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Norman George: Boards to combat drugs, dereliction and boredom

Monday September 16, 2019 Written by Published in Opinion
Norman George: Boards to combat drugs,  dereliction and boredom

Four months ago, our country was exposed to a large number of critical problems: from the growing use of methamphetamine or “P”, to the need for rest homes for the elderly, to the need for psychiatric professionals to treat drug addicts and dementia sufferers. Add the lack of doctors for the outer islands, and we were ready to press the ejector seat and parachute down to safety.

What happened? What happens? What now? Where’s the bee sting?

Suggestions for volunteer police groups to be formed into vigilante anti-drug units received great community support. The Takitumu Community Honourary Police were formed with formidable personalities appointed.

Now after their first-year appointments expired, the police administration decided to pull the plug and not renew their warrants. This is moral vandalism, a stunning dereliction of duty by the police. Tell us, that our long sleeping law enforcement agencies are fully operational!

Nothing seems to fall in place or make sense. Let’s look at the missing doctors link to the outer islands. Doctors gradually disappeared from the outer islands in the last 10 years. When they left or retired, they never got replaced. How did all this happen? Silently and deceptively like ships sailing into the night, they disappeared over the horizon.

The people of the outer islands now face a clear and present danger. The new BS is the quick flying doctor service – it does not work, folks.

People are sometimes forced to charter Air Rarotonga due to the slow bureaucratic red tape to get a plane in the air. Though you might be okay if you are in the Prime Minister’s electorate – you get a private jet to pick you up!

The nurse aides acting as doctors have their limitations. Put Henry Puna and Mark Brown in their place and put doctors in hospitals in all of the outer-islands. Reduce the ratio to a doctor for every island with 150 people living there.

Please do not spin the same old cost factor to our people Henry and Mark, you had no trouble finding extra funds to give yourselves a huge pay rise.

And the rest homes? The young people with psychiatric needs being locked up in jail? Our elderly people deserve respect and dignity. Many are living in a parched landscape, devoid of help and hope. There is a pattern of inertia and disinterest at the leadership level in our country today. Henry and Mark are in denial.

At the law enforcement level, criminal violence is on the increase. Using weapons in their attacks is now normal. Some attacks are aimed to maim and seriously wound.

The police are required to deflect these violent acts. We must support our men and women in blue. If a violent offender picks on the police and dishes out violence, then don’t complain if they (the police) hit back.

I have always argued for an Independent Police Conduct Authority to be set up to handle all complaints involving police officers. Most of the officers I know, want it, it will help them being needlessly prosecuted for defending themselves.

But keep on sleeping, Police Administration and the Minister of Police.

What this country needs are publicly elected government boards. A Health Board, a Board of Education, Tourism Board, Infrastructure Roads and Development Board along with Shipping and Transport, Law enforcement, Telecommunications, Boarder Control, Immigration and Customs to name a few.  

These boards should be subject to local body elections every three years. Each board should consist of 5 to 7 in number, the members select their Chairperson. A whole month should be made available for these Local Body Elections, centred on the island of Rarotonga, but with all islands participating.  

This removes public servants from controlling our lives, our health, education and development. The Boards make binding recommendations to Ministers and the Government.

In fairness to civil servants, many fear demotion if they stand up to their Ministers.

Kua rava teia, ka kite.

Norman George.

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