"The ongoing debate over this matter has been hurtful to all families and makes it difficult for them to move on..."
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.
Terry Rangi, CEO
Minister George Maggie Support Office
Hypocrisy at its worst
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?
(Name and address supplied)
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.