LETTERS: Prison release issue ‘politicised’

Friday 16 April 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


LETTERS: Prison release issue ‘politicised’

"The ongoing debate over this matter has been hurtful to all families and makes it difficult for them to move on..."

Dear Editor,

There have been recent articles regarding an audit report into my hiring an inmate from prison which requires some context. These events took place two years ago and has been under public scrutiny since. The ongoing debate over this matter has been hurtful to all families and makes it difficult for them to move on – I am referring to the victim’s family, the inmate’s wife and young children and the wider community.       

What hasn’t been made clear in the articles is that inmates in prison are available for hire by anyone, they simply need to enquire with the prison and make an application. A number of inmates are currently employed to carry out work like tiling, painting, building, panel beating, even IT work. This enables them to contribute back to the community and use their skills in a productive and positive way.

It is well documented that I employed Ngaa Taria personally for my tourism business and my role as CEO for the Minister is a completely separate matter. However as in any small island state this has been heavily politicised, more recently by the Leader of the Opposition Tina Browne in a smearing campaign to tarnish the good work that the Minister has done.

In the last two years the Minister and his team of inmates have worked six days a week consistently with no days off and helped over three hundred families and households by cutting their grass, hedges and trimming trees, clearing sections, moving household rubbish and disposal, light building and renovations for pensioners and those unable to afford the cost to carry out the building work. This has not been limited to Tupapa only but other villages as far away as Titikaveka and Arorangi. In many cases the Minister has worked with MPs from other villages including members of the Opposition party to implement a tree cutting programme and other initiatives such as the use of the excess Te Mato Vai water pipes to grow vegetables.

In addition, the Minister has carried out work in public places most notably the prison with the construction of a border wall, renovations to several housing blocks and construction of a conference room. There has also been ongoing work at the Punanga Nui Market and Constitution Park to beautify this area with other developments in the pipeline.

More recently, the Minister has organised several funerals and provided the manpower to make things easier for grieving families through the provision of marquees, furniture and the construction of concrete graves at each burial site. All of this work has been done at minimal cost to cover lunch for our inmates and machinery repairs for our equipment with the benefit passed on to the community.

So while some may stand on the sideline and criticise me or criticise the Minister, we will continue to do the work that we do because our work helps far more people in the community than the number of critics.

I invite anyone who is interested in helping our inmates with their rehabilitation to get involved in organisations like Second Chance Support Group Inc, look for the Facebook page.

Kia manuia

Terry Rangi, CEO

Minister George Maggie Support Office

Hypocrisy at its worst

Dear Editor,

I had to read it three times just to be sure I could believe what I am reading – yes that’s right, 30 recruits from Fiji to fill a now exposed gaping hole in our health staffing and response to Covid-19.

This is the same Prime Minister and government that is telling New Zealand we are bleeding people about 300 a month, and yet in the same breath is spending Cook Islands taxpayers’ money to recruit and fly over 30 health recruits from Fiji.

So when our people go to New Zealand, that’s depopulation, but when we do the same thing to Fiji, it’s different. Even the Chamber of Commerce have pipped in and said if 20 is what we have got it’s a good start.

For sure, let’s just add more foreign workers because obviously there are not 20 Cook Islanders in New Zealand that could do the job. Give me a break, the hypocrisy of this government is out of control. So, we don’t have enough hospital staff, that is now starkly obvious, and we are happy to recruit and pay for foreign workers ... seriously?

Concerned Cookie

(Name and address supplied)

Pay rise

Dear Editor,

In this time of looming crisis, we have seen from hard hit countries Italy and Spain those at the frontline – health workers, doctors, nurses, the police, first responders, cleaners and janitors – are the ones holding the fort and defending the people from the attack of Covid-19. They are literally in the trenches, and online videos show the public support from singing, clapping and cheering from their self-isolated balconies.

Covid has not come here yet but our first responders are working very hard. Instead of us giving them a round of applause, or a two-metre distant air pat on the back, I’d rather see Government give to our health, police workers, their promised pay rise, now, not in three years’ time, now, and with bonuses for overtime and danger money. We need them, we have always needed them, now we need them to feel appreciated and loved, so they will respond in kind when/if the s*** hits the fan.

Government announced they are happy to sacrifice the Pa Enua to save workers mainly in Rarotonga than give anything from their overpaid selves. In fact, they are giving themselves more travel allowances

Cabinet are working first time in a long time, staying up all hours, so they should, it’s their job, and finally they have to do it. You will have no sympathy from me, instead of MPs wasting money travelling to their Pa Enua, give them your pay rise instead. Our PM, MPs have been flying first class on auto pilot for years, now we have an unforeseen bird strike and they need to land the plane on the Hudson River and save the nation

Billionaires, sports, movie stars, overpaid MPs won’t be saving you. Our health and police workers will.

Give them your pay rise.

(Name and address supplied)