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Letter: Comments racist and arrogant?

Wednesday 26 June 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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Letter: Comments racist and arrogant?

Dear Editor, I refer to the CI News article on NZ Minister Shane Jones (June 17th) where he is quoted as saying. “Some of the doctors on Aitutaki were of Burmese (sic) extraction.

They had precious little concern for my status as a young parliamentarian and proceeded to put a needle designed for a horse right into the wound that I sustained after falling off the motorbike”.

This was referring to an incident 20 years ago.

Well, Mr. Jones, you should be aware that those “Burmese” (sic) doctors were of immense importance to the health of our people and were highly committed, highly respected and highly professional for untold years.

Unlike yourself in this case.

I find your comments racist and arrogant.

Perhaps an apology?

Peter Heays

We appreciate our doctors who hail from Myanmar.

During the recent visit of NZ Minister of the Crown, Shane Jones, you quote him describing an experience 20 years ago where “some of the doctors on Aitutaki were of Burmese extraction. They had precious little concern for my status as a young parliamentarian and proceeded to put a needle designed for a horse right into the wound that I sustained”.

I wish to humbly point out to Mr Jones, and others who might be influenced by his racist and arrogant comment, that nearly 20 years ago those same doctors in Aitutaki kept me alive until I was medevacked to New Zealand, after contracting bacterial meningitis. The attention and care I received was outstanding, even though I was not a “young parliamentarian”.  Those same doctors were based at the Rarotonga Hospital, serving the people of the Cook Islands, as well as tourists who continue to be overwhelmingly more appreciative than Mr Jones.

Mr Jones claims that Rarotonga is a “special place” to him. I urge him not to test the generosity of the people of the Cook Islands. They are one of the main reasons for Rarotonga, and indeed the whole country, being so special. While humility might not be common in young parliamentarians, I would like to think it does come with increasing maturity.

John Hay

Arorangi

Editor’s note – Cook Islands News invited Minister Jones to respond to these letters. However, his spokesperson said: “Thank you for your email and kind invitation to respond to your letters to the editor. Minister Jones has declined to respond but thank you for the opportunity.”