While a smoke signal in yesterday’s CINews might have beaten any official announcement to the punch, CINews can now confirm that cabinet minister George Maggie is currently on a government trip to South Korea, representing the Cook Islands in his capacity as minister of cultural development.
Rumours of associate minister and ministerial chief executive appointments have kept the “coconut wireless” humming over the last two days.
One Cook Islands leader Teina Bishop’s claim that there is “no friction” within the One Cook Islands movement over George Maggie’s decision to join the CIP government has been shot down in flames by party president George Turia.
The appointment of Tupapa Maraerenga MP George Maggie to cabinet last week came as a surprise to some Cook Islands political pundits, who predicted the MP for Tupapa-Maraerenga would instead join with the Democratic Party to form a government.
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”.
The Cook Islands Party (CIP) government seemed to trump the Democratic Party last Thursday afternoon after winning the support of the two independent and One Cook Islands party seat holders who were sworn in as Cabinet ministers.
Prime minister Henry Puna has announced his new cabinet team, with finance minister Mark Brown named deputy prime minister, and significant portfolios for independent MPs Rose Toki-Brown and Robert Tapaitau and One Cook Islands MP George Maggie.
While on Friday Demo parliamentary leader William ‘Smiley’ Heather was still talking up the chances of the party becoming government, a party statement reflected the frustration that followed the Cook Island Party’s move to swear in three MPs last Thursday.