Last week, Demo Leader, my mate William Heather Junior, commonly known as Smiley, served it up assertively.
In addition to the actual writing and service of the fateful letter, he demonstrated clear authority of his leadership that the seat is vacant. That’s what you call a “killer punch”, just what the Demo supporters and officials needed, not just to get rid of a parasite but to inject blue blood back in the veins of what has become an estranged organisation.
The Demo has been misled by false faith in the likes of Albert Nicholas and several others to make up numbers and by the silly belief in bribing them even to the point of giving away leadership, pride and party autonomy.
I have no doubt political history will mark Albert Nicholas as the most prominent Judas of Cook Islands politics. And those that pushed him will no doubt slither away into oblivion as venomous snakes do. You see not only were his actions in his own eyes and words “what is right for Rappa” but conversely he singlehandedly shafted any chances of the Democratic Party becoming government.
For example, his impeccable timing to jump ship and accept the Cook Islands Party offer to become a minister just at the brink of an Aitutaki by-election that was ripe for the Demo to take. Whack, in one swoop he defeated the hopes of those in Aitutaki that were poised to vote for the Demo. Albert and cohorts gave life to the CIP. Take it from me, that was a calculated move to sink the Demo because he was at that point in time distrusting of the party he stood for in his own self-belief that he should be a minister.
In other words, he absconded from the party that provided him the winning umbrella because he and Demo “fakers” were selfishly pursing their own ambitions and agenda. They deserted their posts because they felt the Demo could not give them what they want. In the military they shoot deserters. For Rappa, they say, “My goodness, have a good look where the “pretenders” are; on boards, in cushy political jobs and kissing the hands of those they cursed in the pre-2014 elections.”
I was happy when I heard of the Demo move. It was audacious and democratic. It was provided for by law and is on the transparent side of the political ledger. Whatever the legal arguments are, to me, they are irrelevant. It is the poignant message to the country that the Democratic Party is coming of age in this modern era of high scrutiny of its Cook Islands lawmakers and “employees of taxpayers”. Let’s hope that this is not just a one off, but this is the start of a party that will sweep out corruption and embark on a number of reform measures in politics, administration, business, public service and so on.
In all of this the quirky and squeaky voice of Minister Mark Brown has to be ignored as that of a political hypocrite. I guess on such occasions he pulls himself out of the dirt, fluff and “gwufaffle” of his own government’s misdeeds and failures, one being the apparent disregard of public concerns. We know this is a government that pats itself on the back for inevitable aid donor funding and support and it claims aid to be this country’s salvation instead of building up our economy with deep set strategies.
On a much darker side though, this is a government bent on political patronisation and corruption, which they call by another name; “vote buying”. Minister Brown calls the Demo move as a “desperate” act, but that cuts right across his party’s all-term indulgence in buying support – because in his twisted logic it is all right for the CIP to do that, but not all right for the Demo to hit back hard, legitimately and on target.
I don’t have much tolerance politically for hypocrites and self-serving lackeys in both the CIP and Demo camps. I am despised by some Demos for being blunt and hated even more by the CIPs for describing the prime minister and his cabinet ministers in most unfavourable terms. But I know the general public likes to see an ace being called an ace and I do make such calls in the media and public forums.
If I may come back to the Albert Nicholas justifications of why he chose to “vaka hop”. He said he has CIP and Demo supporters in his committee and that fusion gives him comfort to still carry the Demo flag and yet wear the CIP coat. How depraved is that kind of thinking? First, the majority of Rappa voters in the 2014 elections that voted for the winning ticket were Democrats. So it is to that majority that Albert Nicholas should account to not the couple of Demo “turncoats” that claims their word as authority. That’s how democracy works. In other words; if he no longer represents the majority, he should resign and ask that majority to vote him again as a CIP candidate.
Clearly the man and his team do not understand that he is abusing process, he has hijacked the Demo name and mantle, lied to those that voted under the Demo banner and seems bankrupt of morals and decency. They think only of Rappa and shut out the rest of the Cook Islands. He spoke of Papa Tom as being the only ever MP from Rappa that had some standing. The rest were run of the mill. How insulting is that to the CIP MPs like Papa Rei Jack? The truth is the seat was held longer by the CIP than by the Demo. He is the only other Demo that won. So his explanation does not stack up.
But what does add up is, that he is also holding the CIP at ransom?
The CIP fear Albert for the example he shows from his treachery. But what is worse is that a country is being held at ransom as well.
The striving for greater democracy through ensuring transparency and accountability is being stubbed into the ground. Albert Nicholas is not concerned about the country’s welfare and equal distribution of resources – instead it is all for Rappa. It is nothing more than a village MP blackmailing the rest of the 23 MPs.
If that is not being selfish and unreasonable, then I don’t know what is? Just imagine, the chaos and unsustainability of our governance procedures if all the Members of Parliament played the same game.
By Wilkie Rasmussen – CI News Columnist