‘Utu’, why haven’t you revealed your name when submitting your letter in response to Mata McNair’s from Monday, August 13?
You signed off your name as Utu Panu. I anticipate you could be referring to the people you represent, as they are Utu Panu as well. Come on paa koe. Can you enlighten us please, the readers, what you meant when you stated, “There was more going on in the outer islands before planes, airports and the internet came along”? I am totally confused with that statement.
It appears that your reply to Mata’s letter is a personal attack on her. And also, did you not know that we have freedom of speech here in the Cook Islands? Sad tikai. I say to you, it is not Mata’s fault that people move or leave the islands. It is not Mata’s fault that people are poor. It is not Mata’s fault that she was born of Rarotongan descent. It is not Mata’s fault that you were born of outer island descent with no connections to the lands in Rarotonga.
You even have the audacity to suggest that the only solution in Mata’s eyes is to shut down the outer islands altogether and to even suggest giving them some land, you are totally out of line.
You talk about the poverty and misery these people have had to endure for more than 50 years, but you failed to mention that since 1965, when we became self-governing, the people elected to parliament are your voice in government. They are there to look after your people’s interests as human beings.
Just a brief history of how many of these people represent your voices.
Since 1965, parliament consisted of 22 members. It was increased to 24 members in 1981, and again to 25 in 1991. It was reduced again to 24 members in 2003. Members are elected for a limited term and they meet in the capital of Rarotonga.
Have I just reminded you again that these are the people that were elected to look after your interests as a Cook Islander?
I am unsure which constituency you come from, but one thing I can be certain of is that you are not from Rarotonga when you signed off your article in the name of Utu Panu.
I hope you made your mark on the day of the election so you can have a say?
Now that we are clear with that, here are some questions for you:
1. Members elected to parliament, do they just walk into parliament or are they elected by the people in their constituency?
2. Why were they elected?
3. Do they live on the islands or constituencies you call home?
4. How often are they required to sit in parliament per year?
5. What do they talk about when meeting in parliament regarding their constituencies or their islands?
I anticipate that it may take some time before you answer the questions I have put to you so I may as well answer them for you.
1. Members are elected by the voters in their constituency.
2. To be their voice in parliament regarding their concerns within their community and the island as a whole.
3. I am not 100 per cent certain, but there are some that work and live here with their families in Rarotonga.
4. I will let the politicians confirm that, but I anticipate that they do not sit in parliament for more than three months of the year. Correct me if I am wrong.
5. They are your voice to air and place your concerns for whatever is required for your island or constituency at the parliament sittings.
Now here is another question or thought for you. If you were in parliament, standing for your island and your constituency, what would you do?
Do you just sit on your bum and collect a huge salary with all the perks that go with it, or better still grab as much as you can because you can as a member of parliament, or do you fight for your people to have a better life?
Do you think it is fair that you condemn Mata McNair for her thoughts of concern for her people?
Do you think that because Mata McNair is privileged to be living in Rarotonga, it is her fault that your people are disadvantaged?
Do you think that not being born of Rarotongan descent is Mata McNair’s fault?
Do you think it’s fair that some members of parliament work in Rarotonga, without even living on the island or the constituency they stand for? One then would wonder, how on earth would they know what the people of your constituency are doing and need?
Do you think that the member of parliament that stands for you is doing what they are supposed to do?
Do you think that sitting in parliament meetings for a short period of time during the year and not returning to where they stand is fair?
Well, you know what? You need to sit back and relook at yourself and the people you represent and think hard and fast, because the people that are dragging this country and your people down are the very people that represent your interests in parliament for your people and your country, and if you think that being a lone star is the way forward, you are wrong and I pity you.
I believe we are a Christian country so I will leave you with this verse in mind: ‘God has given us incredible promises. If you are running low on hope, go to the bible to recharge.’
Meitaki maata/meitaki atupaka,
Kia Manuia/Kindest Regards,
Nooroa Daniel Kavakura Tuoro
(Descended and proud from Rarotonga, Araura Enua, Penrhyn Island (Akakaingaro), Palmerston Island, and not forgetting my Marsters heritage from England.)