President of the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee, Hugh Graham, left, and outgoing Secretary General Owen Lewis. Photo: Facebook/Cook Islands Sports/23120202
New Education Secretary Owen Lewis has handed in his resignation to the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC), while it is understood he will remain in an acting position, unpaid, as secretary general until a suitable replacement is found.
CISNOC president Hugh Graham confirmed Lewis had
handed in his resignation on January 18, prior to senior officials flying out
to Aitutaki for a weekend retreat.
Cook Islands News understands Lewis will remain in an
acting position, unpaid, until a suitable replacement is found.
Graham confirmed a two-day workshop with the CISNOC board
and Lewis took place over the weekend in Aitutaki.
In a written statement, Graham said: “Owen advised me
of his resignation on Thursday, 18 January and this matter was discussed
extensively with the board.”
While Cook Islands News understood former Ministry of
Cultural Development secretary Anthony Turua was tipped to replace Lewis,
Graham said that was not the case.
“Your understanding that Anthony Turua has been
suggested to replace Owen is news to the board,” he said.
“The board has advised our members of Owen’s
resignation and the process that will be taken to fill the CISNOC secretary
While Lewis did not get a thumbs up from the selection
panel charged with finding a suitable candidate to fill the Education Secretary
role, specific contract details are yet to be confirmed around his new
It has already been confirmed that in addition to
taking on the new role, he will continue to provide support to the Minister of
Sports Vaine “Mac” Mokoroa, who is also the Education Minister, to prepare the
nation for upcoming sports events including the Cook Islands Games in October,
the Olympic Games in Paris, as well as the nation’s bid to host the Pacific
Mini Games in 2029.
During the Aitutaki retreat, Graham said they also
reviewed the CISNOC constitution and will “shortly be sending out this document
with recommendations for improvement to all our members and key stakeholders as
soon as we can”.
“All CISNOC policies have been reviewed and
improvements made. These will also be sent out as soon as we can make the
improvements to the policies.”
Graham did not provide retreat costs, as requested by
the Cook Islands News.
“I do not have the total costs of the workshop as we
are still awaiting invoices and payments to be made,” he said.