LETTER: Real or controlled democracy?

Saturday 5 December 2020 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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LETTER: Real or controlled democracy?
The northern group Island of Penrhyn. 18091333

"In my view, there have been and continues to be “multiple red flag situations” within the upper echelons of central power whereby knowingly, and for some unknown reason, have not been investigated or reviewed."

Dear Editor,

In October, the Financial Secretary, Garth Henderson, in a MFEM media release titled Strengthening Public Financial Management, “recognises the need to tighten up its oversight and management of all public finances”. He further stated, “the current criminal investigations related to alleged misuse of public funds uncovered within the Police, BTIB and previously the Ministry of Justice is a clear warning that suspects will be investigated”.

The uncovering of various anomalies at the Police, BTIB and Justice was not a result of MFEM’s review but rather it came from within those specific agencies themselves. There appears to be some discretionary elements and choices taken by the Financial Secretary when it comes to alleged instances of questionable mismanagement and corrupt practices in the heart of the Government’s central administration.

In my view, there have been and continues to be “multiple red flag situations” within the upper echelons of central power whereby knowingly, and for some unknown reason, have not been investigated or reviewed. This selective silent application is increasingly becoming common knowledge in the private sector community. The public sector senior hierarchy is tight-lipped due to political repercussions and possible retaliation.

Bill Doherty of Landholdings Ltd is absolutely right when he questions the integrity of the tendering process adopted by MFEM in the CCL (Civil Contractors Ltd) contract. The Financial Secretary is not in a position to promote and defend his handling of the tendering process when it was his decision that counted. That’s why we need independent agencies to review and keep an eye on multi-million dollar projects of this sort funded by the tax payers of this country.

Citizens Against Corruption or CAC was borne out of this on-going frustration that law enforcement and compliance agencies were “turning a blind eye” to alleged practices that impacts on their own political masters. This long drawn out tirade has to stop. Writers John Uri asks, “who is corrupting the system” and Tangi Tuara adds, “people in power are abusing that power because they know people won’t stand up to that abuse”. But the question remains is, “how can one stop this powerful government machinery where the people entrusted to be vigilant and report such anomalies are the very people protecting their political masters”.

Calling a Commission of Inquiry and lodging multiple complaints becomes pointless as these are ignored and diverted so that it becomes totally impossible and costly to pursue.

Is the formation of ICAC or an Independent Commission Against Corruption the only alternative? This will ultimately require Government support and like the To Tatou Vai public petition to Parliament and the support for political reform, it will be cast aside.

I ask the question, are we living in a real democracy or a controlled democracy?

Paul R P Allsworth

Atupa

Rarotonga