boats (which means less comfort for our people by making them sleep on the decks of cheaper boats). The Democratic Party also did not want to bring so many of our people to the celebrations; they wanted a cap on the numbers to reduce costs.”
Of the total budget, the Democratic Party pointed out the costs of transporting people from the northern group by sea and air transportation for the southern group topped the bill at about $2.38m.
From the government perspective, Brown said they made it very clear a year ago that they were committed to chartering vessels they have used in previous years to bring people to Rarotonga in safety and comfort.
“The days of sleeping in the deck are long gone but the Demo Party feels that is what our Pa Enua people should have. The government believes we should give our people the best,” he said.
“We also made it clear a year ago that there would be no cap on the numbers as it meant that families would be split during this period.
“In anticipation of this, the government had already planned to cover the costs of chartering vessels and planes for transport as well as all other associated costs. We have been prepared.”
Brown said people from the outer islands were taking advantage of the opportunity to be on Rarotonga to visit the dentist and hospitals for check-ups, especially the mammogram screening programme now underway for women.
He said it was also an opportunity for the outer islanders to organise purchases and supplies for the homeward journey.
“What we are seeing is our people in a happy and joyous mood since their arrival and eagerly looking forward to one of our most anticipated cultural competitions in years.
“These celebrations are held on Rarotonga once every two or three years. It is a time to come together as a nation and as one people from many islands.
“The Demo Party should just quit with their complaining and join our people in celebrating.”