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LETTERS: Nepotism or meritocracy

Tuesday 22 February 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


LETTERS: Nepotism or meritocracy

Dear Editor, the CIP (Cook Islands Party) Government over the past 12 years, since 2010, has increased the public sector, contrary to the reform initiatives set by ADB (Asian Development Bank) and development partners, New Zealand and Australia.

The reform plan was to increase the business and private sector and downsize the public service and Crown agencies.

Instead, new departments have been unnecessarily formed and hundreds of new staff have been employed. Amongst all this, CIP friends and supporters have come out on top, rewarded with top jobs and senior Board posts. State owned enterprise board memberships under the leadership of Mike Henry have tripled and so have their pay packets.

Never before since Sir Geoffrey Henry was the Prime Minister has this sort of rotten nepotism taken place at a large scale. The CIP has used the public purse as a way of paying and rewarding faithful supporters. There are many examples and the list go on.

Sadly, when the Covid pandemic hit New Zealand and affected the Cook Islands, government started paying wage subsidies (minimum wage) to struggling private businesses. Government and the public sector remained on full pay while the private sector took the sacrifice and plunge. This included high paying MPs, over-paid heads of ministries and heads of Crown agencies and even contract workers. The economy has contracted, debts has increased and so has productivity, however government payroll has increased.

This is how the CIP government under the helm of Mark Brown treats its people. Droves and hundreds of Cook Islanders and foreign expats have left because there is no business activity and therefore no jobs in the private sector. Over $1.5 million was granted for private sector diversification projects, but these could be labelled, handouts for electoral purposes? What has happened to this group of business grants?

The Cook Islands has lost its way under Mark Brown and his CIP Club mentality needs to be stopped before we hit the bankruptcy wall again, under CIP.

Time for real change

(Name and address supplied)

Canada’s marijuana laws declared unconstitutional

Did you know that Canada’s marijuana laws were declared unconstitutional and they are a Commonwealth nation, just like the Cook Islands?

Canadian Terry Parker was arrested for possession of marijuana in 1987 but was acquitted due to medical necessity.

On July 18th,1996, Parker was arrested for possession, cultivation and trafficking, and he appealed under the Constitution to the charter rights to “life, liberty and security”. The exact words in the Cook Islands Constitution charter rights.

In 1997 a judge agreed that Parker’s charter rights were violated, and ordered the police to return the plants they had seized.

On July 31, 2000, the Ontario Court of Appels ruled that the law prohibiting marijuana possession was unconstitutional because it did not take users of medical marijuana into account. Justice Marc Rosenberg wrote: “I have concluded that the trial judge was right in finding Parker needs marijuana to control the symptoms of his epilepsy. I have also concluded that the prohibition on the cultivation and possession of marijuana is unconstitutional.”

After the Parker ruling, the federal government created a new Medical Marijuana access programme and patients were granted exemptions.

But the laws were not changed, and a legal source of marijuana was not provided. As a result, starting in 2003 courts began throwing out possession charges based on the Parker decision.

I want to switch gears here Mr. Editor, to the best of my recollection, around the year 2000, a man was charged for cultivating and possessing marijuana. The defendant’s lawyer had Dr. Sir Tom Davis give evidence that the defendant cultivated and used marijuana for his own medicinal purposes. The Judge found him ‘Not Guilty’ on the testimony of Dr. Sir Tom Davis.

Therefore, was not a precedent set in the Cook Islands for medical marijuana right around the similar case of Parker in Canada where a precedent was set for medical marijuana use?

What a brilliant move by the defendant’s lawyer and Dr. Sir Tom Davis.

I would think that anyone in the Cook Islands who uses marijuana for whatever ails them, and it can be substantiated by a medical practitioner, or they swear under oath that they use marijuana for medical purposes, then they should be afforded the same fate as Canadian, Terry Parker and the defendant Sir Tom testified for.

Lastly, that Ontario Judge ruled that part of the Canadian marijuana laws were unconstitutional.

Does that sound familiar to you to what is happening right here in the Cook Islands?

And by the way, all marijuana use has been legalised in Canada.


Steve Boggs