In the film Oliver Twist, a destitute orphan with trembling hands and a bowl asks “Please Sir can I have some more?” He wants a meagre serving of porridge, he’s starving.
Meanwhile, the adults dine on lavish food from all the donated money.
In the Crook Islands the poor orphans are the people, but it’s the greedy Cook Islands Party Government fat on their unaffected wages benefiting the most.
The absolute audacity, the hubris of them, giving new police recruits an extra $20 per week, during this time of suffering, while they keep their $400 to $900 extra wage rise.
The people ask for bread, and get crumbs. Government MPs ask for cake, and get a banquet.
Henry Puna has just announced he is stepping down as Prime Minister, in the middle of a major economic crisis. Maybe down from his high horse, or the pedestal his minion Mark Brown made for him.
Stepping down implies he “stepped up” at some stage – when?
During the tragic triple murder-suicide, Puna stepped away to New Zealand instead of facing the nation.
In the referendum on Sunday flights to Aitutaki, he side-stepped the majority vote.
Puna didn’t step in when Mark Brown ignored public demand and signed up Chinese debt and builders to fix the water mains, because he was stepping in tune with the Chinese promise of glittering gold, then stepped aside giving them open border travel without need for a visa.
As protesters marched and gathered petitions against purse seine fishing and back-taxing pensioners, Puna stepped out the back door and signed away all our fish, and, became the first Prime Minister to tax pensioners.
While the Cook Islands Party-led Government illegally raided bank accounts of pensioners a week before Christmas, Puna stepped into another Koru lounge.
Mark Brown hails Puna’s last 10 years of tenure – for what? Air miles? Amid cries for Parliament to sit, Puna returned for the minimum days, always near Christmas.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced more sitting because there’s no way to avoid the reality that there are things to do.
However, the puppet reading the intelligent articulate words crafted by script-writers who have more heart and compassion for the situation than he could deliver, hardly denotes worthy leadership, especially needed in this climate.
Puna has travelled the world looking like Armani while begging like Steptoe & Son. He’s painted the Cook Islands destitute as orphan Oliver, and always, always has his hand out asking for more, money.
He sold the country on dreams about the golden goose of tourism, purposefully ignoring the pleas for diversity, for strengthening our self-sustaining ability.
But it wasn’t a dream – it was and is a scheme to enslave us in the bottomless pit of debt.
As the goose lies dying, he refuses to rally the troops and build the self-sustainable economy he told the world he would do by 2020.
We wanted a hand-up, he’s enslaved us to depending on handouts.
Puna is unlikely to step off into a life like us, out of work, underpaid taxpayers. His will be with Pacific Forum or backbencher travel and allowances.
Grown men are crying because the dream bubble has burst, no work, means no money to pay for the house they built, the truck they drive, or the mortgage they took using the equity of their family land, because everyone believed the tourism dream of getting bigger and better we’ll be alright.
Sadly, the one who should have built our economy on rock, not sand – Mr Smooth Operator Henry Puna – no meagre porridge waits for him, he’s got his eye on a first class ticket out of here, meitaki ma`ata.