Resort revelations truly ‘disturbing’

Tuesday September 05, 2017 Published in Letters to the Editor

Interestingly, Tim Tepaki’s letter to the editor of CI News on Friday September 1 finds “Paradise Threatened’s letter of concern regarding the actions of a visiting delegation of Chinese businessmen (who had openly approached local resort owners about purchasing their businesses), and the dissemination of that fact in the daily newspaper, “disturbing”.

Disturbing for whom? Our own people have witnessed the speed with which these well-monied and “interested international parties” have quickly and remorselessly ingratiated their way into the economies and societies of our sister islands, including Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Actions that may very well quickly prove to be detrimental to the economic and societal well-being of the people of these Pacific nations.

Do you really expect the people of this beautiful paradise, the Cook Islands, to just lie back and like our sister islands, be plundered remorselessly without simple duty of care to our own people? And not be concerned enough to mitigate or action some sort of protective response? 

Come on, Tim Tepaki, you’ve got to be kidding us! The saying, “Money is a necessary evil”, comes to mind when we consider just how reliant the future success of your Merchant of Paradise (MOP) organisation is on the use of $300 million “development funding” from China.

This money is supposedly for the private sector of the Cook Islands, and not for the sole use of one government-supported group such as your MOP organisation. If your project requires funds, go to the bank, like everyone else!

However, the cost of achieving MOP’s aims should never, ever be detrimental to the well-being and essence of our people and our country’s soul, mana and future. Never! 

And furthermore, if such a scheme does go ahead, it won’t be decision of a minority of individuals who seem to be hell-bent on determining this country’s future, because should that day ever come, (and rational logic dictates it never will), it will be a truly democratic-principled and well informed government of the people, by the people and for the people, that will decide our future destiny! 

Well my Cook Islands/New Zealand countryman I, like many of our people living in this beautiful and safe island nation of ours, emphatically believe that it is unconscionable that there are other Cook Islanders who, for their own financial self-interest and gain seem callously prepared to take us down a path of what seems to me is nothing but treachery and betrayal. Once we are on this path there will be no turning back. Look, for example, at the ultimate example, the United Kingdom and the Brexit fiasco.

Local examples are those individuals/groups who I understand actively support schemes to allow Chinese businesspeople to take over Cook Islands resorts. I understand one of these groups even includes a senior police official who has been assisting a visiting delegation interested in the purchase of resorts.

Then there are those individuals within our own government who are prepared to offer whatever support is necessary to advance and ensure the success of Chinese businesspeople to buy local resorts, evidently for their own economic interests. 

Tim Tepaki and MOP’s chairman, Fred Webb, must have a lot riding on their vested interest with these “international parties”, who coincidentally also happen to come from China (and no, writing this fact doesn’t make me anti-Chinese either). Yet, the fact remains this is really a rather disturbing revelation for our people to grasp, understand and comprehend. 

The fact that there seem to be Cook Islanders amongst us who put their own future economic wellbeing and success above the good of their own people and country, is really the most disturbing thing of all. After all, there is also the simple possibility that this Chinese government “development fund” of $300 million offered to the Cook Islands government (with what sort of strings attached?) may yet sadly prove to be a Trojan horse. 

And we all know the story of how the Greeks’ efforts to gain entrance into Troy during the Trojan War, using a hollow wooden horse didn’t end well.

            Papa Williams

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