Political treachery and glass houses

Thursday July 25, 2013 Written by Published in Tropical Chronicles

As the country gets closer to the general elections, lots of funny business will take place.

In journalism such a hiatus in time is called the “silly season”.

But for journalism, that refers to a time when you rarely get stories of substance and you fill your newspaper or radio and television slots with human interest stories or with creatively taken photographs of people etcetera. Politics on the other hand, especially when an election is imminent can carve out with distinction a profile of politicians slugging away at each other as if the end of the world is nigh. The finger pointing, the allegations, the name-calling, the challenges and usurpation of authority, the backstabbing, the rumour-mongering, the skull-duggeriness are all the elements that make up the kaleidoscope of human moods and emotions that we call Cook Islands politics. We are indeed in the political silly season (maybe it has always been silly). Just yesterday, we read a letter to the editor of this newspaper from the Minister of Marine Resources Teina Bishop seeking understanding but at the same time alleging treachery and corruption amongst others including myself as a former Minister of the Crown. Within his letter he has started rumours of wrongdoing by myself and likened me to the Emperor in the glass house. But he produced not a single shred of evidence to back him and yet in the same newspaper and in previous editions, the lawyer (a member of the public) making allegations of impropriety against him published the evidence. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to agree that proof can lead to convictions. Good on the minister though for inviting an investigation to be done but he has to now take it in stride that it might turn into a criminal prosecution.

Of all his decade and a bit in being a member of parliament, I would have thought the minister had lost his adolescent impetuousness and would have sat back and figured a way, but he hadn’t. The most advisable thing for him to do would be for him to retain someone (a lawyer perhaps or a close competent friend) to front his responses to the allegations against him. But he lashed out and regretfully he overlooked my assertion that only if all of these are true must he step down as minister. I base that on the criminal maxim that “everyone is presumed innocent unless proven guilty” and that must apply to him. He is simply being silly. Perhaps the proverb of the Emperor inside the glass house who did not know he was in his birthday suit would be an apt description of him right now.

Amidst this entire saga, the prime minister is now in a much greater predicament than perhaps foreseen. His dilly-dallying and frequent absents from the country is now coming back to bite him. Don’t say that he has not been warned. There have been many times I have sounded the alarm through the media, in person and in Parliament of defects in his style of governance. He ignored me and he squandered opportunities to work together to address problems affecting the nation as a whole. Now it is a slap in his face for his selfishness, in not including the Opposition to provide input in the way the country is run that his own team is imploding. That implosion, my dear friends out there was caused by him and him alone by his failure.

Personally I have nothing to hide and will not be shaken by this ill-thrown line by my friend, the “Unholy Bishop” as he calls himself in self-jest. Instead what I hold is lots of “aroha” and sympathy for him. I hope that he manages to extricate himself from the allegations and restores his integrity and that of his government. I also hope he understands that I am the Leader of the Opposition and I will unravel, turn over and allege the wrongdoings and incompetence of my nemesis, namely the PM, his ministers and their government. I have to do what I have to do and will not stop despite minister Bishop being my dear friend. Aye, the ironies of politics for all to see.

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